Abuse claim MSP Bill Walker told to quit Holyrood after being axed by SNP

Bill Walker, who has been suspended from the SNP
Bill Walker, who has been suspended from the SNP
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PRESSURE is growing on an MSP to step down from Holyrood after he was kicked out of the SNP following allegations of domestic abuse.

The Nationalists confirmed yesterday that Dunfermline West MSP Bill Walker had been expelled following his suspension last month.

Mr Walker, who has the right to appeal against the decision, was not available for comment on the issue yesterday.

But the Conservatives say he can no longer continue as an MSP after being elected less than a year ago on the back of the Nationalists’ landslide victory.

A Tory spokesman said: “The SNP have taken the correct decision in pursuing this course of action, and the MSP concerned must now examine his conscience on whether he thinks it’s right to continue taking thousands of pounds of taxpayers’ money for the next four years.

“The honourable thing would be for him to step down from his role as a member of the Scottish Parliament.”

An investigation was launched by the Scottish National Party, following allegations concerning his three former wives.

An SNP spokesman said: “Bill Walker has been informed of the decision by the SNP’s disciplinary committee to expel him from the party, and of his right under the rules to appeal this decision within the next 21 days.

“It would be inappropriate to comment further until this process is at an end.”

Mr Walker resigned his membership of both the local government and public petitions committees at Holyrood last month.

At the time, Mr Walker issued a statement through his Dunfermline constituency office, saying “it was only right” that he resigned from the committees during his suspension.

Last month, Labour called for clarification of the SNP’s reasons for suspending him.

The call was in response to comments by Mr Walker in a newspaper column in which he said he had been “temporarily” excluded while an investigation was carried out into his selection by the party.

He wrote: “This is due to an examination of the vetting procedures regarding my selection as an MSP candidate for the Scottish elections last year and not because of any malicious allegations made about me in respect of former private relationships.”

Mr Walker has been a controversial figure since he arrived in Holyrood, provoking the ire of gay marriage campaigners when he backed a motion by fellow Nationalist John Mason demanding that churches should not be forced to take part in ceremonies if they don’t want to.

The Scottish Government is currently consulting on plans to possibly introduce same-sex marriage north of the Border.

Mr Walker claimed he suffered a campaign of online “abuse and intimidation” in the aftermath of the row over a string of e-mails he had received from supporters of the change.

Mr Walker said at the time he believed marriage was the relationship between a man and a woman.

“That’s the way I look at it –that’s what marriage is. That just released a fury,” he said. “To me, it’s a moral, ethical and even a practical issue from the point of view of the structure of society.”

But Labour branded him anti-gay and called on First Minister Alex Salmond to intervene.

Mr Walker married his fourth wife, June, in July last year at Culross Abbey. The couple have been together for 16 years.

He won the Dunfermline seat – previously held by Liberal Democrat Jim Tolson – at the Scottish Parliament in last year’s election. In a result that surprised political observers, Mr Walker capitalised on a large national swing to the SNP to edge victory over Labour’s Alex Rowley by 590 votes.