Expelled SNP MSP Bill Walker: ‘I’ll sit as an independent’
THE MSP expelled from the SNP amid allegations of domestic abuse has attacked the decision as “harsh in the extreme” and insisted that he will continue to sit at Holyrood as an independent nationalist.
Bill Walker claimed he was “greatly heartened” by what he said was the backing of voters in the Dunfermline West constituency he was elected to serve in last year’s election.
Mr Walker, 71, dismissed suggestions that he should resign as an MSP and said the SNP had won the seat last May due to the efforts he, as candidate, and the Dunfermline West constituency party, had made.
He said that he had been “very poorly treated” when he was expelled following a suspension and an SNP disciplinary hearing into allegations concerning Mr Walker’s three ex-wives and domestic violence.
In his statement yesterday, Mr Walker said his expulsion was related to a charge that he had failed to inform party bosses of the domestic abuse allegations when he applied to become an SNP candidate before last year’s elections.
He went on to say that he did not know how likely it was that he would appeal against his expulsion, but pledged that he would continue to support the SNP in votes at Holyrood “in furtherance of independence and Scottish interests”.
Mr Walker faced calls from opposition MSPs at Holyrood yesterday to resign. Patrick Harvie, leader of the Scottish Greens, said: “If it’s inappropriate to be in the party then I don’t see that it’s appropriate for him to be an MSP. If there’s no place in the party for someone then why is there a place in the parliament for him?”
Meanwhile, Mr Walker said that he had never been asked about any of his previous marriages by the SNP and talked about what he claimed were the “unproven allegations” against him.
“At no time during the vetting, selection and confirmation processes was I ever asked about my declared previous divorce proceedings and related matters.
“I can assure all my constituents that I shall be continuing as the elected MSP for Dunfermline, sitting in the Scottish Parliament as an independent nationalist.” Mr Walker criticised the decision to expel him from the SNP, and said he was “very upset” that he could no longer the serve the party of which he was a member for 38 years.
He said: “I don’t know how likely it is that I will appeal.
“I’ve been very poorly treated and I’ve had huge numbers of e-mails and texts expressing disgust. To be expelled on the basis of an improperly completed application form is harsh in the extreme.”
An SNP spokesman said the party “cannot comment further” until the end of the disciplinary process that allows Mr Walker 21 days to appeal against his expulsion.
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Saturday 25 May 2013
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