A Lochaber SNP councillor has called on three former colleagues to resign after they announced they are stepping down from the SNP party to become ‘Independents for Independence’.
Councillors Maxine Smith, Pauline Munro and Liz MacDonald said divisions within the Highland SNP group had prompted their decision and they would continue to work under their new banner.
But Fort William and Ardnamurchan councillor Niall McLean said the councillors should now resign.
“If you get elected as an SNP councillor and you get given a position say on a planning committee because there’s an allocation to the SNP group because of numbers, and then you leave and you take those positions with you, you are leaving the SNP group disenfranchised.
“So what you’ve effectively done is you’ve taken the vote from SNP-minded people and you’ve then removed powers from them.
“You’ve done the exact opposite of what the people requested from you, which is to go and fight for SNP policy.
“At the very least those positions should be removed from them, and at most they should just reign from the council altogether.”
Ms Smith said at the time she would not resign as chairwoman of the north planning committee, although she would probably give up the chair of the tourism committee.
Meanwhile, Mrs Munro said her decision would allow her to support policies and initiatives “purely based on what is good for my ward and the wider Highlands”.
“My resignation is not a criticism of the SNP, but a reflection on my own growing frustration at the detrimental effect national party affiliation is having at making the best decisions at a Highland Council level,” she said.
Ms Smith, Ms MacDonald and the SNP party were contacted for comment.