Priest stood for SNP while suspended over ‘bullying and inappropriate sexual behaviour’


A TRAINEE minister stood as an SNP election candidate while suspended by church chiefs over alleged bullying and inappropriate sexual behaviour, we can reveal.

John Haston, 33, faces a raft of allegations including having two children out of wedlock, dishonest and deceitful conduct, causing fear and anxiety and becoming “overly involved” in parishioners’ lives.

John Haston faces a raft of allegations

Haston with John Swinney

Haston has rubbed shoulders with former First Minister Nicola Sturgeon

But a month after he was sidelined pending a probe, the rookie reverend stood for the Nats at the council elections in Falkirk — allegedly without the Kirk’s consent or knowledge.

He was then a candidate for the SNP’s ruling national executive last October.

Haston, of Grangemouth, Stirlingshire, has rubbed shoulders with former First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and her deputy John Swinney during his fledgling Nats career.

On February 15, he shared a picture on Facebook of him getting a hug from Ms Sturgeon on the day of her resignation, writing “Absolutely gutted”.

And on March 2, he uploaded a snap with Mr Swinney from a leadership hustings.

He also appeared to be in the front row of hustings in Cumbernauld where Ash Regan, Kate Forbes and eventual winner Humza Yousaf faced off.

It’s believed he is still receiving his £1,500 a month trainee salary while church bosses probe complaints against him.

A source said: “Haston is in very hot water with the Church.

“Being accused of sexual impropriety, deceit and bringing the Church into disrepute is about as bad as it gets.

“But he’s been able to cheerlead for the SNP and twice stand for elections.

“Questions must be asked about what the SNP knew about his alleged behaviour and was proper vetting carried out.

“If Haston hasn’t told them, the party should be looking at him very closely as someone who shouldn’t be trusted.”

Haston was suspended in April last year after the claims emerged.
Linlithgow and East Falkirk MP Martyn Day was his agent during his failed council election bid the next month. Choir singer Haston faces six disciplinary allegations.

It’s claimed he “engaged in sexual conduct inappropriate for a minister or candidate which has resulted in conceiving a child out of marriage for a second time”.

He had not “regularised his living situation with his girlfriend”, had “difficulty forming healthy relationships” and had “become over involved in the lives of those you minister to”.

It’s claimed he bullied and caused anxiety in people when his conduct was challenged and was untruthful with the Presbytery over his lifestyle.

A Church of Scotland spokesman said: “We are investigating complaints in relation to a candidate. It would not be appropriate to comment further at this time.”

An SNP spokesman said: “We have just this week been made aware of the letter placing him under administrative suspension with the Church of Scotland.

“Until the Presbytery’s findings are shared with us, we have no further comment.”

Haston stood for the SNP

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