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Wednesday, 19 July, 2000, 12:31 GMT 13:31 UK
SNP treasurer steps up fight
Salmond and Blackford graphic
Alex Salmond and Ian Blackford
The treasurer of the Scottish National Party has accused senior members of breaking rules when a vote of no confidence in him was passed last month.

Ian Blackford makes his claim in a letter to everyone in the party.

He particularly criticised Deputy Leader, John Swinney, who is said to be the front-runner to become lead the party after Alex Salmond's decision to resign.

Mr Swinney's assertion that the party stuck to the rules was "untrue", he said.

John Swinney
John Swinney: Particular criticism
A party spokesman rules were followed throughout the dispute.

Mr Blackford threatened to sue SNP leader Alex Salmond for defamation after the vote was taken at the meeting, from which he was absent.

He was later suspended as treasurer for conduct said to be against the party's interests but plans to take his fight to the annual conference in September.

On Tuesday, Mr Blackford, managing director of an international investment bank, denied being the cause of Mr Salmond's decision to quit.

"I certainly wasn't expecting Alex to resign," he insisted.

"This is something which has blown up over the last few weeks but I don't see it has led to Alex's resignation.

"If I do take any action against Alex, that is on a personal basis and is not attacking the party in any way."

He also backed Alex Neil, the only candidate so far to declare himself in the leadership contest which will be decided at the conference.

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See also:

14 Jun 00 | Scotland
SNP treasurer dispute 'over'
13 Jun 00 | Scotland
SNP suspends treasurer
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