Kerevan throws his hat in the ring for Holyrood

FORMER SNP Westminster candidate George Kerevan is to throw his hat in the ring for a seat in the Scottish Parliament.

The former Scotsman associate editor failed in his bid to take Edinburgh East from Labour at last month's general election.

But now he hopes to become the SNP's candidate for the new seat of Midlothian North & Musselburgh at next year's Holyrood elections.

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He is expected to face an internal contest against two Midlothian councillors, Owen Thompson and Colin Beattie, for the nomination.

Midlothian MSP Rhona Brankin is expected to be Labour's candidate

The new seat includes Musselburgh, Dalkeith, Lasswade, Bonnyrigg and Loanhead.

Mr Kerevan said one of the key issues at the election next May would be the area's economic situation.

He said: "The peripheral parts of the Edinburgh regional economy are being squeezed very badly. The smaller towns are being hammered."

Edinburgh East had been one of the SNP's target seats at the general election, but Mr Kerevan lost to Sheila Gilmore, who was elected with an increased Labour majority of 9,181.

However, he argued, last month's results could not be used as a guide to what would happen in the Holyrood elections.

"It will be a different ball game from the general election, where people felt Labour was the best option at UK level against the Tories.

"This will be much more a direct Labour-SNP fight across Scotland."