THE leader of Glasgow City Council has refused a request to meet campaigners who oppose loyal order groups marching past Catholic churches.

Councillor Susan Aitken was asked to meet leaders of the group Call It Out, who have held silent protests in recent months against parades held by the Orange Order and other organisations.

Call It Out first contacted the Langside representative in March requesting a meeting, and the group says a further two letters were written asking for a response.

However, the SNP politician declined the request for a meeting, claiming she needed to remain “impartial” on the matter.

READ MORE: Police letter outlines decision to re-route loyal and Orange Order parades

When asked, the council confirmed any requests for a meeting between Susan Aitken and loyal order groups would also be denied at present.

A letter from Ms Aitken to Call It Out reads: “Given that work is ongoing and the imperative for the council to remain impartial – and be seen to remain impartial – throughout this process,

I don’t think a meeting would be helpful at this stage.

“I will, however, forward your views to the officers who are working on this issue and ask that they be taken into account.”

She also reiterated that the power to “change frameworks” lay within in the Scottish Parliament, and not with Glasgow City Council.

READ MORE: 'Anti-Protestant persecution': Orange Order responds to latest re-routing of parades past Catholic church

Call It Out has expressed its disappointment at the council leader’s decision.

A spokeswoman said: “It is quite inconceivable that the leader of Glasgow City Council would refuse to meet any other minority community that wished to raise concerns about marches past their places of worship.

“It is also quite inconceivable that Susan Aitken would tell the Jewish community, for instance, that she

would not meet them because she had to be ‘seen to be impartial’ between them and anti-Semites who were parading past synagogues.

“It is not the job of political leaders to be impartial between bigots and their victims. She should withdraw that inference immediately.”

The Orange Order, when asked, said it would be willing to meet Glasgow City Council to discuss the re-routing of loyal order parades away from churches.

READ MORE: Four Orange Order and loyalist marches in Glasgow to be re-routed from Catholic church following police concerns

A spokesman for the Grand Orange Lodge of Scotland said: “We’re always willing to meet leaders of the council to look for ways to work together on the issues at hand.

"Ultimately, we hope they accept having religious differences is okay, but having religious divides does more harm than good.”

A council spokesman reiterated a meeting “would not be helpful at this particular time”.

He added: “Given the ongoing review of the council’s code of conduct in relation to parades, our specific role in the parades’ notification process and the need to resolve tensions created by recent marches and counter demonstrations it is crucial the council remains impartial and is seen to remain impartial.”

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“It is also important to note that the ouncil has only limited powers in this area. Responsibility for public order rests with Police Scotland and competence for the management of processions with the Scottish Parliament