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SNP kick out 'wife-beating' MSP

AN MSP accused of being a serial wife-beater was last night expelled by the SNP.

An SNP internal disciplinary panel has voted to expel Bill Walker MSP from the party
An SNP internal disciplinary panel has voted to expel Bill Walker MSP from the party

An internal disciplinary panel voted for Bill Walker, a Fife councillor who unexpectedly won the Labour stronghold of Dunfermline last year, to be thrown out of the party after he failed to disclose his chequered past before standing for Holyrood.

Walker, 70, is entitled to appeal the decision. He declined to comment last night.

However, even after expulsion by the SNP, he is still able to sit as an independent MSP until 2016, on an annual salary of £57,500.

Jenny Kemp, co-ordinator of the anti-abuse charity Zero Tolerance, said Walker was not a fit person for public office and ought to quit as an MSP.

"He can't possibly have the support of the public. He should do the honorable thing and resign," she said.

If Walker did leave Holyrood, it would mean a hard-fought by-election in Dunfermline. Walker took the seat from Labour last year on a wafer-thin majority of just 590 votes.

Walker was first suspended by the SNP five weeks ago after the Sunday Herald revealed he had been accused of domestic abuse over four decades by three former wives and a teenage step-daughter.

Two of Walker's former spouses got undefended divorces after alleging he assaulted them.

Another wife claimed Walker punched and kicked her in a San Diego hotel room, an attack she said was repeated on a family holiday.

Despite the claims against him, earlier this year Walker welcomed the news that Fife Women's Aid had received a £400,000 lottery grant to help it tackle domestic abuse.

"They do brilliant work, and it's great to see significant funding supporting their service, enabling them to keep aiding abused women in Dunfermline and Fife," he said at the time.

However, court documents in the National Archives of Scotland and affidavits from two of his past wives, told of abuse allegations against him from the late 1960s to the early 1990s.

His second wife, with whom he had three children during around 16 years of marriage in the 1970s and 1980s, said Walker punched her in the face and tore up her communion card, pushed her with such force she had to be hospitalised, and threw household items and poured orange juice over her.

In their divorce documents, Walker admitted striking the woman, but only after she had become "hysterical".

Walker was also branded a "bully" and a "tyrant" by a judge in a child-access case. In a 1990 ruling at Swindon County Court, a judge said 6ft 2in Walker "didn't spare his strength" when he smacked his third wife's five-year-old child.

In the same case, Walker's step-daughter from his second marriage gave evidence describing him as a "thoroughly violent and aggressive man" who regarded physical discipline as "almost a ritual".

She also gave an affidavit in which she said Walker in 1978 hit her on the head with a saucepan, "turning the saucepan inside-out".

Walker confirmed he had hit the girl with a saucepan, but said he did so after she landed an "upper cut to my mouth".

Judge Dyer said that while "outwardly charming", Walker was a "tyrant in his own home".

Eight months after Judge Dyer's comments, Lord Clyde said in a separate ruling that Walker had also hidden his income from his second wife in a "deception" lasting over two years.

"Now the deception has been exposed he presents a somewhat belated apology and offered a lengthy account of a history of events which he says inspired him with feelings of resentment," Lord Clyde wrote.

An SNP spokesman said: "The disciplinary process is ongoing and Bill Walker remains suspended from the party."

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