THE SNP has been accused of being in denial over its latest sexual misconduct scandal after announcing plans to keep power in North Lanarkshire Council without mentioning why the previous leader quit.

Jordan Linden, 27, resigned as the £45,000-a–year boss of the local authority last week after admitting he made a teenager uncomfortable with his sexual advances.

It followed the Sunday Mail reporting SNP HQ was aware of the issue after it happened at a party in Dundee in 2019, but failed to act as there was no formal complaint.

The Sunday Mail followed up its story this weekend with more allegations about Mr Linden and said the SNP had been warned in 2017 that he was unfit for office. 

Mr Linden remains a councillor for Bellshill, but his resignation as leader on mental health grounds means there will now be a special meeting to appoint his successor.

The SNP last night confirmed it had chosen Cllr Linden’s deputy, current acting leader Tracy Carragher, a councillor in Coatbridge, to be the next leader. 

Cumbernauld Councillor Alan Masterton was chosen as deputy. 

However, a lengthy statement issued by the local party failed to mention of Cllr Linden, or why a new leader was required, or the fact the SNP might only be able to hold onto power in North Lanarkshire with the support of Cllr Linden.

Labour MSP Neil Bibby said: “This is a desperate attempt by the SNP to avoid the elephant in the room. The reason the council has new leadership is because of the inappropriate actions of the previous leader - actions that the SNP turned a blind eye to for years.

“The SNP simply cannot airbrush Jordan Linden from history. 

"The people of North Lanarkshire deserve a council leadership that is focused on the issues at hand - not covering up sleaze.”

The Labour opposition group on the council is now expected to try to amend the SNP motion to appoint the new leadership pair in a bid to wrest control of the council itself. 

The SNP currently has 36 of the 77 councillors in North Lanarkshire, and governs as a minority with the support Independents Alan Beveridge and Robert McKendrick, and rookie Green councillor Claire Williams. 

Labour has 32 councillors, but could take control with the help of the five Tories and a British Unionist if one of the Independents or Cllr Williams changed allegiance.

A Labour source said there was “all to play for”, with discontent at the inactivity of the SNP since it took control at May's election.

At the time of the 2019 party in Dundee, Cllr Linden was trying to become the SNP Westminster candidate for Coatbridge, and had his own website,, carrying endorsements from SNP ministers.

Then justice secretary Humza Yousaf said Cllr Linden would “make an outstanding MP”.

However, just four days after the party in Dundee, Cllr Linden suddenly dropped his plans.

“On reflection, I’ve decided to withdraw and re-focus on my important work locally in Council and on my own health & well-being,” he wrote on Twitter.

The SNP’s internal complaints process is already under scrutiny after former SNP MP Patrick Grady was last month found guilty of harassing a male staffer while drunk in 2016.

In 2020, SNP finance secretary Derek Mackay quit after pestering a 16-year-old boys with texts, but remained a £64,000-a-year MSP until spring 2021 despite never returning to work at Holyrood.

Although the SNP launched an internal investigation into his conduct, it never concluded and was dropped at the 2021 Holyrood election.

In her statement, Cllr Carragher said: “I am grateful to my colleagues for placing their trust in me to lead the group and the council. My focus will continue to be ensuring our administration delivers for the people of North Lanarkshire, delivering our ambitious manifesto commitments on which we were elected in May.

“With recess over and committees beginning this month, residents will begin to see the changes necessary to improve our local communities following 26 years of Labour and Labour/Tory administrations’ failures. We will build on the early decisions already made by this administration at the last full council meeting, such as rewarding our council staff for their efforts during COVID and ending Labour’s disastrous MELM experiment in Chryston.

“I look forward to working with all elected members to guide our communities through the Tory cost of living crisis, protecting and improving council services, expanding the council’s ambitious housebuilding program, and driving down the poverty related attainment gap.”

Cllr Masterton added: “It is an incredible privilege to be chosen by my colleagues to be their Depute Leader and nominee for Depute Leader of the Council. Like all SNP Councillors, I was elected on a pledge to deliver for, and improve, our communities across the local authority and that is what I am committed to doing as the council’s Depute Leader.

“Plans are already in place to deliver on our manifesto commitments such as reintroducing free swimming lessons for all children in P5, a wholesale review of the council house allocations policy and property repairs performance, and tackling the scourge of fly-tipping by reintroducing a free special uplift for all households.

“Our SNP administration remains absolutely focussed on improving the lives of the people of North Lanarkshire.”