AN SNP Holyrood candidate is being investigated for alleged professional misconduct in his job as a social worker, the Sunday Herald can reveal.

Fulton MacGregor, who is hoping to win Labour-held Coatbridge & Chryston in May, has been accused of improperly accessing confidential case files in order to help a political ally.

The Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC), which registers and monitors social workers, is now working with MacGregor’s employers at South Lanarkshire Council on the probe.

The SNP last night said MacGregor was “confident” the claims would be dismissed.

The investigation followed an anonymous complaint to the SSSC last month, which purported to come from another social worker.

It claimed MacGregor, an SNP councillor in North Lanarkshire, had accessed personal data about the estranged wife of a party colleague in a messy divorce battle.

It also claimed he had been given “political protection” because he was a councillor and “prospective MSP” and accused him of making “misogynistic comments”.

MacGregor is at the centre of the “Monklands McMafia” feud which has split the SNP in Lanarkshire and generated a number of lurid claims against members of the party.

The McMafia is the nickname given to a group of SNP activists, including MacGregor, allied to Uddingston & Bellshill candidate Richard Lyle and social justice secretary Alex Neil.

The group is locked in a power struggle with a rival faction centred around Phil Boswell, the newly elected SNP MP for Coatbridge, Chryston & Bellshill.

One of Boswell’s employees, North Lanarkshire Councillor Julie McAnulty, was recently suspended and disbarred as a candidate after being accused of making racist remarks.

Her accuser was one of Lyle’s employees, Sheena McCulloch.

McAnulty’s supporters say she is the latest victim of a Monklands McMafia smear campaign.

The infighting became so bad earlier this year that in February the SNP’s national secretary suspended the entire Coatbridge & Chryston branch until after the election.

Patrick Grady said “a culture of mistrust” had created a “toxic” environment.

MacGregor was secretly recorded saying the feuding was making him physically “sick”.

His campaign in Coatbridge & Chryston is now run by party HQ instead of by local activists.

Labour’s Elaine Smith is defending a majority over the SNP of just 2741 in the seat.

Despite promoting himself as a “stronger voice” for Coatbridge, MacGregor last week refused a dozen times to comment on the infighting when approached by the Sunday Herald.

An SNP insider said the social work probe was the last thing the party needed: “This could put the tin hat on what has already been a very troublesome local campaign.”

A Labour spokesperson said: “This is serious. The SNP need to answer what they knew about these allegations and how that factored into the vetting of Fulton MacGregor. This is another embarrassment for Nicola Sturgeon from her party in Coatbridge."

The SSSC, which has the power to deregister social workers, confirmed it had received the two anonymous complaints against MacGregor.

A spokeswoman said: “When an allegation of misconduct comes to our attention, we will consider whether there is an issue about a social service worker’s suitability to remain on the register.

However, we cannot make any comment about individual cases."

South Lanarkshire Council said: “We never comment on personnel matters but we work with agencies like the SSSC on any such investigations.”

An SNP spokesperson said: “Fulton MacGregor is concentrating on winning Coatbridge and Chryston for the SNP. A similar anonymous claim was dismissed by the council a number of months ago and Fulton is confident these latest claims will also be dismissed."