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The National (Scotland)
The National (Scotland)
Hamish Morrison and Neil McGrory

Labour plot takeover bid of scandal-rocked SNP council following leader resignation

Jordan Linden was forced to resign as leader of North Lanarkshire council after he was accused of sexual misconduct

LABOUR councillors in a scandal-rocked SNP local authority are plotting a takeover bid after its leader stepped down in disgrace. 

NORTH Lanarkshire Council’s new leader is to be elected within the next two weeks, but the Labour group is aiming to take control just months after the SNP won the local elections.

The position of council leader was vacated after councillor Jordan Linden resigned amid allegations of sexual misconduct at a party which took place in 2019

The SNP group has now appointed councillor Tracy Carragher as its leader with Alan Masterton named as depute leader. They will seek appointment as leader and depute leader of the council at a forthcoming meeting.

Jordan Linden resigned after he was accused of sexual misconduct

However, the Labour group intends to contest the leadership, having “unanimously” agreed to do so at a party meeting.

The May elections returned 36 SNP councillors and 32 Labour representatives alongside five Conservatives, two independents, a Green and a British Unionist.

Linden remains an SNP councillor despite stepping down as council leader amid calls from the opposition for him to give up his seat. 

Labour group leader, councillor Jim Logue, said: “Since the election in May 2022 the SNP in North Lanarkshire have presided over three months of a complete absence of political leadership with no committees meeting or any articulation of any policies or developments.

“It is clear that the SNP have hit the ground stalling, incapable of representing the residents of North Lanarkshire.

“It is also clear that the SNP are suffering from selective amnesia and I am amazed that no one in the party, including Marion Fellows MP who employed councillor Linden, have commented on the (alleged) sexual misconduct of the former leader.

"The questions for the SNP locally and nationally are who knew what about his presenting behaviours, why was councillor Linden approved as a councillor and furthermore why was he elected as the leader of the council.

“We now have an administration which is incapable of providing the necessary leadership which North Lanarkshire expects or requires resulting in significant reputational damage to this area.

“North Lanarkshire Labour has no confidence in the SNP administration and it is no surprise given recent events that residents have a similar view.”

Carragher, who is currently depute council leader, vowed the SNP would fight to hold onto power - which they gained for the first time since the local authority's creation.

She said: “With recess over and committees beginning this month, residents will begin to see the changes necessary to improve our local communities following 26 years of Labour and Labour/Tory administrations’ failures."

Confirming his resignation last month, Linden said he had never "approached any personal interaction with ill intent", but added: "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."

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