Councillor suspended by SNP Group at NLC

Councillor David Baird
Councillor David Baird

Mossend and Holytown councillor David Baird has been suspended by the SNP Group at North Lanarkshire.

The Times & Speaker understands this comes after he was accused of breaking procedure by failing to present a motion to the group before it went to a full meeting of North Lanarkshire Council.

Councillor Baird, who is now listed as a Independent, had taken up the case of parents concerned about the safety of children attending additional support needs education in North Lanarkshire.

The motion, seconded by Airdrie councillor Alan Beveridge, who himself resigned from the SNP in 2015, called for the council to undertake an immediate review into aspects of educational practise within special schools in North Lanarkshire.

This included installing CCTV into classrooms, halls and pupil transport for evidential purposes in relation to allegations and complaints.

There was also a request to set up a group to review special needs education provision in North Lanarkshire within the following areas – the use and reporting of physical restraint methods, the use of detention and seclusion of pupils, and identify the training needs of staff.

Councillor Baird refused to discuss the circumstances of his suspension, but did say: “I am still an SNP member and still regard myself as an SNP councillor so I hope this can be sorted out.”

SNP Group business manager Allan Stubbs confirmed Councillor Baird had been suspended.

He said: “This is an internal matter and will be dealt with as such.”

The motion was rejected after Education convener Frank McNally, also a Mossend and Holytown councillor, put forward an amendment to establish a review group of councillors and officials to explore areas for further development in the ASN sector.

Councillor Baird was more open about his disappointment the motion fell.

He said: “Parents have told me making a complaint is like banging their head off a wall so having CCTV evidence to be able to deal with matters quickly and efficiently would surely be a good thing.

“Councillor McNally did put forward setting up the review group, but I feel this was just providing crumbs when we could be doing so much more, we should have the full loaf.”