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Lanarkshire Live

SNP could lose control of North Lanarkshire Council ahead of crunch meeting

The SNP could lose control of North Lanarkshire Council after its leader quit over sex pest claims.

Jordan Linden stepped down as council leader last month after admitting he made a teenager uncomfortable with his sexual advances.

It followed our sister paper the Sunday Mail reporting that SNP headquarters was aware of the issue after it happened at a party in Dundee in 2019, but failed to act as there was no formal complaint.

Just last week, more allegations surfaced about Councillor Linden, amid claims the SNP had been warned in 2017 that he was unfit for office.

Councillor Linden’s depute, Tracey Carragher, later replaced him as council leader. However, Labour is expected to launch a challenge to regain the administration this week.

The vote on Thursday will decide the future of the administration and who will lead it. It is understood Green councillor Claire Williams, pictured, plans to abstain.

Labour hold 32 of the 77 seats in North Lanarkshire while the SNP has 36 councillors but needs the backing of Ms Williams along with two other independent councillors.

One of the independents, Alan Beveridge, told the Scottish Daily Express, he had not yet made a decision on how to vote on Thursday but hopes Labour and the existing administration can reach a power-sharing agreement.

He said: “They are just allegations against him and Labour is playing politics. What I’m worried about is that this will lead to uncertainty in the council for the next five years.

“I hope common sense prevails and they can agree a power-sharing agreement like the electorate wanted.”

Independent councillor Robert McKendrick declined to comment on the situation or how he plans to vote on Thursday.

Meanwhile, a statement from the North Lanarkshire Greens said: “The ­fragility of any minority ­administration would bring nothing but chaos to this ­council and the futures of the residents it represents.

“To bring stability, the North Lanarkshire Greens’ preference is to see the two ­largest political groups ­negotiate a power-sharing ­agreement to promote a ­cooperative working environment, utilising the skills and ­oversight of all elected ­members to deliver the changes the electorate have asked for.

“The tit for tat, all-or-nothing approach to politics does nothing to serve communities.”

A source close to Ms Williams added: “Claire will abstain. In good ­conscience she can’t support the SNP given what’s been happening and their failure to acknowledge, let alone tackle, multiple ­serious allegations of sexual harassment.”

North Lanarkshire Labour leader Jim Logue said: “This saga begs the question as to what an SNP elected member has to do to lose the party whip and be suspended or expelled.

“The group will ­submit a ­counter proposal to regain control as the current administration has become mired in sexual and ­financial ­misconduct.”

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