AN SNP councillor was ejected from a meeting about Scotland’s drug deaths crisis as its organiser accused him of opportunism.

Graham Campbell, an SNP member of Glasgow City Council, was told to leave a meeting organised by the drug deaths charity Favor UK by its head Anne Marie Ward.

Speaking to Radio Clyde News after the dramatic incident, she accused Campbell, who represents one of Glasgow’s poorest neighbourhoods, of “lying” about his support for the charity’s campaign to bring down Scotland’s rate of drug deaths – which remains the highest in Europe.

Footage shot by the radio station and published on social media shows Ward, who helped draft the Scottish Conservatives’ unpublished “right to rehab” bill, telling the councillor “you have not been there”.

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She added: “You showed up for the photographs, that’s it.”

She was then bleeped after appearing to swear at Campbell before telling him to leave the meeting.

Campbell said he had attended all of Favor’s vigils for drug death victims and had worked hard within his ward to help groups helping support users.

Speaking to The National afterwards, the councillor called on the SNP to adopt Favor UK’s recommendations on reforming services for drug users, adding while he felt the drama had been “unfortunate” it had “got people talking” about the crucial issue.  

He told The National: “I totally get why anybody would be angry about the slow response of the Government to drugs deaths, I get that, in fact I share some of those criticisms.

“I would like to see the services for people who have got drug death issues in their communities, I’d like to see the services changed in many of ways Favor has described, so I think I can count myself as a supporter.

“I think I sort of copped it because I was the SNP rep that was there.”

Campbell added: “My feeling is, what’s happened to me is a bit unfortunate, but that’s not a big deal in the grand scheme of things – the real issue is the number of people that have been dying of drug deaths…

“If it gets people talking about the issue, then I’m all for that.”

Speaking earlier on Monday, Campbell told Radio Clyde: “I thought it was over-the-top, I was not treated like that by the others in the campaign and they did apologise for the conduct.

The National: Photographs by Gordon Terris Photographs by Gordon Terris (Image: Gordon Terris)

“Look, I’m not gonna… I’m a big boy, I can handle criticism and I expected to hear some criticism because I know that there is the view that FAVOR has expressed before … So I was expecting criticism but I wasn’t expecting that and I think that was uncalled for.”

But Ward – who has herself stormed out of meetings with the Scottish Government on drug deaths before – accused Campbell of lying about his “support” for her campaign.

She said: “[Campbell] showed up at two events in the last three years and he’s barely spoke a word to us during those events, he’s not offered any support outside those events.

“As far as I’m concerned he’s showed up to get his photograph taken and to prove that he was there. There has been no support, so for him to stand up and say that he’s supported the campaign since it started is laughable and is beyond lies and manipulation.

“I mean that is downright, I don’t know … to lie like that is just a complete brass neck.”

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Favor called the meeting, attended by Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross and one of the party's Glasgow MSPs Annie Wells, for the launch of their report which called for changes to treatment services for drug users.

The group claimed there was still a “postcode lottery” for treatment and that referrals for residential rehab centres were “inconsistent”.

Some 1330 people lost their lives to drug misuse in Scotland in 2021, a drop of less than 1% on the previous year.

Ward previously accused the Scottish Government of appearing to have “forgotten about Scotland’s drug death crisis”.

She added: “We hope our Blueprint to Save Lives will remind them communities are still suffering and they need to act.”