SNP lose control of North Lanarkshire Council after sexual harassment claims

The SNP has lost control of one of Scotland’s largest councils after its leader quit over sexual harassment allegations.

Jordan Linden, 27, stepped back as the SNP council leader at the end of last month after claims were published in a Sunday newspaper.

Labour’s Jim Logue, who led the council between 2016 and May this year, will now return as leader after receiving the backing of councillors at an emergency meeting.

Labour had previously held the council since its formation in 1996. The SNP lasted just 84 days in power.

Jordan Linden

Mr Logue, who represents the Airdrie Central ward, said: “It’s a privilege to be elected once more as leader and I am grateful to my colleagues for putting their trust in me.

“While I did not anticipate being in this position, it is clear that there is much to do quickly.

"I am determined to lead an administration which serves all the people of North Lanarkshire, and the most important part of that at this point is ensuring we are doing everything we can to mitigate the cost-of-living crisis for our residents.

“This is not something the council can solve alone, but it is essential we move fast to ensure all the policies we can bring to bear, and all council services, are aligned to support people wherever possible.

“In doing so, I aim to work with elected members across the whole council in a constructive way.”

He said committee meetings would resume “over the next week or two”.

Meanwhile, Labour’s Paul Kelly said he was “honoured to be appointed once again as depute leader of the council”.

Councillors voted down a motion for the SNP’s Tracy Carragher – Mr Linden’s former deputy – to take on the role of leader.

A total of 38 councillors backed a Labour amendment, including North Lanarkshire’s five Tory councillors, while 37 voted for the SNP motion.

Independent councillor Alan Beveridge abstained, while the SNP’s Michael Coyle defected to Labour shortly before the meeting.

A council meeting to elect a new provost, following the resignation of Councillor Agnes Magowan due to personal circumstances, will be held in due course.

Mr Linden previously expressed regret for his past behaviour, but said his own mental health had been "seriously affected" by press coverage.

The Sunday Mail reported claims Mr Linden had made unwanted advances towards a teenager at a party in Dundee in September 2019.

The councillor was described as being "very drunk" at the time of the incident, which is said to have happened in a flat after the city's annual Pride parade.

In an email to colleagues last month, Mr Linden wrote: "Although I have never approached any personal interaction with ill intent, I accept that my behaviour at that party in 2019 caused a sense of discomfort which I entirely regret.

"I offered my apologies to the person concerned at the time and the matter was closed. I reiterate that apology today.”

He said he intended to continue as a councillor for the Bellshill ward.

Scottish Conservative local government spokesman Miles Briggs said: “The Scottish Conservatives were very clear during the local election campaign earlier this year that we were keen to work with other pro-union parties to try to lock the SNP out of power in Scotland’s councils.

“The opportunity to do so presented itself in North Lanarkshire – in the wake of the resignation of the former SNP council leader – so the five Conservative councillors chose to vote with Labour on that basis.”

 0 comments

Want to join the conversation? Please or to comment on this article.