SNP/Labour heavyweights set for Donside contest

A date has been announced for the Aberdeen Donside by-election. Picture: Johnston Press
A date has been announced for the Aberdeen Donside by-election. Picture: Johnston Press
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SNP list MSP Mark McDonald could be set to resign from the Scottish Parliament to after putting himseld forward as a candidate for the Aberdeen Donside by-election.

The news came as Holyrood’s Presiding Officer Tricia Marwick said that the by-election would take place on Thursday 20 June for Aberdeen Donside - a safe SNP seat.

Mr McDonald said that he would resign as a list MSP if he is selected as the SNP candidate for the constituency, that had been represented by the late Brian Adam.

Former parliamentary business minister Mr Adam, died last month after a long battle with cancer.

Mr McDonald was elected as an MSP in the SNP landslide victory of 2011, when he was number five on the party’s north east regional list.

However, he said he would resign his seat to contest the by-election if the SNP selects him next week as the candidate for Aberdeen Donside, which Mr Adam held with a majority of more than 7,000 over Labour in 2011.

Mr McDonald suggested that he was prepared to risk being out of parliament if he lost Aberdeen Donside after resigning as a list MSP.

He said: “I’d resign if selected, as it’s about demonstrating my commitment to the Aberdeen Donside Constituency, which is where I grew up and where I live.”

The electoral contest next month will be the first by-election of this parliament, with Labour set to be the main challenger to the SNP.

Mr McDonald’s spot as a regional north east MSP would be replaced by Christian Allard, who was next on the party’s list.

Meanwhile, Labour have selected Aberdeen city councillor Willie Young as the party’s candidate for the by-election.

Mr Young, who is secretary of the Aberdeen council Labour group, insisted that he could overturn the SNP’s majority of more than 7,000.

He said: “Brian Adam had a large personal vote and during my time on the council people have seen that I’m a doer.

“My job will be to win back Labour supporters who have gone over to the SNP.”

Labour is the largest party on Aberdeen City Council, with the two Westminster seats for the Granite City also held by the party.

Aberdeen North at Westminster is held by Labour’s Frank Doran, while Anne Begg represents Aberdeen South.