Simmering tensions within the SNP have threatened to boil over again amid a row about the appointment of a party official to deal with complaints.
Ricky Taylor announced on social media on Friday that he would be taking up the position, which has been created in the wake of a series of controversies over the conduct of SNP parliamentarians.
But the decision has been heavily criticised by senior figures, including Edinburgh South West MP Joanna Cherry and former Health Secretary Alex Neil.
‘How did he pass vetting?’
On Twitter, Ms Cherry wrote: “The new SNP complaints officer Ricky Taylor has a history of targeting me and calling me transphobic for my lawful gender critical views.
“How did he pass vetting?”
Ms Cherry has previously been critical of the SNP leadership on a number of issues, including the debate over trans rights and women’s rights.
Meanwhile, Mr Neil wrote: “This is not a good appointment and should be rescinded with immediate effect.”
Sharing Ms Cherry’s tweet about Mr Taylor, he added: “This is very unfair to Joanna and undermines the party’s stance on human rights etc.”
The new @theSNP complaints officer @RickyDJTaylor has a history of targeting me & calling me transphobic for my lawful gender critical views. How did he pass vetting? https://t.co/of6vdNAgKb…https://t.co/of6vdNAgKb…https://t.co/of6vdNAgKb… pic.twitter.com/ezXPrtIVBv
— Joanna Cherry QC (@joannaccherry) July 31, 2021
On Sunday, Mr Taylor thanked those who had sent him supportive messages.
He wrote: “Hi, Folks – thanks for all the messages/tweets of support today.
“I’m perfectly fine and even more determined and excited to get on with the job.”
‘It’s not going to be the easiest job’
On Friday, he had said: “I’m delighted to say I’ll be joining the wonderful team at SNP HQ at the end of next month as the party’s new complaints officer.
“It’s not going to be the easiest job but I’m definitely up for the challenge of making sure the party is a welcoming and safe place for all.”
👋 Hi, Folks – thanks for all the messages/tweets of support today.
I’m perfectly fine and even more determined and excited to get on with the job.
— Ricky Taylor (@RickyDJTaylor) July 31, 2021
We revealed in June that the SNP was recruiting for a new complaints officer after a series of controversies over the conduct of senior figures in the party.
The post-holder was to be responsible for managing complaints to the SNP, as well as acting as a point of contact for complainants.
The advertisement states that the successful candidate would “complement the work of the national secretary, responsible for discipline within the party”.
The move follows multiple scandals involving prominent SNP figures in recent years, including former leader Alex Salmond, former finance secretary Derek Mackay, former early years minister Mark McDonald, former whip Patrick Grady, and the MP Margaret Ferrier.