FORMER SNP MSP Jim Eadie is frontrunner to take on Labour’s sole Scottish MP Ian Murray in what will be one of the most closely-fought contests of the general election.
Edinburgh South was the only seat in Scotland to stay Labour when the Nationalists won 56 out of Scotland’s 59 Westminster seats two years ago. Mr Murray has said he is confident he can win again.
Mr Eadie represented the equivalent Holyrood constituency for five years before losing it to Labour at last year’s Scottish Parliament elections.
Now he is bidding to make a political comeback, aiming for a seat in the Commons.
His party’s national executive agreed at the weekend that candidates for seats without a sitting SNP MP would be chosen by business convener Derek Mackay after consultation with local members.
Others interested in standing in South are Doug Thomson, an SNP activist with a background in finance, and Lee-Anne Menzies, who works for SNP MSP Ash Denham.
During his time at Holyrood, Mr Eadie was parliamentary liaison officer for First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and also convener of the parliament’s infrastructure committee.
The Nationalists also need to find a new candidate for Edinburgh West after deciding it would not endorse Michelle Thomson, who won the seat for the party in 2015 but had to resign the whip after a scandal broke over her property deals.
Toni Giugliano, who stood unsuccessfully for the equivalent Holyrood seat last year, is said to be interested, as is disability campaigner Jamie Szymkowiak. Leith Walk SNP councillor Lewis Ritchie has also been mentioned.
The Evening News revealed on Saturday that former BBC journalist Christine Jardine is favourite to stand for the Lib Dems in Edinburgh West.
And businessman Mark Whittet has announced he will fight the seat for Scotland’s Independence Referendum Party, which he has set up. Labour has begun the process of selecting its candidates for the Capital. A party source said it was “unlikely” any of the party’s former MPs who lost in 2015 would be trying for re-election.
Labour’s Scottish executive committee agreed at the weekend that a seven-strong panel led by leader Kezia Dugdale will choose the candidate for each seat across Scotland. Around 150 people have applied to stand.
Meanwhile, the Tories have already chosen their candidates for all five city seats.
Lothian MSP Miles Briggs is to fight Edinburgh South West, the party’s top target seat in the Capital.
City Centre councillor Joanna Mowat considered going for Edinburgh South, but decided against it. The candidate there will now be Stephanie Smith, who is also standing for the council in Liberton/Gilmerton.
Businessman Iain McGill, who stood in Edinburgh North and Leith in 2010 and 2015 will fight the seat again.
Sandy Batho, who was Tory candidate in Edinburgh Western at last year’s Holyrood election and fought Linlithgow at the 2015 general election, will stand in Edinburgh West.
And Kate Mackie, who is a council candidate in Musselburgh, will stand in Edinburgh East.