BRANCH members have called events within North Lanarkshire Council “distressing” and have written to Humza Yousaf asking him to launch a full and transparent investigation “to put an end to toxic governance”.

The environment of the North Lanarkshire SNP Group has been described as “beyond toxic” by seven councillors who have been expelled or resigned after raising concerns about former colleague Jordan Linden.

The group wrote to SNP National Secretary Lorna Finn in March alleging there had been “continual failings by the North Lanarkshire SNP leadership team”, including a failure to investigate sexual misconduct and “abuse of power”.

Those stepping down included councillor Cameron McManus, a complainant against Linden.

McManus told Finn earlier this month following his and the 4 other resignations: “Had either of you listened to myself and other colleagues, with even a degree of professionalism, then this whole situation could have been avoided.”

The branch executive of Uddingston and Bellshill have now written to the leader of the party after they say they “have exhausted all internal escalations bar one”.

Branch convener Alison Cameron wrote members an update on Saturday, saying: “I can confirm that I have written yesterday to Humza Yousaf asking him to launch a full and transparent investigation into what has occurred and to put an end to toxic governance within the NLC SNP leadership group.

“You might be forgiven for assuming that there would have been grounds for such draconian measures; in fact, there are none. Our councillors’ only ‘crime’ has been to speak up against the SNP group leadership’s failure to investigate sexual harassment complaints and subsequent unfair targeting of individuals.”

The convener went on: “The quite intolerable behaviour of North Lanarkshire SNP Leadership Group towards our colleagues has escalated, culminating in this week’s sham disciplinary hearing.”

Cameron also confirmed that she had written to the “appropriate governance figures within the SNP to seek their support and intervention” since the resignation of Linden but to “no avail”.

Speaking to the Sunday Mail last week, Linden said he had been cleared of wrongdoing in an internal probe and said those making claims are “spreading lies”.

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One of the key worries for members is the upcoming by-election in Bellshill following the resignation of Linden.

The branch convener wrote: “Now we have a by-election to fight in Bellshill with our branch organiser and other key colleagues arbitrarily removed, and our future feels very uncertain. Troubled times indeed.

“I do hope that no matter how badly all of us feel about what has happened that we can continue to work together and support each other in pursuing the cause of independence. And of course, we are hopeful that this current shameful state of affairs will be resolved."

Cameron concluded: “We will write to you again when we hear back from our party leader.”

The branch has confirmed that Yousaf has not yet responded.

The SNP have been approached for comment.

A party spokesperson said on Tuesday: “The allegations relate to an individual who is no longer an SNP member. The group leader disputes any suggestion she ignored an allegation by an individual.

“The matter has been raised with the party and will be subject to investigation. If there is any allegation of a criminal nature, then that must be made to the police rather than the party.”