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Arran councillor Ellen McMaster has left the SNP to stand as a candidate in the forthcoming Scottish parliamentary elections for the Alba party.
The councillor, who was elected to the Arran and Ardrossan ward on North Ayrshire Council in 2017 on an SNP ticket, will stand for Alex Salmond’s new party on the West Scotland regional list.
In her resignation letter, sent to the Banner and SNP members on Arran, she defends her action telling them: ‘I joined the SNP to further the cause of independence and I have worked tirelessly towards this goal, as an activist and as the Arran and Ardrossan SNP councillor.
‘It has been a privilege to be a member of the Isle of Arran Branch and I thank you all for your tireless support and camaraderie, I could not have shouldered this responsibility without you. However, it is with deep regret and after much deliberation I have taken the difficult decision to resign my membership of the SNP. I can no longer support a party with which I have fundamental differences of opinion on important issues such as the safeguarding of women’s sex-based rights and the recent, much criticised, Hate Crime Bill with its implications for the curbing of free speech.
‘My focus on the main prize of independence remains unwavering and resolute. I appreciate that some of you will disagree with my decision but I hope that we can all approach this election with positivity in order to further our unifying cause – Scottish independence.’
During the pandemic, as chairwoman of the Arran Locality Partnership, Councillor McMaster says she helped set up the Arran community support hub and volunteer network and has enabled island community organisations to access over £200,000 of Covid emergency funding. She also says she was instrumental in obtaining the massive £350,000 North Ayrshire budget contribution which will help secure the future of the Arran Outdoor Activity Centre for the foreseeable future.
She says she will continue her work as a councillor for the remainder of her term of office.
News of Councillor McMaster’s departure was first revealed in The National on Monday. She told the newspaper: ‘Everything I do is about that vision of where we want to go as a nation. The SNP has made massive improvements to the lives of the people of Scotland. It feels like we have stalled. It’s time to galvanise the movement. If the Alba Party can be that grist to the mill to help push – not against the SNP and mindful of what they have achieved with one hand tied behind their back – why shouldn’t the Yes movement have more representation in Holyrood?
‘I am part of the Yes movement. I took on the role of SNP councillor to further the aims of that movement. For me now I feel that that journey with the party has come to the end of the road.’