CIVIL war has broken out in Central Scotland’s SNP after the party took the unusual step of suspending the Coatbridge and Chryston branch.

It follows the suspension of Holyrood candidate and councillor Julie McAnulty afterallegations of racism.

In a statement, the party said: “Julie McAnulty has been placed under administrative suspension while the allegations are looked into. We will be making no further comment until these investigations are concluded.

“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.

“With 12 weeks until polling, the efforts of all members should be on campaigning for our candidate, Fulton MacGregor.”

There have been months of bitter and bad-tempered infighting in the local party between the so-called Monklands McMafia, who represent the old guard and some of the new members who came into the party during the referendum.

In another newspaper, McAnulty was accused of saying that she wanted to get a certain ethnic minority “out of the party”.

‘Hundreds have quit our SNP branches’