Wed. Jun 23rd, 2021


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Sturgeon told future of SNP at crossroads– two candidates barred from standing in election

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At a meeting of the SNP national executive, a decision was made that serving SNP MP’s would have to step down ahead of next year’s Scottish Parliament election to be able to stand on the SNP ticket for a Holyrood seat. also understands that any MP who wants to stand for Holyrood will have to resign their seat before the Scottish election.

A party source told that the “new strategy” was “all about focussing” on constituents.

The decision meant that Joanna Cherry, a serving MP, was unable to stand for the Edinburgh Central seat which is currently held by former Scots Tory leader Ruth Davidson.

Ms Cherry had previously said she wanted to stand in the Edinburgh Central seat in next May’s Scottish Parliament election – with former SNP depute leader Angus Robertson also seeking the nomination.

But she has now said a “particularly unreasonable” demand from the party means it is “impossible” for her to do so.

Marco Biagi, SNP MSP for Edinburgh Central from 2011 to 2016 said that “Future of SNP is at crossroads after the bid to block Joanna Cherry”.

He stressed that the SNP national executive’s decision to “place barriers in front of serving MPs seeking to become MSPs” was always going to be “seen as targeted at one individual.”

Writing in The Times of Scotland, he said: “The party had heretofore taken no position on dual mandates and several individuals have held joint office on a transitional basis. The barrier set down was far from an insurmountable one, but it has been sufficient to persuade Ms Cherry to step back and withdraw entirely from the contest.

“Based on the chatter among SNP members, there are many at the grassroots who are uncomfortable with this process.

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“My own view is that Ms Cherry was a narrow favourite to be chosen as the candidate.

“Even among those who preferred another, there is dissatisfaction with how she has come to be eliminated.”

Ms Cherry, who currently represents the overlapping constituency of Edinburgh South West in the Commons, said in a statement to that she believed she had a “very good chance” of being selected as the candidate.

She said: “I want to thank everyone who has emailed, written or stopped me in the street to offer their support.

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“I would like to reassure my constituents that I shall continue to represent their interests as their MP and to the grassroots members of our party.

“I promise that I will continue to advocate for independence, democratic reform of our party and open debate.”

Meanwhile, Glasgow SNP MSP James Dornan has said he will challenge a decision to “impose an all-women shortlist” on his constituency which prevents him seeking re-election.

The MSP for Glasgow Cathcart said in February that he would not be seeking re-election in the 2021 Holyrood contest but he changed his decision in July. understands that a decision during the meeting of the party’s ruling national executive committee was also taken to apply an all-women shortlists rule to the Cathcart seat because of Mr Dornan’s relatively late shift in position.

Writing on Twitter, Mr Dornan said he would be “challenging what I consider to be a decision based on a false premise” and added: “OK folks, last night the NEC voted to impose an all-women shortlist on the constituents of Glasgow Cathcart, the constituency I have served to the best of my ability for the last 10 years.

“Obviously I am challenging what I consider to be a decision based on a false premise. I consider myself to be the best candidate for this constituency, that I live in and grew up on.

“If anyone wishes to challenge me then they should have the courage to take me on, not try to manipulate others into doing their job for them. I intend to stand and will fight to do so.”

An SNP spokesman said of Ms Cherry’s circumstances: “The NEC backed an approach that will guarantee constituents a full-time commitment from day one, and minimise the disruption to voters.”

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