SNP's Joanna Cherry claims bid for Edinburgh seat 'hobbled' by rule change

Joanna Cherry has said a rule change by the SNP’s national executive was designed to “hobble” her prospective candidacy for Edinburgh Central.
Joanna Cherry has said she was 'hobbled' by a rule change by the SNP's governing bodyJoanna Cherry has said she was 'hobbled' by a rule change by the SNP's governing body
Joanna Cherry has said she was 'hobbled' by a rule change by the SNP's governing body

Ms Cherry had hoped to challenge the former SNP leader in Westminster, Angus Robertson, for the candidacy for the SNP in the seat lost to Ruth Davidson in 2016.

However, a rule change by the SNP’s ruling body eant any Holyrood challenger would have to resign as an MP if they decided to run for a place in the Scottish Parliament.

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Ms Cherry then pulled out of the race, a decision that followed a bitter internal battle over who was best placed between Ms Cherry and Mr Robertson to take on the Scottish Conservatives.

Marco Biagi, the former MSP for the constituency, is now viewed as the most likely candidate to beat Mr Robertson.

Responding to claims she ‘lost’ the selection battle with Mr Robertson, Ms Cherry said that she was “hobbled” by the rule change.

The claim had appeared in an article in The Herald with Andrew Wilson, a former SNP MSP and one of the leading strategists for independence as well as the head of the prominent PR firm Charlotte Street Partners.

Ms Cherry said: “There’s a lot in this article with which to disagree. However, if seeking to be styled the “brains” of the Yes movement, it's best not to take the rest of us for fools. I did not get into a fight with Angus Robertson over a seat and lose.

“I sought to enter the selection competition to be the SNP candidate to contest the Edinburgh Central seat currently held by the Tories. The constituency is where I’ve lived for the last 20 years and been a branch member for 12 years

“The selection rules were subject to an unprecedented change in a secret vote to hobble my candidacy. Mr Robertson is now in what it is to be hoped will be a fair selection with others including Marco Biagi, the former MSP and favourite of many local members.

“Facts matter. Ultimately the candidate will be chosen by local members and he or she will then fight for the seat. We have our online hustings this week and it is to be hoped that outside interference will now stop so that local democracy can take its course."

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