VOTING is underway in a byelection caused by one of the SNP’s rising stars resigning over sexual misconduct allegations.

The polls opened at 7am in Bellshill in a race triggered by the departure of former North Lanarkshire Council leader Jordan Linden.

Mr Linden, who is 28 this month, stood down from the £45,000-a-year post just a few weeks after the SNP gained control of the Labour stronghold at last year’s local elections.

He left after sexual misconduct claims were made against him, which he initially denied.

He later admitted causing a teenage boy “a sense of discomfort which I entirely regret” at a party in 2019, but insisted he had never approached anyone with “ill intent”.

His resignation as council leader led to the collapse of the SNP administration, and Labour returned to take control of the authority. 

After more allegations surfaced, Mr Linden left the council altogether in March this year.

"My resignation is due to the extreme impact all of this is having on my life,” he said. 

The North Lanarkshire SNP group recently suffered mass resignations after the party tried to suspend councillors who had complained about its mishandling of the scandal.

Eight former SNP councillors now sit as “Progressive Change for North Lanarkshire”.

Police Scotland are investigating a sexual assault allegation against Mr Linden.

The Sunday Mail reported last month that two men had given statements to detectives and that three others had made allegations, some dating back eight years.

Mr Linden told the paper he did not accept the allegations made against him.

The SNP candidate defending the seat is Joe Budd, who previously quit the SNP over policy disagreements and stood against it as an Independent in a 2021 byelection.

Humza Yousaf, who previously endorsed a short-lived bid by Mr Linden to become an MP, last week admitted the situation in North Lanarkshire "could have been handled better".

Campaigning in the byelection, the First Minister also said his party would investigate the matter properly.

“We’re absolutely holding our hands up – I as First Minister and leader of the party say that things of course could have been handled better. That’s why we’ll do the investigation."


The full list of ten candidates is


Joseph Budd  - SNP

Colin Cameron - Conservative 

John Cole - Scottish Liberal Democrats

Leo Lanahan - Scottish Family Party

John Marshall - Alba Party

Anne McCrory - Scottish Labour Party

Rosemary McGowan - Scottish Greens

Simona Panaitescu - Freedom Alliance

Billy Ross - British Unionists

Neil Wilson - UK Independence Party