Graham Leadbitter served the charity for eight years - but his place on its board caused a rift between it and umbrella body
The Scottish Women’s Aid (SWA) network was rocked this week when a charity quit over a row about a man appointed to its board.
SWA threatened Moray Women’s Aid with expulsion after Graham Leadbitter’s role in the north-east organisation came to light.
Mr Leadbitter, an SNP councillor in Elgin and a supporter of the anti-domestic violence White Ribbon campaign, had acted on the charity’s board for eight years.
When faced with expulsion on the grounds that SWA has a women-only membership, the Moray group resigned from the umbrella body, claiming the stance is discriminatory.
It is whether you have the skills and passion that is important, not whether someone has a beard
It’s been reported that, in a letter sent to members, Elle Johnston, services manager for Moray Women’s Aid, said the appointment of Mr Leadbitter was based on merit.
She said: “It is whether you have the necessary skills and passion that is the most important, not whether or not someone has a beard.
“We have 10 members on our board, all the others are very strong females working alongside men to achieve equality for all. Not all men are abusers, there are good decent men out there and we should be working alongside them to achieve mutual equality and respect.
“We disaffiliated ourselves because we were not prepared to discriminate blatantly. We didn’t take this decision lightly, it was tough, but the board completely backed me.”
SWA chief executive Marsha Scott, in a letter to SWA affiliates, is reported to say: “It recently came to our attention that Moray Women’s Aid has appointed a man to their board of directors.
“Moray Women's Aid management team and board have confirmed they will not change their stated position… we are sorry that Moray has left our network”.
Mr Leadbitter said: “If this creates some debate about equalities, that is all well and good but I wouldn’t want to detract from that vital work".