SNP HQ in row over candidate for Loch Ness seat
A POLITICAL row has erupted amid claims a majority of the members of the executive of the Loch Ness SNP branch have resigned over the selection process for MP Drew Hendry’s vacant seat.
It comes after leaked emails were sent to The Inverness Courier claiming there was confusion over the handling of the selection process for the forthcoming by-election sparked by Drew Hendry’s elevation to Westminster.
Maxine Smith, SNP leader in Highland, confirmed there had been growing disquiet within the branch.
The source of the emails said: "Six of the ten members of the SNP Loch Ness Branch Executive Committee have resigned in protest after Drew Hendry MP has directed Maxine Smith, SNP Highland Council Group Leader, to make sure their own choice of candidate is parachuted into position by hijacking the local Loch Ness branch's exclusive constitutional right to select their own candidate without external interference.
"The SNP Loch Ness branch executive committee, many of whom are new members following the referendum, are disgusted and shocked that SNP Headquarters are allowing this travesty of an attack on local democracy to take place. Cries of 'We thought this only happened in the Labour Party' have been heard several times'."
Ms Smith strongly denied the claim, saying the allegations were untrue and had been made by a "very aggrieved" former committee member, who was no longer a member of the party.
A spokeswoman for the SNP said: "The SNP’s candidate selection is an internal democratic process where the decisions rest firmly with our membership. Local members are currently in the process of being balloted to select their choice of candidate."