Joanna Cherry and Angus Robertson set for battle to run for SNP in Edinburgh Central

Fight over Nationalists' most winnable seat in the Capital

Thursday, 20th February 2020, 7:35 am
Joanna Cherry is the SNP's home affairs spokeswoman at Westminster
Joanna Cherry is the SNP's home affairs spokeswoman at Westminster

A CONTEST looks likely between two of the SNP’s most powerful figures over who becomes candidate in the SNP’s most winnable seat in the Capital.

Joanna Cherry, the party’s home affairs spokeswoman at Westminster, sent a strong signal she could bid to stand in Edinburgh Central at next year’s Holyrood elections just hours after former Westminster SNP leader Angus Robertson used his column in the Evening New to announce he would be seeking the nomination.

Ms Cherry, who led the successful Supreme Court legal action against Boris Johnson’s prorogation of parliament, said: “Edinburgh Central is my home branch, I have been a member there since 2008, and there is a substantial overlap with my Edinburgh South West constituency.

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Angus Robertson was leader of the SNP group at Westminster

“Several fellow branch members have approached me and encouraged me to put my hat into the ring.

“It is only right that I give these requests serious consideration and speak with my local branches in Central and South West.

“There will undoubtedly be a strong contest for the selection and that shows the breadth of talent in the party.”

Ms Cherry was re-elected as MP for Edinburgh South West in December with an increased majority of 11,982. But friends said it would be perfectly possible for her to combine the roles of MP and MSP.

Edinburgh Central’s current MSP is former Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson, who has been tipped for a seat in the House of Lords.

Mr Robertson, a key figure behind the SNP’s Holyrood victoris in 2007 and 2011, declared his intentions, saying Central needed a full-time MSP.

Alison Dickie, SNP councillor for Southside/Newington, stood in Central at the last election in 2016, said people had been encouraging her to seek the nomination again.

“When the Scottish Parliament process opens that’s a decision to be made,” she said. “I would probably like to stand again.”

But she said she would also encourage other people to throw their hat in the ring. “I think service to local people is what really matters and there are many people I can think of who can do that.”

An Edinburgh Central SNP source said local party members were hoping Ms Cherry would put her name forward.

“It’s in everybody’s interests not to have a coronation. There are likely to be a number of candidates. I think it’s going to be an interesting selection contest.”

Lothian Tory MSP Miles Briggs said: “For voters in Edinburgh Central in 2021 the choice will be clear between moving Scotland forward from the divisions of the last 13 years or another independence obsessed SNP MSP.

Edinburgh Central Labour candidate Maddy Kirkman said: “Voters are being told they have a choice: stick with the Tories who have let this constituency down since 2016 or turn back to the SNP who have been letting Scotland down since 2011. Luckily, there is a third option which offers real hope, and that’s Scottish Labour.”