Former North Lanarkshire councillor wins defamation action over ‘racism’ claim

Julie McAnulty
Julie McAnulty

A former SNP councillor for North Lanarkshire has won a defamation case against a party activist who had accused her of racism.

The Court of Session has found in favour of ex-councillor Julie McAnulty, having decided that claims by Sheena McCulloch that she had used a racial epithet during a car journey in 2015 were false. Lord Uist instructed Ms McCulloch to pay £40,000 in damages after the incident wrecked Ms McAnulty’s political career. At the time of the incident, Ms McAnulty was employed by Bellshill and Uddingston MSP Richard Lyle.

Depute council leader Paul Kelly (Labour, Motherwell West) said the case was a “damning indictment” of the North Lanarkshire SNP group.

He said: “As Lord Uist said in his judgement ‘…there was obviously a campaign within the local SNP against Julie McAnulty… I regard the complaint… as part of this campaign, designed to prevent Julie McAnulty being nominated as a candidate for the Scottish Parliament elections and possibly to oust her from the party’.

“It is clear that SNP headquarters should immediately conduct a full investigation of the elected members who played their part in this scandal. We believe it is only right that Allan Stubbs should step down from his position as SNP business manager until that investigation is concluded.”

SNP councillor Mark Kerr (Kilsyth), the party’s local media spokesman, said: “The NLC SNP group does not comment on internal SNP branch matters.”