A Fife councillor has quit the SNP and accused the party over covering up bullying allegations.
Marie Penman, who was convener of the Kirkcaldy branch, notified bosses of her decision on Monday morning before issuing a strongly worded statement.
She claimed SNP headquarters was made aware of the accusations in June 2014 and named Ochil and Perthire South MP Tasmina Ahmed Sheikh, then the party’s women’s officer, and Shirley-Anne Somerville, the former deputy chief executive and current Dunfermline Holyrood candidate, as acknowledging the complaint.
Ms Penman told The Courier: “It’s definitely a cover up. It’s partly complacency because they know they are going to win everywhere so don’t have to fix any problems.
“They just thought it would all die down. There was a chance that could have happened but there is still a horrible, vicious atmosphere.”
Ms Penman, who led the Kirkcaldy Yes campaign and was credited with helping secure a seven-fold increase in local SNP membership ahead of the referendum, dropped out of a bid to become an MSP last year.
She told colleagues she had been saddened by a “smear campaign” against her after expressing an intention to run against MSP David Torrance for the Kirkcaldy.
In her statement, the college lecturer said she would see out her term as a councillor as a Kirkcaldy East as an independent after claiming “numerous” requests for help and support from SNP HQ were “ignored”.
She also claimed the SNP has no policy on bullying in its constitution and branded the Kirkcaldy branch “a broken and divided party”.
“I thought when I was elected as an SNP councillor in January 2015, the situation might improve, but if anything, it got worse,” she said.
“The Kirkcaldy branch of the SNP was split down the middle and became a bitterly-divided group, full of hatred and recriminations.
“The Kirkcaldy SNP Facebook page at that time was shut down by SNP HQ, due to the many intimidating, slanderous and threatening messages that were being posted on it.
“As convenor of the branch, I tried to keep things calm, but the situation became intolerable, and in June 2015, I resigned as convenor.”
An SNP spokesperson said: “We’re sorry that Marie struggled to feel at home within the SNP, but wish her all the best for the future.”
For more on this story, see Tuesday’s Courier.