Unlikely rebel is set to lead the charge against softening SNP party line
DAVE Thompson was one of the first senior SNP figures to make clear his opposition to the move to change the party’s stance against Nato membership.
Mr Thompson, by pledging to put his name on any attempt to block the policy shift, will be seen by many rank and file activists as helping to lead the charge against a softening of the SNP’s position ahead of the 2014 independence referendum.
However, the MSP for the constituency of Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch is one of the party’s more unlikely rebels and is normally as loyal as most others in the tightly disciplined SNP group at Holyrood.
A council officer by profession, Mr Thompson, 62, was previously best known for being the last MSP to be elected in 2007, giving the SNP its one-seat lead over Labour that saw Alex Salmond installed as First Minister.
The result came after he demanded a recount of the Highlands and Islands list ballot, which had given Labour four MSPs and the SNP none. The final result saw Labour get three, the Conservatives two and the SNP two.
With the SNP just two seats ahead, the results of the election hung on which final seven MSPs would be elected from the Highlands and Islands.
The returning officer was about to announce that Labour had won four list seats – which would have given them overall victory – but in dramatic scenes, Mr Thompson stepped in to challenge the figures.
Officials conducted a hasty recount and returned with a new set of results, which saw the SNP become Holyrood’s largest party, with a total of 47 seats to Labour’s 46 – making Mr Thompson, who joined the SNP at the age of 16, an election hero for his party.
However, despite this positive history, , Mr Thompson’s longstanding and active membership of the anti-Nato Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, or CND, has set him on a collision course with his party’s leadership.
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