SNP chiefs have been left red-faced after private papers belonging to the Renfrewshire group were found strewn all over a busy road junction.
A member of the public raised the alarm on Saturday on Renfrewshire Council’s own Team Up to Clean Up social media page – aimed at rallying the community to help tackle littering in the area.
They reported “Renfrewshire Council papers” being found strewn all over the busy roundabout section of the Hillington interchange, under the M8 motorway, telling Team Up to Clean Up bosses: “The roundabout at Hillington is full of Renfrewshire Council papers lots of it. Blowing all over the place.”
But SNP chiefs have alleged political intrigue may have sparked the move, ahead of the upcoming council elections on May 5, with Renfrewshire leader Iain Nicolson telling the Express the papers may have been “intentionally placed there” to discredit the party with a “political motive behind it” and pledge to investigate.
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The documents were found to contain handwritten notes belonging to Renfrewshire SNP group, some headed with Renfrewshire Council logos and insignia.
Amongst the debris, were handwritten notes on SNP group business including plans for election hashtags and a typed agenda headed ‘Meeting of SNP Group, Tuesday 4/12/17 at 6.00pm, Corporate Room 1’.
A letter from bankers Clydesdale Bank addressed to ‘Renfrewshire SNP Group’ at the council’s Cotton Street HQ, detailing changes to terms of a business current account was also found amongst the papers ditched.
One poster on the site reported seeing the papers being tipped from a car, saying: “There was a white/pale pink overnight bag either dumped or fell out of a car at about 3.30pm yesterday, the papers were blowing out of it.
“One of them was an SNP poster so could be voting related papers.”
A response on the site from Renfrewshire Council’s Lead Officer for Environment Co-ordination, Nicola Drummond, said the incident mirrored a similar previous one, telling the poster: “there was a similar incident last year. Election voting papers dumped. We managed to trace that and issue a fine so fingers crossed we can get a result here too.”
Renfrewshire Council’s SNP-led administration romped to victory at the 2017 Scottish local government polls, vowing to clean up Renfrewshire and address litter-logged streets.
They instigated the Team Up to Clean Up campaign, which sees teams of community volunteers clean up their own surroundings, in what the council bills as a “joint initiative” between “the Council and the community to improve the local environment in Renfrewshire”.
The scheme lists “gully cleaning, road sweeping, recycling, litter picking, fly tipping” amongst projects to be addressed, telling how: “community clean ups are all part of the campaign which looks to make Renfrewshire a more attractive place to live, work and visit”.
Renfrewshire’s SNP chiefs have previously defended the Team Up to Clean Up campaign saying it works in helping rid the area of rubbish after it came under fire from opposition councillors after its introduction.
Councillor Cathy McEwan defended the five year project at a 2018 meeting of Renfrewshire Council’s Infrastructure, Land and Environment Policy Board, saying: ““We are trying to change a culture here, it’s happening”, adding: “we are heading in the right direction”, after Labour councillor John Hood questioned the scheme and claimed “the rubbish is still there”.
The exchange led the SNP’s Councillor Audrey Doig to take a swipe at the former Labour administration during the spat, claiming: “Because there were areas that weren’t touched for years under the previous administration”.
SNP Group Leader Iain Nicolson told the Express: “I am grateful to the members of the public who contacted us regarding what looked like papers relating to the SNP which were observed as lying around a motorway roundabout.
“I am not 100 per cent sure as to how they got there or if they were removed from somewhere else and intentionally placed there with a political motive behind it. However once we were made aware of it the material was quickly collected and disposed of properly. We will be carrying out internal enquiries to understand where the material came from to minimise it happening again”
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