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Daily Record
Daily Record
Hannah Rodger

Sex abuse and bullying row at Scottish Youth Parliament sees at least three budding politicians quit

A scandal-hit youth charity has seen members resign over safety concerns and bullying.

Young people leaving the Scottish Youth Parliament (SYP) believe it is no longer a safe place after a sex abuse storm was revealed by the Sunday Mail.

At least three budding politicians have cut ties with the organisation since allegations about t heir former chairman, SNP councillor Jordan Linden, emerged earlier this year.

Teri Mooney, a former member of the SYP for Paisley, resigned last week and, in her resignation letter, said: “The Scottish Youth Parliament is supposed to be a safe place for all young people to come together to make change and represent the young people of Scotland. It is far from it.

“There is an ingrained culture of bullying and clique mentality, especially from some senior members.

“Political impartiality is a key foundation of the organisation. However, there have been many instances of targeted harassment of young people who don’t fit the status quo political stance.”

Five men said they had been sexually harassed and assaulted by Linden in 2016. But their claims had been dismissed as “false” by charity CEO Ben McKendrick and Linden, who resigned shortly afterwards.

The SYP then hired an external HR consultant to carry out a review into its original handling of the claims, which found that all processes had been followed. The Sunday Mail has asked the organisation for the findings of the review but was denied access.

Another SYP member said: “Staff are still not listening to young people when they share their concerns about issues such as bullying. It shows you they haven’t learned anything from what happened before.”

Linden quit as leader of North Lanarkshire Council in July after we revealed claims he had sexually harassed a young SNP member
following a Pride march in 2019.

He has denied the claims.

An SYP spokesman said: “SYP has robust safeguarding and child protection policies in place, investigates thoroughly any complaints made and takes the appropriate action.”

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