Kirkcaldy councillor quits in bullying row

Kirkcaldy councillor Marie Penman
Kirkcaldy councillor Marie Penman

A Fife councillor has quit the SNP and fired a broadside at the party, claiming it covered up her allegations of bullying.

Marie Penman was convenor of the Kirkcaldy branch and the public face of the Yes campaign in town.

But today she quit and vowed to carry on representing the Kirkcaldy East ward as an independent.

In her statement she described the SNP in Kirkcaldy as “a broken and divided party” - and claimed it had failed to act on her claims of bullying.

Ms Penman, who had bid to become the SNP candidate for this year’s Holyrood elections before dropping out of the selection process - said she had tried to keep a lid on the issues within the party, without success.

She said she made the SNP aware of the situation in June 2014 but the party “chose to do nothing”.

She also claims that after her election as a councillor in January 2015 things got worse, and she described the Kirkcaldy branch of the SNP as “split down the middle” and “a bitterly divided group”.

Ms Penman said seven other officers have resigned due mainly to “bitter infighting” and she no longer attends the branch which she led.

“I will see out my term as a councillor as an independent, and will continue to work hard and do my best for my constituents,” she said.

Ms Penman said she felt she had no choice but to quit the party.

“I asked for help and support from SNP HQ on numerous occasions but was ignored.

“When I tried to find out how to formalise a complaint I discovered that the SNP, as a party, has no policy on bullying in its constitution and, therefore no process in place to deal with it.”

The row comes just as the party is set to launch its Holyrood election campaign and just 24 hours after its spring conference was staged in Glasgow.