THE head of the SNP’s most dysfunctional council group has defended his record and said he deserves a promotion, despite party bosses having to weed out local trouble-makers.

David Stocks, leader of the SNP opposition in North Lanarkshire, said he hoped to become the £39,000-a-year leader of the council in May after ousting the Labour administration.

Cllrs Stocks, 64, spoke to the Herald after SNP candidate assessors grilled his group’s 22 councillors at a hotel in Bellshill yesterday, with a view to a purge before the local elections.

Read more: North Lanarkshire Council's SNP group faces purge

The Lanarkshire SNP has become synonymous with infighting in recent years, with an old guard dubbed the ‘Monklands McMafia’ feuding with a newer intake of activists.

Meetings have ended in walkouts and the Coatbridge branch has been suspended for a year.

One councillor was recently criticised by a sheriff for trying to cheat his wife out of a fair divorce, while another is suing a party colleague for £100,000 in a defamation action.

Cllr Stocks has also been criticised for accepting hospitality from the Unionist Orange Order.

Read more: North Lanarkshire Council's SNP group faces purge

Asked if he felt he had done a good job as leader, Cllr Stocks said: “Yes, I do.”

He also said that if re-elected in Airdrie Central, he would stand for re-election as SNP group leader and by implication council leader if the SNP was in power.

Asked if he thought he was the best person to run the council, which has a budget of £1.2bn, he said: “Yes, I do. If I am re-elected as a councillor, I intend to go for the position of leader again. I am defending my record as leader of the group.”

Read more: North Lanarkshire Council's SNP group faces purge

He said many difficulties were down to a vocal group of former SNP councillors who quit the group and now had “a hatred" of the party.