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Friday, 14 February, 2003, 17:50 GMT
Sticky patch over gum row
Chewing gum
Councillor Buchanan wants a ban on chewing gum
A Scottish council is being urged to introduce an immediate ban on chewing gum at all of its meetings.

The call comes from Falkirk councillor William Buchanan amid fears that colleagues chewing gum in meetings "could be in danger" of choking to death.

In a letter to council leader David Alexander, he requests that "a fully trained first-aider" should be present at meetings if a ban is not approved.

Councillor Buchanan, who is politically non-aligned, said in his letter that he was worried about the conduct of two Labour members.

I do chew gum in council meetings but that is because I'm currently trying to stop smoking and am attending a local clinic

Linda Gow
He pointed out: "Several months ago a local politician in Europe choked to death on chewing gum while trying to speak during debate."

His letter recommends that a ban on chewing gum at all council meetings should be introduced to "protect her".

"If you believe that this proposal would be too much infringement on individuals civil liberties, then I suggest that a fully trained first-aider be always present during meetings," he goes on.

No-smoking policy

Councillor Gow said she was "flattered" by concerns for her health but that the request was the latest in a long line of complaints against her from Councillor Buchanan.

"I do chew gum in council meetings but that is because I'm currently trying to stop smoking and am attending a local clinic.

"The council has a non-smoking policy, so in order to avoid breaking this I chew gum.

"This is just the latest in a long line of complaints Councillor Buchanan has made against me and I'm amazed that he is going to such lengths."

UFO town

Councillor Gow said she had faced previous allegations from Councillor Buchanan over the use of expenses amounting to 6.99 and the use of a council car.

Council leader David Alexander said the letter "had now been passed on to the director of law and administration who would consider it and advise the members accordingly".

Councillor Buchanan has hit the headlines in previous years for his views on unidentified flying objects (UFOs).

As the local member for Bonnybridge, he has claimed that the area is the UFO capital of the world and has suggested that the town be twinned with Roswell in the US.

See also:

02 Jan 03 | England
28 Jan 03 | England
20 Nov 02 | Asia-Pacific
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