IndyRef2 could make Scotland 'economically weaker' says Lockhart
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It comes as SNP bosses announced plans to slim down the party’s ruling National Executive Committee (NEC) from 42 to 32 people. Around half of the party’s regional representatives are to be given the chop, representing thousands of members across dozens of branches all over Scotland.
In a new memo, the SNP said the role of regional representatives within the party and on the NEC has come with “less accountability” compared to other positions including National Office Bearers and representatives from Affiliate organisations.
As a result, party bosses revealed certain individuals were “acting in their own interests” rather than on “behalf of the party and their local members” prompting reforms to be made.
The move has sparked further fears over the suitability of the party leadership, including Ms Sturgeon and her husband, SNP chief executive Peter Murrell.
Former justice secretary Kenny MacAskill, now an Alba Party MP, said: “This is proof positive if any were needed of the control freakery that has taken hold of the SNP.
“It shows a deep level of insecurity to want to remove people who dare to disagree, challenge or simply ask questions but sadly that is now par for the course in Sturgeon’s SNP.
“The whole point of having a governing body like the National Executive, as with any Board of trustees, is to provide accountability, proper governance and oversight of decisions made including how money is ring-fenced or spent.
“This decision to reduce the number of elected members of the SNP NEC in favour of party place men and women is not only an affront to democracy but goes to the heart of everything that is rotten about the SNP.”
Neil Bibby MSP, Scottish Labour’s Business Manager, said: “This memo confirms that this move was a deliberate attempt to weaken the voices of party members.
“It’s no secret that the SNP leadership don’t like to be questioned, but it’s still astonishing to see them come this close to admitting it.
“The SNP are not only out of touch with the Scottish public, but it seems they aren’t even willing to listen to their own party members anymore.”
Wendy Chamberlain MP, Scottish Lib Dem Scottish Affairs spokesperson, said: “I will come as no surprise to rural and island communities ignored by the Scottish Government that the SNP are not interested in the views of regional representatives.
“The SNP leadership is a narrow clique clinging to power but out of ideas for what to do with it.
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“I’m surprised that their membership put up with being treated like naughty children who can’t be trusted.”
Stephen Kerr MSP, Scottish Conservative chief whip, said: “Those at the top of SNP are clearly more and more unwilling to have a wide-range of views on their executive committee.
“All the focus should be on our recovery from the pandemic, but the SNP seem more interested in fighting like ferrets in a sack.
“It is typical of an SNP Government who are always keen to avoid scrutiny over their actions and want to hang onto the power they have at every turn.”
It comes after the Express exclusively revealed earlier this week of the changes to the NEC.
In a draft paper, the SNP said: “Feedback from our consultation highlighted the need for further reform of the NEC, not least from those with experience of NEC membership.”
It argues the monthly meetings of the NEC have “lengthy agendas” which causes “minimised opportunities for participation, scrutiny and debate”.
The paper added: “Recognising the size of our membership and the expertise within it, there wasn’t a huge appetite for drastically reducing the size of NEC, but rather a modest slimming down and changes to the model of operation.
“Our proposal reduces the number of NEC members to 32.”
The SNP has been approached for comment.
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