HUMZA Yousaf is to campaign in a byelection caused by an SNP sex scandal after it emerged yet another of the party’s councillors had quit in protest.

The First Minister will join candidate Joe Budd in Bellshill in North Lanarkshire today to try to whip up support ahead of a vote on June 15.

The byelection was triggered by former SNP council leader Jordan Linden quitting after sexual misconduct claims were made against him, which he denied.

Mr Linden stepped down as the £45,000 head of North Lanarkshire last year, a few weeks after the SNP gained control of the council from Labour, admitting he had caused a teenage boy “a sense of discomfort which I entirely regret” at a party in 2019.

After more accusations followed - and were again denied - Mr Linden, the cousin of SNP Glasgow East MP David Linden, quit as a councillor in March.

Last year, eight SNP councillors raised concerns about the local and national party’s handling of complaints against Cllr Linden, and were subsequently sanctioned.

Accused of bringing the party into disrepute for trying to amend a motion to the full council put by the SNP group’s new leader, Tracy Garragher, two of the group were expelled and five suspended for six months earlier this month, leading all to resign from the SNP.

It has now emerged that an eighth councillor, Jim Hume, a long-standing SNP representative in the Wishaw ward, quit the party as well this week to sit as an Independent.

In a short statement, he said: “I am looking forward to working with a group of councillors whose total focus is not party politics but working together for the best interests of all the people in North Lanarkshire.”

On his visit today, Mr Yousaf will claim the SNP has been focused on local issues despite years of bitter infighting involving the council group.

The SNP leader will say: “I am proud that SNP activists the length and breadth of Scotland continue to take our progressive vision and plans for a fairer, greener, wealthier Scotland to the doorsteps.

"I am delighted to join our SNP candidate and local activists to speak to people and businesses in Bellshill about their priorities, and how the SNP is the only party protecting Scotland from the brunt of Westminster policies – in stark contrast to the Tory/Labour coalition in North Lanarkshire Council.

"The SNP is the only party offering a positive alternative to the broken Westminster system for our communities. A vote for the SNP ensures that we can get rid of damaging Tory governments for good.”

Mr Budd, a civil engineer, previously quit the SNP because of policy disagreements and stood against it as an Independent in another North Lanarkshire Council byelection in 2021, coming third.