High-profile MP Joanna Cherry will defend Edinburgh's most marginal seat

SNP justice spokeswoman Joanna Cherry saw majority fall last time

Wednesday, 30th October 2019, 6:00 am
Updated Wednesday, 30th October 2019, 8:36 am
Joanna Cherry won a landmark ruling against Boris Johnson in the Supreme Court

JOANNA Cherry’s Edinburgh South West seat is the most marginal in the Capital.

The SNP’s Westminster justice spokeswoman had her 2015 majority of 8135 over Labour in this seat once held by Alistair Darling cut to one of just 1097 over the Tories in 2017.

Ms Cherry’s already-high profile was boosted further with her Supreme Court victory in getting Boris Johnson’s prorogation of parliament declared unlawful.

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Pentland Hills councillor Susan Webber is tipped to be Tory candidate

And with the SNP riding high in the polls it would be a major upset if she were to lose the seat. But it will nevertheless be the Tories’ top target in the city.

The Conservatives have not yet chosen their candidate, but MSP Miles Briggs, who fought the seat last time, is not standing and Pentland Hills councillor Susan Webber, bottom, is tipped for the role. Political opponents acknowledge she has a high profile on local issues and would be an obvious choice.

Labour is fielding first-time candidate and care worker Frances Hoole, right, who says she will campaign on being pro-Uk and pro-EU. “The majority of people in the constituency support remaining in both,” she said.

The Liberal Democrat candidate will be Tom Inglis, who works in technology and leads a bus campaign to better connect residents in Pentland Hills ward to Livingston and South Gyle.

First-time candidate Frances Hoole is fighting the seat for Labour

And the Greens are standing Ben Parker, current Co-convenor of Edinburgh Greens. He is a volunteer co-ordinator for a Scotland-wide disability housing charity and shop manager for a Fairtrade shop.

The Tories will present themselves as the rallying point for pro-UK anti-independence voters, hoping Labour supporters will switch to them as the best hope of defeating the SNP.

But Ms Hoole argues Scottish Tories have gone against public opinion in “getting into bed” with Boris Johnson.

And the Nationalists say the ploy of uniting the unionist vote was tried at the last election and it failed to oust Ms Cherry.

However, the Greens’ decision to put up a candidate will almost certainly take votes from the SNP.

Opponents will argue Ms Cherry has focussed heavily on a national agenda.

But Ms Cherry said: “I have worked consistently hard since the Tories’ last snap general election to champion the wishes of the overwhelming majority of my constituents to remain in the EU and to uphold democracy.

“Whilst no one is relishing a general election before Christmas it is crucial we use this opportunity to vote out this disastrous and callous Tory government and elect strong SNP voices who will stand up for Scotland and our place as equal partners with our friends and neighbours across Europe.”