Nicola Sturgeon forced to make U-turn over ‘ludicrous’ decision to change electoral rules

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James Dornan, who represents Glasgow Cathcart, announced in February he would not be standing for re-election in the 2021 Holyrood contest, but changed his mind in July. The MSP was elected in 2011 and was appointed as an SNP deputy whip in 2015.


However, learnt that the party’s ruling national executive committee (NEC) decided at a meeting on Thursday to apply an all-women shortlists rule to the Cathcart seat which was due to Mr Dornan’s relatively late shift in position.

All-women shortlists can be mandated by the party in any seat where the incumbent SNP MSP is standing down, this website understands.

However, speaking today, Mr Dornan said the party’s National Secretary has said an all-women shortlist will not apply in his constituency as it was “deemed unconstitutional”.

Taking to Twitter, Mr Dornan, said: “I know many will already be aware but today I’ve been informed that the decision made by NEC to make Glasgow Cathcart an all women shortlist has now been rescinded by the National Secretary as it was deemed unconstitutional.”


He added: “Clearly I’m delighted and want to thank the party for dealing with this ludicrous decision with such speed and efficiency.

“I can now concentrate on looking forward to putting myself forward for selection and will happily contest the selection against any and all challengers.”

Before the change, Mr Dornan said he would be “challenging what I consider to be a decision based on a false premise”.

He added when the original decision was made: “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.”

Scottish Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf tweeted he was “very pleased” the decision had been reversed.

He added: “James should be commended for the dignity with which he has handled the situation in the last 24 hours.”

It comes as Marco Biagi announced he plans to seek the nomination for Edinburgh Central, the seat he held between 2011 and 2016 against an SNP bigshot.

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Angus Robertson, who was deputy leader of the party until 2018, having lost his seat in the Commons at the 2017 general election, also plans to stand in the constituency and draws significant support from many SNP members.

Mr Biagi stood down from Holyrood for health reasons but said he has been persuaded to stand again.

Announcing his decision, Mr Biagi, said: “Edinburgh Central SNP needs a candidate who can bring members together; one who knows the constituency and its issues inside-out.

“Above all, we deserve a choice. Activists have been asking me to stand again for the seat I used to represent. I have now agreed to put my name forward.”

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