A NEW party made up of expelled former SNP councillors have warned “the voice of local people is being sacrificed" amid party "infighting" in the area.

Progressive Change North Lanarkshire has been formed by eight sitting, independent councillors who previously represented the SNP.

The formation of the party came after the councillors were expelled or resigned after raising concerns over the party’s handling of a sexual misconduct complaint against former council leader Jordan Linden.

The group is now the second-largest opposition party within the Labour-led North Lanarkshire Council behind the SNP, and has vowed to move away from national matters that can’t be changed at a council level.

The eight founding members are: Beth Baudo, Gerry Brennan, David Crichton, Paul DiMascio, Jim Hume, Greg Lennon, Barry McCluskey and Cameron McManus.

The party says its members share “a personal commitment” to serving the people of North Lanarkshire “without the shackles and constraints of traditional political party politics” – and is open to members from all political persuasions who share the group’s values and ethos.

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In a statement, Progressive Change said: “We believe that it's time for a fresh approach to politics—one that puts people and progressive ideas at the forefront. Our vision is to create a society that thrives on equality, justice, and compassion, where everyone has the opportunity to reach their full potential.

“The voice of local people is being sacrificed instead to internal in-fighting and power struggles within the traditionally established political groups.”

Progressive Change North Lanarkshire elected leader, councillor Lennon said tribal politics have hindered progress on “issues that matter” in North Lanarkshire.

He added: “Unlike our counterparts, we firmly believe in upholding the values that have been regrettably absent in political discourse. With unwavering dedication, both individually and collectively, we are committed to effectively representing the residents of each of our respective Ward’s. Our group comprises of individuals who possess exceptional talent and a wealth of political experience.”

Elected deputy leader councillor DiMascio said having “open, respectful and meaningful debate on issues is refreshing” and was lacking in the SNP group.

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DiMascio said: “Within Progressive Change North Lanarkshire Group we have already developed a strategy to serve our respective communities better and continue to take forward local issues and concerns.

"We will seek to support and work with all members of the council chamber, as and when it is appropriate, and for the betterment of North Lanarkshire residents. For me, having likeminded Councillors, each committed to in my previous council group.”

“We will work together to bring fresh ideas and progress the change that is required, and often overlooked, due to the often divisive and tribal nature of politics in North Lanarkshire. I can say hand on heart that every one of the members within our group are principled individuals, of the utmost integrity and are all laser focused on doing the best for all of our constituents and all of our communities.”