AN SNP councillor has stepped aside temporarily after allegations of sexual harassment in the Scottish Youth Parliament were referred to the police.

Jordan Linden, 22, a former SYP chair, stepped down from the SNP opposition in North Lanarkshire strongly denying wrongdoing.

Mr Linden, who was elected in Bellshill in May and worked for Uddingston & Bellshill MSP Richard Lyle, acted after the BuzzFeed news website reported the allegations.

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The SYP, a charity for would-be politicians which campaigns on youth issues, last year investigated claims that one of its members sent an explicit photograph to another member and sexually harassed others in the organisation.

After taking advice from child protection experts and consulting lawyers, the SYP concluded the allegations were false and the alleged culprit had “no case to answer”.

However after media enquiries this week, the SYP referred the matter to the police, saying it had done so “given the seriousness of these allegations and our belief that this is a targeted campaign against SYP”.

Cllr Linden, the SYP member for Uddingston & Bellshill from 2011 to 2016, said: “I have been cleared of any wrongdoing already; these are false allegations.

“I hope the police will act against those who are spreading lies against me and others.

“I have stepped aside from the SNP until this matter is resolved."

His Twitter and Facebook accounts have disappeared.

An SNP spokesperson said: “We have contacted Police Scotland and they tell us there is no named individual currently under investigation.”

The SNP last week suspended former childcare minister Mark McDonald from the party and its Holyrood group over allegations of inappropriate conduct.

Police Scotland said it had been contacted by the SYP concerning “possible inappropriate conduct by some of its members and former members. Inquiries are at a very early stage and it has not yet been established if anyone is reporting a crime."

The SYP said “all allegations of harassment or inappropriate behaviour of any kind are taken very seriously, investigated thoroughly, and appropriate action taken in line with our policies”.