Scottish Labour has taken control of North Lanarkshire Council after the SNP’s former leader quit over sexual harassment allegations.
Jordan Linden stood down last month after reports that he made unwanted advances towards a teenager at a flat after a pride parade in Dundee.
In an eight-minute-long meeting on Thursday, North Lanarkshire councillors voted in favour of Labour’s Jim Logue taking charge of the authority, voting down a motion for the SNP’s Tracy Carragher – Mr Linden’s former deputy – to take on the role.
In the vote, 38 councillors backed the Labour amendment, while 37 voted for the SNP motion – independent councillor Alan Beveridge abstained.
In an email to SNP colleagues, Mr Linden accepted that he had made the man in question uncomfortable with his advances.
“Although I have never approached any personal interaction with ill intent, I accept that my behaviour at that party in 2019 caused a sense of discomfort which I entirely regret,” he said.
“I offered my apologies to the person concerned at the time and the matter was closed.
“I reiterate that apology today. And in all that’s been said in recent days, the empathetic words from that individual have given me the most reassurance.
“The recent press coverage of this has placed an immense strain on me personally.
“My mental health and wellbeing is being seriously affected, and the impact it is having is profound.
“This is, foremost, in my consideration about my future, as well as the interests of my partner, family and those closest to me. By resigning, I hope to be allowed the space to get my mental health back in balance.
“I have no wish for my personal circumstances to overshadow the work of the political administration of the council as it implements the manifesto on which it was elected in May.
“The council carries out extremely important work every day for people across the whole of North Lanarkshire and it is vital that there is no distraction, particularly at a time when many of the people we represent face unprecedented cost of living pressures and daily challenges.”
Mr Linden added that he would continue as a councillor for Bellshill.
Commenting, Scottish Conservative Miles Briggs MSP said: “The Scottish Conservatives were very clear during the local election campaign earlier this year that we were keen to work with other pro-union parties to try to lock the SNP out of power in Scotland’s councils.
“The opportunity to do so presented itself in North Lanarkshire, in the wake of the resignation of the former SNP council leader, so the five Conservative councillors chose to vote with Labour on that basis.”
Councillor Tracy Carragher, the SNP group leader in North Lanarkshire, said: “Local people who voted in May’s election will understandably feel aggrieved at this, but my concern and the SNP group’s focus will be on ensuring the continued delivery of the best possible services in North Lanarkshire.”
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