Coun­cil­lor re­signs SNP whip over lead­er­ship ‘bully’ claims

Evening Times - - NEWS - BY CATHERINE HUNTER Lo­cal Democ­racy Re­porter

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

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