Ex-councillor's SNP '˜cult' claim

Former councillor Paul DelaneyFormer councillor Paul Delaney
Former councillor Paul Delaney
A former SNP councillor has quit the party and branded it a 'cult' after it rejected him as an elections candidate.

Paul Delaney, who is from Bellshill, had hoped to stand again this month in Mossend and Holytown, the seat he lost in 2012. However, he failed the party’s vetting process and claims the reason was his work in exposing a council planner’s corruption.

Mr Delaney was banned from council meetings for three months in 2011 after the Standards Commissioner found him guilty of leaking confidential information about the planner to the Times & Speaker.

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Mr Delaney said he acted with the support of the council’s SNP group, but was told during recent vetting that the episode was “being held against me”.

He added: “It was also made clear to me that the SNP considered my actions in 2010 led to the collapse of the SNP vote in North Lanarkshire in 2012.”

Mr Delaney claimed he has been the victim of a “hate campaign” and party colleagues have tried to punish MSPs Richard Lyle and Alex Neil over “petty disputes”. He said North Lanarkshire appeals for help during election and by-election campaigns had been “shunned”.

He added: “I was proud to serve the SNP under Alex Salmond and I hope he makes a return as First Minister and rids the party of the elements who have brought it to its present state.

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“This is not sour grapes. It’s about sticking up for my former colleagues and telling the electorate that in my opinion the SNP is no longer a party.

“It is a cult under Nicola Sturgeon and God help any member who raises their head above the parapet to question or challenge her as leader.”