Councillor resigns SNP whip over leadership ‘bully’ claims
SNP councillor Glenn Elder has resigned the whip amidst claims he has been subjected to bullying and harassment from the leader’s office.
Mr Elder will sit as an independent as he feels the SNP group has “lost focus” and promotes a “hostile” environment.
The move comes amid speculation across the parties that others will follow in the Linn ward councillor’s footsteps.
Mr Elder said despite still believing in the cause of Scottish independence, he feels there is no other option for him.
He joined the party in 2008 and was elected in 2012 and again in 2017.
Since 2012 he has been the group treasurer and the Cathcart branch treasurer.
As part of his campaign two years ago Mr Elder, a jazz musician, said he wanted the SNP to run Glasgow differently and better.
But a damning letter to Leader of the Council, Councillor Susan Aitken, accuses her office of bullying and promoting individual agendas for personal gain.
Mr Elder also raised concerns regarding the administration’s disregard for the majority of the council who voted to scrap P1 testing.
His actions have been supported by opposition parties as speculation mounts that other SNP members might follow in his footsteps.
Close friend fellow SNP Councillor Malcolm Balfour said he was disappointed in Mr Elder’s decision.
He said: “I am part of a group which supports independence and I believe in this cause – nothing has changed for me.
“I have never experienced bullying in this party. Glenn has been a friend of mine for a long time and I am disappointed in his decision.”
In Mr Elder’s letter he said he had given a great deal of thought to his resignation. He feels the unity of the SNP had gone.
He said: “Any criticism of direction is responded to with unconcealed hostility, promoted by you (Susan Aitken) and those close to you. I now believe that I have no choice other than to resign the whip and my SNP membership.
“I still fully believe in the core tenet of the SNP, that of an independent Scotland.
“Sadly, I cannot, now, be a member of a group that I believe has lost that particular focus, deviating towards personal agendas and being prepared to use bullying and harassment in order to ensure obedience.”
Opposition members also received the letter and encouraged the SNP to act on the concerns raised.
Councillor Martha Wardrop, co-convenor of the Greens, said:“We are grateful to Mr Elder for sharing the reasons for his decision with all elected members.
“The council must do all it can to be inclusive and ensure high standards of accountability. The administration should take on board the concerns raised.”
Labour leader Frank McAveety congratulated Mr Elder for standing up to bullying and harassment claims.
He said: “This cannot have been an easy decision for him. His contribution to the city is appreciated across the chamber.
“In his letter, he has laid bare a culture of bullying and harassment. This is deeply concerning.
“For an administration that campaigned on transparency and openness, the revelations today are very damaging.
“Susan Aitken and the SNP must reflect seriously on these concerns, and consider the future of this administration.”
An SNP spokesman said: “We thank Councillor Elder for his service to the SNP since he was elected to represent the Linn Ward in 2012.
“We don’t recognise the characterisation of the group and it is unfortunate that his decision has come after a reshuffle.”
Councillor Elder resigned from the SNP amid allegations of bullying from Aitken’s office