A heavily edited version of this letter, which omitted some of the most important points, was published in the Airdrie and Coatbridge Advertiser on 27th January 2016. I have highlighted the missing sections.
Having seen the article where Councillor Michael Coyle claimed he was the victim of bullying I could not let the claims about Councillor Alan Beveridge go without comment. Mr Coyle is the chair of the Airdrie branch, and now that he has spoken on the subject, I for one would welcome his comments on the multiple accusations of bullying levelled against the Airdrie branch. Since this time last year there have been a swathe of resignations from the branch, and many of those who left received letters (a copy of which was posted online for all to see by Councillor Beveridge), which were signed by Councillor Coyle, which claim that they are holding files on those members and will use them should those people attempt to rejoin the SNP. It is my understanding that those people who asked for the details to be revealed under Data Protection legislation were ignored by Mr Coyle’s branch. The bullying which led to Councillor Beveridge’s resignation occurred during the Westminster selection process which saw Neil Gray elected as MP, and consisted of a stream of false accusations to SNP HQ about candidate Tommy Montgomery, and which led to police and council investigations which completely exonerated Mr Montgomery. I complained strongly to SNP HQ about the situation and was initially given the runaround, followed by a wall of silence, and what seems like a complete unwillingness to investigate its own internal problems. These are issues which have been mentioned in the national press but which have been studiously avoided by the Advertiser, which has led many to questions how impartial it is.
Looking further into the article in your paper, I personally think it is probably not best practice, for one family to occupy so many posts in the same small committee. Surely if one of them were to have to excuse themselves from a vital vote it could be the case that their close relationship would mean they all be forced to do likewise? How does that benefit anyone if three members have to excuse themselves instead of one? Pointing this obvious fact out cannot be described as bullying, and the only person suggesting that something is going on is Mr Coyle himself. What is really galling is that it is the council-tax payers who will no doubt be picking up the council’s bill for the legal action your article states he has instigated against North Lanarkshire Council.
As a final point, reader M Wilkinson parroted Councillor David Stocks by calling for Councillor Beveridge to resign and stand again in a by election, as before resigning he had stood on an SNP ticket, with SNP funding and support. I take it he would support Councillor Alex Lunn in Edinburgh, as well as Mike Dillon and Marie McGurk in Renfrewshire doing the same? Which is a strange position, as a former Justice Minister welcomed Mr Lunn to the SNP fold with no such reservations.