SNP condemns Labour over 'Mafia' council: Nationalists issue allegations of nepotism in by-election seat. John Arlidge reports

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The Independent Online
THE SCOTTISH National Party yesterday stepped up its campaign in the Monklands East by- election by urging voters to 'record a democratic verdict' on the Labour council's 'Mafia' leadership.

Kay Ullrich, the SNP candidate, supported her claims that Monklands District Council was 'a disgrace', by publishing a dossier detailing allegations of nepotism and discrimination.

The report, Labour's Monklands Midden, repeated allegations that council leaders had run a 'jobs for the boys' racket, handing out council posts to relatives. The leadership, based in Coatbridge, had discriminated against people living in neighbouring Airdrie by spending almost 10 times less in the town in capital expenditure terms, the report said.

Mrs Ullrich said an internal Labour inquiry last year had been a 'whitewash'. She said: 'The name of Monklands has become a byword for all that is worst in Scottish Labour local government . . Labour has failed to sort out its own midden (dung hill or pile of refuse) and next Thursday the people of Monklands themselves will have the opportunity to sort them out.' An SNP victory would compel Labour to 'clean up' the council, she said.

Labour, which insists it will hold the seat, dismissed the dossier as 'a restatement of old, unproven claims'. Helen Liddell, its candidate, said: 'We have said from the start that critics of the council should either put up or shut up. The SNP has failed to come up with anything new.'

Norman Hogg, Labour MP for Cumbernauld and Kilsyth, who campaigned with Mrs Liddell yesterday, said: 'The SNP always have one mid-term peak. They had that earlier this month in the European elections when they won in north-east Scotland. That will be as far as they go in this Parliament.'

1992 election: J Smith (Lab) 22,266 (61.3 per cent); J Wright (SNP) 6,554 (18 per cent); S Walters (Con) 5,830 (16 per cent); P Ross (LD) 1,679 (4.6 per cent). Lab maj 15,712. Electorate 48,391. Turnout 75.1 per cent.

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