BITTER in-fighting in SNP branches in North Lanarkshire has led to hundreds of members resigning, The National understands.

According to a number of sources within the local party, the Coatbridge and Chryston branch has lost around 150 members since the referendum, while the Uddingston & Bellshill branch have lost an astonishing 380 members. Party officials would not confirm these numbers.

SNP bosses took the unusual step of suspending the Coatbridge branch on Monday, saying that “following last month’s bad-tempered meeting, the national executive has ruled that there should be no further branch meetings until after the election in May”.

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Sources at the two branches told The National that members have sent “over 100 complaints” to party HQ and nothing has been done. A group of members even doorstepped party officials last month, in a bid to get them to hear their complaints.

A report into the troubled region by MEP Alyn Smith, MP Tasmina Ahmed Sheikh, and a National Executive member remains unpublished.

Many party members have been left reeling at the suspension of councillor and Holyrood candidate, Julie McAnulty, after it was claimed she had used racist language in a car nine months ago.

A complaint submitted to the party last week was then almost immediately leaked to the Daily Record and claimed that McAnulty had said she wanted to “get the pakis out of the party” in front of fellow member Sheena McCulloch.

McAnulty did not reply to requests for a comment.

Local members who talked to The National claimed this was “retribution” for disagreeing with party elders in a row about the establishment of a new branch.

Meetings in the branches of Coatbridge & Chryston, Bellshill & Uddingston, and Airdrie & Shotts have been bad tempered for some time with disagreements regarding party structure and elections to branch executive positions.

The main conflict is seemingly between the old guard, known locally as the Monklands McMafia, and members who have joined more recently.

The SNP did not respond to a request for a comment.