SNP rules not to endorse sitting MP as general election candidate

Michelle ThomsonImage copyright
Business for Scotland

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Michelle Thomson has been sitting as an independent MP since withdrawing from the SNP whip

The SNP’s national executive has ruled not to endorse one of its sitting MPs as a candidate in the general election.

Michelle Thomson, who was elected as an SNP MP but is now an independent member, was summoned to a meeting of the party’s ruling body to be told she would not be selected.

She withdrew from the SNP whip last year amid an ongoing police investigation into property deals.

Ms Thomson said she was “very disappointed with the decision”.

And she confirmed that “after careful consideration” she had decided not to put herself forward for election.

‘No charges’

The Edinburgh West MP said: “Since September 2015 there have been reports concerning a solicitor I used some seven years ago.

“I have always made it clear that I have done nothing wrong and it is a matter of public record that it was the solicitor who was under investigation and not myself, that no charges have ever been brought and that I assisted PS on a purely voluntary basis.

“I must note that, even in political parties, the concept of natural justice must apply, as must the need for defined processes that are applied fairly, rigorously and transparently.

“I would advise the SNP to employ the services of an external body to help them develop a process as soon as possible.”

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SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon visited her MPs the day after the snap election was announced

She added: “I have been privileged to be the MP for Edinburgh West. After careful consideration I have decided not to stand again at this time and I would encourage all the political parties to avoid personal smears and instead focus on what people really want to hear about.

“I thank all those who have supported me, those who elected me, my family and my colleagues in Westminster who so vociferously and consistently spoke out on my behalf but to no avail.”

The UK goes to the polls on 8 June after Prime Minister Theresa May announced plans for a snap election, subsequently endorsed by MPs by 552 votes to 13.

The SNP’s 54 sitting MPs are expected to be endorsed as candidates.

A decision is also due to be made about the fate of Natalie McGarry who was elected as an SNP MP, but now sits as an independent member.

If she is not returned, the SNP will need to find five candidates, including three for the seats the party did not win in 2015.

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Natalie McGarry is yet to learn whether she will be endoresed

A number of party activists have already announced their intention to bid for the SNP ticket in the Glasgow East and Edinburgh West seats formerly occupied by the two women.

On Friday, the UK Labour party issued a call for prospective for parliamentary candidates over Twitter, inviting party members to apply with a deadline of noon on Sunday.

The Scottish party’s executive group is meeting over the weekend to agree their selection procedure, with leader Kezia Dugdale saying they were ready and had already been preparing for an election.

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David Mundell set out his stall against a second independence referendum, while Ian Murray said it with “JC4PM” cupcakes

The party’s sole MP north of the border, Ian Murray, launched his campaign to defend Edinburgh South on Friday. Scottish Secretary David Mundell then followed suit in Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale.

Representatives of other parties have started to declare their candidacies for various seats.

Tory MSP Douglas Ross, who was elected to Holyrood in 2016, has announced he will challenge SNP depute leader Angus Robertson in Moray.

And former Lib Dem MP Jo Swinson said she would seek a rematch with John Nicolson in East Dunbartonshire, two years after the SNP member ousted her from the seat.

The Lib Dems are operating all-female shortlists in a number of target seats, some of which – Edinburgh West included – may be decided over the weekend.

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