MSP James Dornan withdraws from SNP depute leader race

Glasgow Cathcart MSP James Dornan. Picture: John Devlin.
Glasgow Cathcart MSP James Dornan. Picture: John Devlin.
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The first candidate to stand in the SNP depute leader race has withdrawn from the contest.

Glasgow Cathcart MSP James Dornan said he has made the decision with “some regret” to enable him to devote time to launching a campaign to combat sectarianism.

The withdrawal leaves three candidates vying to become Nicola Sturgeon’s second in command - Cabinet Secretary Keith Brown, Inverclyde Council SNP leader Chris McEleny and party member Julie Hepburn, who has worked for a number of senior figures in the party.

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Mr Dornan said: “It’s with some regret that I’ve decided to stand down from the race for depute leader of the SNP.

“Over the last few weeks I’ve decided that I want to use whatever energy I have to fight the ongoing curse of sectarianism in Scottish society. I don’t believe I could do both and give them justice.

“I intend to begin to talk to all potential partners in a campaign to change Scotland’s culture towards sectarianism, just as it’s changed its culture towards racism, sexism and homophobia.”

The party is seeking a new depute leader after former MP Angus Robertson quit the role eight months after losing his seat in the 2017 general election.