Glenrothes councillor Bill Brown has sensationally quit the SNP just two weeks after his party secured a historic clean sweep of constituencies across Fife in the General Election.
He will continue in his role as the Glenrothes West and Kinglassie representative in an independent capacity.
A difficult decision I have considered for some monthsCllr Bill Brown
The councillor informed new Fife SNP leader Brian Goodall, who has only been head of the local party since last Thursday, of his decision to resign with immediate effect on Monday and has told the Gazette he intends to continue to do the best for his constituents and will be seeking re-election in the next round of council elections in 2017.
Mr Brown has put the resignation bombshell down to long-standing issues over how the local party conducts its council business but would not go into detail.
However, it’s understood Mr Brown, who has 30 years experience in the education profession, was keen to progress his career in politics and sought unsuccessfully the role as the SNP’s opposition education spokesman at Fife council.
He also entered the nomination process to select the SNP candidate for Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath constituency, but was beaten by Roger Mullin who went on to win the seat.
“This was a very difficult decision and one that I have been considering for some months,” he said.
“I decided to wait until after the General Election, so that there would be no distraction from that campaign, however, I feel that I had to make a decision.
“I will continue to serve as an independent councillor for Ward 14, West Glenrothes and Kinglassie.
“When I was selected as a candidate my primary reason for standing was to serve the people and to try to make things better.”
Mr Brown added that he felt the party was not utilising the skills of many of its elected councillors.
“I am one of them, I could be doing more and I am disappointed that I am not,” he said.
“It has been a difficult decision but also a relief in a way that it is now in the open. I’m sure there will be repercussions but I speak the truth and have always believed it important to do what is right.“
The shock resignation has serious ramifications for the SNP’s newly achieved control of the town’s area committee, the main decision making body affecting Glenrothes.
The balance of power had shifted in the SNP’s favour following the recent by-election win, but with Cllr Brown having resigned the SNP whip and fellow Glenrothes councillor and newly elected MP Peter Grant spending most of his working week in Westminster, it has left the party short of a majority and could force a second vote in as many months to remove the committee chairman.
Following the shock resignation, Brian Goodall said: “The SNP is going from strength to strength in Fife, as it is across Scotland. We have won the last three Council by-elections with massive majorities, we won all four of Fife’s Westminster seats at the General Election, and the party’s membership numbers in Fife are sky high.
“It’s regrettable that one councillor has resigned from the SNP, but it does nothing to stop the forward momentum of the party in Fife.”