SNP councillors quit over candidacy selection row

Alan Beveridge and John Taggart represented areas in North Lanarkshire. Picture: TSPL

Alan Beveridge and John Taggart represented areas in North Lanarkshire. Picture: TSPL

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THE SNP hierarchy has been accused of “malignant” practice in a row over candidate selection as two of the party’s councillors quit in an area that includes key target seats on the Nationalist hit list for May’s election.

North Lanarkshire councillors Alan Beveridge and John Taggart have both resigned from the SNP, as the fallout continues about the party’s candidate selection process.

The row comes just weeks after former UK ambassador Craig Murray, who expressed an interest in being an SNP candidate in Airdrie and Shotts, was blocked by party officials from standing for the Nationalists.

Mr Taggart resigned after a row over his failure to be selected as a candidate for Motherwell and Wishaw, and said democracy in the party is “under serious threat”.

In a resignation letter obtained by The Scotsman, he said there was “malignant practice” “within our party at HQ level”, as he criticised SNP officials for refusing to reveal the breakdown for votes in a candidate selection in Motherwell and Wishaw.

He said: “Democracy within our party is under serious threat when HQ in Edinburgh decided to refuse to reveal the breakdown of the votes cast for each candidate involved in the ballot for the Motherwell and Wishaw Westminster candidacy.”

Mr Beveridge, a councillor in cabinet minister Alex Neil’s Holyrood constituency of Airdrie and Shotts, said there was a “climate of fear” in the SNP locally.

However, an SNP spokesman said: “The North Lanarkshire SNP council group continue to work hard to serve local communities.”

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