Shots fired in political row over ‘pub’ gun

North Lanarkshire councillors have clashed over 'pub' gun.
North Lanarkshire councillors have clashed over 'pub' gun.

A political row has broken out after a councillor was photographed next to a man brandishing a gun during a referendum party.

SNP member David Baird faced police questioning after a fellow councillor reported the matter on public safety grounds.

It was claimed the incident happened in a pub, but it then emerged the revellers were on private poperty in a converted garden shed in Holytown.

Councillor Baird, who represents Mossend and Holytown on North Lanarkshire Council, accused Labour’s Tom Curley of ‘trying to besmirch my reputation’.

He said he has been questioned by a senior police officer and is confident the matter will be taken no further.

Councillor Baird said the photo was one of several taken at a party for Yes supporters. It was posted on the Yes Holytown Facebook page. He was unaware that a man brandishing what appeared to be an air rifle was standing to his right.

On the police investigation, Councillor Baird stated: “I was shocked at first, but this was just a spurious allegation and I believe it’s to do with North Lanarkshire voting Yes in the referendum.

“The party wasn’t in a pub - it was a converted shed that the owner has named the Jar and Barrel. The owner says it’s an old air rifle that’s been lying in his shed for years.”

Councillor Curley, a former North Lanarkshire provost, denied his actions in alerting the police were politically-motivated.

He said: “My first reaction k was that there could be a danger to the public. There was a weapon and it looked like the picture was taken in a pub.

“I would question his behaviour. A councillor shouldn’t be putting himself in a situation like that.”

A police spokesman said enquiries are ongoing.

More on this story in the Times & Speaker, out now.