AN SNP councillor has resigned after complaining about an atmosphere of “toxic bullying” within the party group on North Lanarkshire Council.

Paddy Hogg, who has represented Cumbernauld East since 2012, will now sit as an Independent.

He said: “I come from a highly professional training background and expect far higher standards of equity and fairness than exists within the SNP group on North Lanarkshire Council, where bullying and abuse is commonplace to the point it has been normalised.”

Two other SNP councillors, who spoke to the Herald anonymously, also described “bullying” within the council group.

Mr Hogg is the second councillor to quit the SNP opposition on Labour-run North Lanarkshire in as many months, after Fortissat councillor Tommy Cochrane left in May citing concern over local community issues.

The Lanarkshire SNP has been riven by faction fighting in recent years, with an old guard dubbed the ‘Monklands McMafia’ feuding with a new generation of reformers.

Mr Hogg, 58, told The Herald that he left the SNP after the “internecine feud” erupted “with a vengeance”.

He was also critical of the SNP group whip, Coatbridge councillor Allan Stubbs, who is an aide to Coatbridge & Chryston MSP Fulton MacGregor.

Mr Hogg said Mr Stubbs, 33, was “a decent organiser” but lacked management skills and was sowing division in the SNP group.

He also criticised SNP group leader David Stocks for failing to address internal problems, and predicted other SNP councillors would quit the group soon.

Another councillor, who did not want to be named, dismissed talk of bullying in the SNP, but said there was an “unpleasant atmosphere” in the group, and more walk-outs were likely.

A Scottish Labour spokesperson said: “These are distressing revelations. Any allegations of bullying must be taken seriously by the SNP.

“The party need to clear up what is clearly a toxic atmosphere in the Lanarkshire SNP.”

Cllr Stubbs said: “I am aware that Paddy was not in agreement with some of the Group’s recent decisions, but I am sorry that he felt this was the way to deal with it.”

A spokesperson for the SNP group on North Lanarkshire Council echoed Mr Stubbs’s remarks.