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Thursday, 2 May, 2002, 15:18 GMT 16:18 UK
MSP quits nationalists
John Swinney, Dorothy-Grace Elder graphic
Leader John Swinney and the MSP are at odds
The Scottish National Party MSP, Dorothy-Grace Elder, has resigned from the party.

She is quitting because of what she said was "stupid, arrogant and bullying behaviour".

Ms Elder, a list Member of the Scottish Parliament for Glasgow, will remain as an MSP until the Scottish Parliamentary elections in a year's time.

SNP leader John Swinney has called on Ms Elder to resign entirely from the parliament.

For Dorothy-Grace to remain as an MSP would be to flout the democratic will of the people of Glasgow,

John Swinney
SNP leader

One of the SNP's most colourful politicians, the former journalist was unpopular with the party leadership.

She had previously fallen out with them over claims she did not contribute enough cash towards the cost of party research.

The latest row was prompted by attempts what Ms Elder said were her own party's attempts to remove her against her will from the parliament's health and community care committee.

Committee membership

In part of an 11-page resignation statement, she stated: "The legal position is that if the SNP bosses try to force me out they will be in contravention of Rule 6.3 of the Standing Orders.

"This makes it clear that [committee] membership is not 'within the gift' of the party groups.

"In practice, a group may recommend who serves on a committee but thereafter they have the rights of an MSP on a non-party basis."

SNP offices Edinburgh
The MSP is angry with the party

"Rule 6.3 states, at item 5: 'a committee member shall serve as a member of a committee for the duration of that committee unless: he or she resigns from that office by intimating his or her resignation to the Parliamentary Bureau'.

"I will not resign. Therefore, resigning from the SNP group is the only alternative.

"I have checked the legal position. I cannot only remain as an MSP, an independent, to finish my term but also remain as a member of the health committee unless there is a vote by the entire parliament to remove me."

'Commonplace' change

She recently won publicity for her campaign to highlight the plight of chronic pain sufferers.

Mr Swinney responded: "As party leader I asked Dorothy-Grace Elder to stand down from the health committee.

"Dorothy-Grace Elder refused to accept this commonplace change to party representation on a parliamentary committee.

Electoral list

"I have made dozens of such decisions in the past and as a result, of her refusal to accept this, Dorothy-Grace Elder faced suspension from the SNP group after losing a vote on the issue by 25 votes to one.

"The people of Glasgow chose an SNP representative from the electoral list at the last election.

"For Dorothy-Grace to remain as an MSP would be to flout the democratic will of the people of Glasgow, just as she was attempting to flout the democratic will of the SNP group.

"I call on Dorothy-Grace Elder to resign from the parliament."

BBC Scotland's Brian Taylor reports
"Dorothy Grace Elder talked of manipulation by the party's front bench"
See also:

09 Jun 99 | UK Politics
MSPs' time for a place in the sun
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