A LEADING member of a prominent hardline Scottish independence group has been suspended by his fellow campaigners.
Sean Clerkin, a notorious activist known for disrupting unionist party events, had his membership of the Scottish Resistance temporarily revoked last week shortly before travelling to a planned demonstration in London.
The group has made headlines across the UK for its controversial campaign tactics, which have included picketing a confectionary factory in Uddingston owned by a pro-union businesssman, burning a copy of the Conservative party manifesto in Glasgow city centre, and launching an alternative declaration of Arbroath demanding an independent Scotland.
But the future of the Resistance was called into question this week when a post on the group’s Facebook page revealed its best known member had been suspended.
A post by James Scott said: “He has his supporters no doubt but he is the only member we get constant complaints about.”
Another Scottish Resistance member, Gwen Sinclair, replied: “Whilst he has been a very active member attending and contributing to much of the Scottish Resistance events and campaigns, and I fully recognise this, the fact is the team must be able to operate in a collective and open way and so many disruptions are hampering the progress of our ability to successfully and positively campaign for Scotland’s freedom.”
Piers Doughty-Brown, a former Resistance member, told The Scotsman he had quit the group because of the “disruptive” influence of Mr Clerkin.
“I still maintain personal relations with some of the members,” he said. “But Sean’s influence was so disruptive that I had to leave. I was brought in to form a committee and he was dead against it.”
But Mr Clerkin told The Scotsman that as the Scottish Resistance was not a formally constituted organisation it had no power to suspend him.
“It’s a Facebook page - you get automatically registered as a supporter,” he said. “They don’t have a constitution or an executive committee, so legally they’re up a gumtree.
“I will continue in the Scottish Resistance to argue vociferously for an independent, socialist Scotland and I will not be deflected from that ideal by petty infighting.”
Mr Clerkin came to prominence in 2011 when he repeatedly interrupted then Scottish Labour leader Iain Gray at a Holyrood election campaign event in Glasgow Central Station. Mr Gray was forced to take refuge in a sandwich shop.