Page last updated at 09:20 GMT, Wednesday, 8 July 2009 10:20 UK

SNP selects by-election hopeful

James Dornan
James Dornan is leader of the SNP Group on Glasgow City Council

The Scottish National Party has selected its candidate to fight the Glasgow North East by-election.

James Dornan, 56, is leader of the SNP group on Glasgow City Council and represents the Langside ward.

He will fight the seat vacated by Michael Martin after he stood down as Speaker of the House of Commons at the end of June.

No date has yet been set for the by-election which could be held as late as October or November.

Mr Martin became the first Speaker to be forced from office in 300 years following widespread public revulsion at the number of MPs who were seen to take advantage of the Commons' expenses rules.

Strong voice

His replacement, Conservative MP John Bercow, was appointed after a six-hour election process last week.

Mr Dornan, who has two grown-up children and two grandchildren, became leader of the SNP group in Glasgow following the election of John Mason as SNP MP for Glasgow East in 2008.

He said: "As the SNP candidate, I will give my full support to the fight to secure the Diageo jobs at Port Dundas in this constituency - just as I and other SNP members supported those in this community who fought hard to save Glasgow schools from Labour's axe.

"The people of Glasgow North East deserve a strong voice in Westminster that will stand up for them and speak out on the issues that matter in this constituency."

Labour claimed that Mr Dornan, a councillor in the south of the city, had no connection to the constituency and was the SNP's third choice candidate.

They said Grant Thoms withdrew suddenly three weeks ago and David Kerr, who had been widely tipped to be selected and had resigned his job with the BBC, was rejected by the selection committee.

Labour councillor Gerry Leonard said: "It is amazing the SNP went for someone with no experience of our area, and no obvious connection to this part of Glasgow.

"But it is even more surprising that the SNP didn't have a single local person willing to stand in the election.

"There is a strong view that our next MP should be a local person who genuinely understands our area."

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