The leader of North Lanarkshire council has resigned from his post following an allegation of sexual misconduct.
SNP councillor Jordan Linden said he had “no wish for personal circumstances to overshadow the work of the local authority” after the Sunday Mail reported the alleged unwanted advances towards a teenager at a party in Dundee in 2019.
Linden, 27, took over the post in May’s council elections prior to claims about his past conduct becoming public.
Opponents had previously called on him to stand down and were said to be preparing a vote of no confidence prior to Linden’s announcement to colleagues.
In an email sent to staff, he said he intended to continue representing the Bellshill ward despite his resignation.
He added: “I want to make colleagues aware that I am resigning from my position as leader of North Lanarkshire Council today.
“I have no wish for my personal circumstances to overshadow the work of the political administration of the council as it implements the manifesto on which it was elected in May.
“The council carries out extremely important work every day for people across the whole of North Lanarkshire and it is vital that there is no distraction, particularly at a time when many of the people we represent face unprecedented cost of living pressures and daily challenges.
“It has been the privilege of my life to serve in this role, and I remain proud that I was able to lead the Scottish National Party to administration in North Lanarkshire for the first time.
“I intend to continue to represent the people of Bellshill to the very best of my ability as a councillor, as I have done since first being elected in 2017. The privilege of representing my home town continues to be incredibly special to me.”
The allegations against Linden centre on an incident at a party after a Pride event in Dundee on September 21, 2019.
Three sources told the Sunday Mail, Linden had “groped and sexually harassed” the young man while “very drunk”.
The newspaper reported that party bosses were made aware of the alleged incident amid further concern over the party’s complaint-handling policy in the wake of the Patrick Grady scandal.
Linden said he had apologised to the teenager at the time, but reiterated his acceptance that his “behaviour caused a sense of discomfort”.
He added the reports had a “profound effect” on his mental health.
He said: “I offered my apologies to the person concerned at the time and the matter was closed.
“I reiterate that apology today. And in all that’s been said in recent days, the empathetic words from that individual have given me the most reassurance.
“The recent press coverage of this has placed an immense strain on me personally. My mental health and wellbeing is being seriously affected, and the impact it is having is profound.
“This is foremost in my consideration about my future, as well as the interests of my partner, family and those closest to me.
“By resigning, I hope to be allowed the space to get my mental health back in balance.”
Scottish Labour’s Neil Bibby said: “This resignation was the right thing to do, but it doesn’t fix the rotten culture of secrecy and cover-up at the heart of the SNP.
“His apology makes it all the more appalling that the SNP hierarchy were so willing to close ranks to protect him.
“The SNP cannot keep looking the other way and letting their scandal-hit politicians call the shots.”
A SNP spokesman said: “The individual made clear to the SNP that the matter was resolved, and he would not be making a complaint.”
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