It’s time to grow up

Ramsay Millar with First Minister Nicola Sturgeon
Ramsay Millar with First Minister Nicola Sturgeon

SNP members have been warned to end the “petty feuds” after angry scenes at the Uddingston and Bellshill branch AGM.

New branch convener Ramsay Millar pledged a fresh start after more than a year of in-fighting, but some members are unhappy at how the meeting was conducted and have complained to party HQ.

Tensions have run high between opposing factions since the battle to secure the SNP nomination for the Scottish Parliament elections earlier this year.

Former branch convener Richard Lyle won that contest and went on to snatch the Uddingston and Bellshill seat from Labour in May.

He has denied bullying allegations and opponents are unhappy that a complaint about his conduct is still with party HQ a year after it was lodged.

Mr Millar, supported by Mr Lyle and others, was elected unopposed as convener at last week’s AGM.

He dismissed claims from one member that the elections were “pre-ordained” and denied circulating a list of preferred candidates for branch roles.

The disaffected member said: “What transpired was further unethical and anti-democratic practices from Mr Lyle and his supporters.

“The so-called new branch executive is nothing more than the same old family, friends, employees and cronies - not one person independent of Richard Lyle’s patronage.”

Mr Millar said nominations for positions were invited from the floor, but the fact was most of these were filled unopposed.

He added: “This is all about petty feuds, nothing to do with politics. I’m trying to take this branch forward, wipe the slate clean. I have asked the people who are complaining to come on board.

“If they don’t they will be history because they won’t be allowed to come to meetings and cause disruption.”

On the complaint made about the conduct of the agm, Mr Millar said: “It smacks of sour grapes. Nothing we did was illegal or against party rules.”