Former SNP, now Independent North Lanarkshire Councillor Alan Beveridge has called upon the SNP National Executive Committee and First Minister Nicola Sturgeon MSP to suspend all branches of the SNP in North Lanarkshire and to set up an independent public inquiry. The call comes following the suspension of the SNP Coatbridge and Chryston Constituency Association and the turmoil which has engulfed the party in North Lanarkshire for over a year as well as a spate of recent allegations including reports in a national newspaper which revealed that police officers from the Counter Corruption Unit are now investigating claims made by an SNP North Lanarkshire Councillor that figures within the SNP in the area have been involved in serious criminality.
Commenting, Cllr Beveridge said:
“The situation within the SNP in North Lanarkshire has been in total chaos for over a year and is in grave danger of bringing the entire political system within the area into disrepute. A year ago I left the SNP citing the climate of fear, intimidation and false accusations which operated within the party locally. That climate has not only persisted, but intensified, and is now making national headlines. The party has since lost a number of activists, old and new, through the reluctance of SNP Headquarters to deal with these issues effectively. Various activists across North Lanarkshire over the past year have directly contacted both SNP Headquarters and the First Minister pleading for assistance and asking her to intervene locally in an effort to salvage the reputation of the party and hold those responsible for bringing it into disrepute to account. The SNP as an organisation should accept that it has an obligation to those activists in the area who have joined and campaigned for the party in good faith and who will be shocked by the events which have unfolded and the seriousness of the allegations which are now being made”.
“The First Minister and senior party officials have been made fully aware of the intimidation , smear campaigns and victimisation which many have witnessed. The only way for the independence movement and the party to move forward is for all SNP branches in North Lanarkshire to be suspended and a fully independent public inquiry to be held, outside the remit and scope of locally elected SNP representatives”.
Cllr Beveridge added:
“The First Minister would do well to remember that in the eyes of many, the failure of the Labour Party to deal effectively with the actions of a small corrupt cabal in North Lanarkshire was the first chapter of its downfall in Scotland. She owes it to everyone within the independence movement not to allow history to repeat itself”.
Cllr Beveridge insisted that the First Minister had to demonstrate leadership on these issues:
“As Mhairi Black MP stated in her maiden speech at Westminster, quoting the late Tony Benn: ‘In politics there are weathercocks and signposts – weathercocks will spin in whatever direction the wind of public opinion may blow them, no matter what principle they may have to compromise ….and there are signposts, signposts which stand true and tall and principled’. I call upon our First Minister to take the principled decision to hold a full independent inquiry; to shed light on party activities in North Lanarkshire which can then be openly addressed in the interests of transparency”