LEADING lawyer Aamer Anwar has confirmed that he will not be standing for the SNP in Glasgow Central at next year’s General Election.
Reports in recent weeks had suggested that Mr Anwar, who recently joined the SNP, was contemplating standing for the Nationalists in the forthcoming election against former Scottish Labour deputy leader Anas Sarwar.
In a post on his website, Mr Anwar outlined his reasons for not seeking election, saying: “As some close political friends have said I might one day regret this but I believe at this moment the decision I make is the right one for me and my family.”
Mr Anwar has been a left-wing political activist for a number of years, but was not affiliated to any party until he joined the SNP following the referendum on Scottish independence.
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He said it had been a ‘real honour to be considered as worthy by so many to consider challenging Labour for the seat’, adding: “As one of the many thousands who recently joined the SNP, I was conscious that in over 25 years as a campaigner, with 14 of those as a lawyer my strength has been in never toeing a party line and speaking without fear or favour.
“I still have many legal commitments, clients as well as campaigns such as those of Mohammad Asghar who still remains on death row whom I cannot walk away from to fight an election or beyond.”
The human rights lawyer insisted that he was ‘not yet ready’ to give up on his legal career, adding: “Becoming a lawyer was a dream hard fought for which I am not yet ready to give up on.”
Describing it as a ‘difficult decision to reach’, Mr Anwar added: “I want to thank all those in the SNP, local constituencies and many individuals who have provided encouragement, support as well as nominations.”
Under current SNP rules, candidates must have been members of the party for at least 12 months before they can contest a seat.
However, at the party’s recent conference in Perth, delegates agreed to ‘explore options that would allow individuals who were part of the Yes campaign, but who do not satisfy the current membership criteria for candidates, to be considered for inclusion on the approved list of candidates’.
The proposed change to the rules would have paved the way for Mr Anwar, and many others, to contest seats at next year’s General Election.
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