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EDITIONS
Wednesday, 17 July, 2002, 15:53 GMT 16:53 UK
Nationalists quit in Margo protest
Margo MacDonald
Ms MacDonald said she was fed up with the party
The controversy surrounding the outgoing Scottish National Party MSP Margo MacDonald has resurfaced with senior party activists quitting their posts in protest.

Ms MacDonald was effectively deselected when she was chosen as the party's candidate for the Edinburgh South constituency and placed fifth on the Lothians regional list.

Now, five of the seven office bearers in the constituency association have resigned.

Last week Ms MacDonald confirmed she had a mild form of Parkinson's Disease but only after condemning "dark forces" in the party had given the information to the media to undermine her.

She also stressed that her condition had never been a secret.

Association convenor, Peter Warren, said the party's treatment of Ms MacDonald had been unacceptable.


There are people in the SNP who will go to any depths to turn over someone who is not seen as toeing the party line

Peter Warren,
SNP association convenor

However, a party spokesman said the resignations were not unexpected and would not divert attention from the SNP's election offensive.

Earlier this month, Ms MacDonald announced her intention not to stand for the party at the parliamentary elections in 2003.

She said she had been left disenchanted by the "tittle tattle" which surrounded the party's selection process.

Then news of her medical condition was reported in a newspaper after what Ms MacDonald described as "a leak".

'A step back'

When asked who she thought had leaked the news she said there were "forces of darkness" within the party.

Mr Warren, in his letter of resignation, wrote that the way the party had treated the MSP amounted to "a slap in the face".

"We have had to deal with a lot, but the Parkinson's Disease stuff crystallised things for me," he said.

"There are people in the SNP who will go to any depths to turn over someone who is not seen as toeing the party line.

"We were dealing with the selection process fairly, but various branches were being organised by other candidates to make sure that delegates voted to get Margo down the list."

SNP HQ
The SNP said it is business as usual

He said that if the party wished to act in such a manner then he had no other option than to "take a step back".

Andrew Rosie, the interim convener for the constituency association, said he was disappointed that the officials had decided to quit.

He said that while everyone had their own personal preferences, the party had to concentrate on winning seats.

An SNP spokesman said: "This was expected and as for the rest of the Edinburgh Constituency Association it is business as usual.

"A new team is already in place, the process for selecting a new candidate has commenced and the focus now is on fighting the seat to win in 2003."

See also:

11 Jul 02 | Scotland
09 Jul 02 | Scotland
09 Jul 02 | Scotland
18 Jun 02 | Scotland
18 Jun 02 | Scotland
15 Jun 00 | Scotland
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