Nicola Sturgeon crisis: Scot leader admits party disputes a massive ‘risk to SNP success’

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The First Minister said the SNP needs to “focus on what matters to people” ahead of next year’s election and put aside internal disputes stressing it would be a put off for voters. Ms Sturgeon claimed the SNP was in a “position of strength” going into the 2021 election but stressed that any trust from voters could be easily lost.


Speaking to BBC Scotland, she said: “The SNP is in a position of strength and we’ve got as a party to recognise that we don’t exist in some kind of bubble.

“Right now the majority of the people in the country we serve are worried about their health and they’re worried about their ability to pay their bills.

“Opinion polls would suggest they massively trust the SNP to lead them through that crisis.

“If they ever thought the SNP was turning away from that priority and focusing on its own agendas and engaging in infighting I’m sure they would pass a verdict on that.”

It comes after the decision was recently made that serving SNP MP’s would have to step down ahead of next year’s Scottish Parliament election to be able to stand on the SNP ticket for a Holyrood seat.

Party sources told the “new strategy” was “all about focussing” on constituents.

But the decision meant that Joanna Cherry, a serving MP, was unable to stand for the Edinburgh Central seat, which is currently held by former Scots Tory leader Ruth Davidson.

Meanwhile, the party was also forced to make a U-turn on a decision to bar sitting male SNP MSP James Dornan from seeking reelection in his Glasgow Cathcart seat and having an all-women shortlist for the party candidacy instead.

National party secretary Angus MacLeod ruled it was “unconstitutional”.

But SNP councillor Chris McEleney, who challenged Mr MacLeod for the party secretary job last year has urged him to resign stressing that some recent decisions were “tantamount to actions worthy of resignation.”

Mr McEleney, who serves on Inverclyde Council, said in a statement: “Thankfully the right outcome was achieved when the efforts to act unconstitutionally were met with widespread condemnation, but not by first grossly damaging efforts many people in the party have made to ensure that Scotland’s parliament better reflects the fact that 52 per cent of the population are female and this should be reflected in our elected representation.”

He added of Joanna Cherry’s situation: “However, the injustice of the situation in which members of Edinburgh Central have been denied their constitutional right to self-determine who should be their SNP candidate at the Scottish Parliament election prevails.

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“This is an outrage to all that hold the value of internal party democracy to a level of fundamental importance.

“It is apparent that the reported voting process is not constitutional.

“Further, it is for the democratically elected members of the NEC to propose actions such as a policy on dual mandates, and such a fundamental policy shift must be ratified by the conference of the party.

“It is concerning that the requirement to make such a decision, only a month away from selection contests was thrust upon the NEC by paid party staff.”

The party said it would not comment on internal party matters but said: “The NEC backed an approach that will guarantee constituents a full-time commitment from day one, and minimise the disruption to voters.”

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