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Joanna Cherry intended to stand for the Edinburgh Central seat for Holyrood which is currently held by former Scottish Conservative Tory leader Ruth Davidson. Ms Cherry, an ally of Alex Salmond, however faced competition from the party’s former Westminster leader Angus Robertson and ex-SNP Edinburgh Central MSP Marco Biagi for party selection.
But following a recent 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.
Party sources told Express.co.uk the move was part of a “new strategy” about focussing on constituents.
Because of this, Ms Cherry, the Edinburgh South West MP, decided to pull out.
In response to an interview with economist Andrew Wilson in The Herald on Sunday, in which the strategist claimed Ms Cherry was beaten by Mr Robertson for the seat – Ms Cherry tweeted: “The selection rules were subject to an unprecedented change in a secret vote to hobble my candidacy.
“Mr Robertson is now in what it is to be hoped will be a fair selection with others including @MarcoGBiagi the former MSP & favourite of many local members.”
She added: “I sought to enter the selection competition to be @theSNP candidate to contest the EdinburghCentral seat currently held by the Tories.
“The constituency is where I’ve lived for last twenty years & been a branch member for 12 years.”
Ms Cherry also said Mr Wilson – described in the article as “the brains of the Yes movement” – attempted to “take the rest of us for fools”.
The Edinburgh South West MP said she hopes “outside interference will now stop” in the selection process for the constituency.
Concluding a thread of tweets on the issue, Ms Cherry said: “Facts matter.
“Ultimately the candidate will be chosen by local members & he or she will then fight for the seat.
“We have our online hustings this week & it is to be hoped that outside interference will now stop so that local democracy can take its course.”
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Miles Briggs, Scottish Conservative Chief Whip and Lothian MSP said: “The SNP are fighting like rats in a sack.
“It appears the needs of local residents have taken a back seat.”
The party previously was also forced to make a U-turn on a decision to bar sitting male SNP MSP James Dornan from seeking reelection in his Glasgow Cathcart seat and having an all-women shortlist for the party candidacy instead.
Despite all the internal wrangling, however, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said the SNP needs to be united in its approach ahead of next year’s Holyrood elections.
She said the SNP needs to “focus on what matters to people” ahead of next year’s election and put aside internal disputes stressing it would be a put off for voters.
The SNP has been approached for comment.
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