Highlands & Islands

Continuing controversy at Crofting Commission

Two senior officers at the Crofting Commission refused to attend a meeting of the public body in Inverness.

Interim chief executive Bill Barron said the unnamed officials believed they had been unfairly treated in a controversy embroiling the commission.

This year has seen the body involved in a public row with groups of crofters.

Its board has made a public apology for its handling of this row and sought the resignation of its convener, who says he has done nothing wrong.

Wednesday's meeting in Inverness was the first to be held since a private gathering of board members and convener Colin Kennedy last week, and September's formal meeting of the board in Brora when Mr Kennedy was asked to stand down by the board after he had walked out.

Mr Kennedy has argued that the board's vote on asking him to resign was not valid.

In October, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said Scottish government ministers had the power to intervene in the affairs of the troubled Crofting Commission.

Ms Sturgeon said ministers would not ordinarily get involved in the internal operations of the commission.

However, during a First Minister's Questions session in Holyrood, she said legislation did give ministers the power to intervene if required.

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