SNP candidate under fire for '˜missing' local fracking debate

AN SNP candidate has been accused of being 'disrespectful' to local voters by failing to attend a hustings on fracking.

Fracking has become a contentious issue. Picture: TSPL

Labour’s Elaine Smith, who is fighting the Coatbridge and Chryston seat in May’s election, said her SNP rival Fulton MacGregor “failed to show” at a community organised event on Thursday.

The hustings had been organised by the community council to allow residents in the area to question representatives from the parties on fracking.

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An SNP spokesman said Mr MacGregor, a councillor in the area, had been unable to attend because of other commitments.

He said: “Fulton was unable to attend as he had his surgeries as a local councillor as well as a previously arranged charity event in the constituency. He provided his apologies to the event organisers in advance.

“The SNP introduced a fracking moratorium and, as our manifesto made clear, we will not allow fracking to take place if there is any suggestion that it is harmful to our environment or to public health.”

Labour has said it would not allow fracking to take place in Scotland if it wins May’s Holyrood election.

Ms Smith said: “Only myself and John Wilson from the Greens turned up. It was extremely disappointing for people there that Fulton MacGregor, the SNP candidate, did not turn up, particularly because on his leaflet he said he was concerned about the threat of fracking.”

She said the hustings had been organised by the local community because “we had a threat of fracking in 2012 and we managed to get that stopped”.

She added: “So the community are very concerned about it, they invited all of the constituency candidates along to the hustings to hear their party’s positions, their personal positions, and have a debate and discussion.”

She said Mr MacGregor “has not committed to voting for a ban on fracking”, and added: “People are very keen to get in touch with him to find out why he was disrespectful to the community by not coming.”