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Tuesday, 9 July, 2002, 17:12 GMT 18:12 UK
Maverick Margo will not stand for SNP
Margo MacDonald graphic
Maverick MSP Margo MacDonald has confirmed she will not stand for the Scottish National Party at the 2003 Holyrood elections.

Ms MacDonald said she had been left disenchanted by the "tittle tattle" which surrounded the party's selection process.

She was effectively deselected when she was chosen as the party's candidate for the Edinburgh South constituency and placed fifth on the Lothians regional list.

However, the MSP said she had no immediate plans to resign from the SNP.


I decided against committing my energy and attention to internal party politicking

Margo MacDonald

She is still to make up her mind about whether or not she would stand next year as an independent or on another party ticket.

Ms MacDonald said: "I don't feel bitter. I feel sad that I won't be the candidate for Edinburgh South because I love Edinburgh South and I was so chuffed to be the candidate.

"I'm really sorry about that, but I've got to be realistic. I don't have the credibility as the SNP candidate that I had the last time around, when I had the obvious support of the constituency party."

'Not the best candidate'

She said she decided to announce her decision on Tuesday because the Edinburgh South constituency organisation was due to hold a meeting on Wednesday to draw up plans for next year's elections.

Ms MacDonald said she had taken the decision because two branches of the SNP's Edinburgh South Constituency Association had refused to back her when the rankings for the Lothian list were decided last month.

Billboard showing the new parliament building
Ms MacDonald was a critic of the new Holyrood building

As a result, Ms MacDonald saw her ranking slip from first to fifth place, harming her chances of being re-elected as an MSP next year.

She said: "I have been MSP for the area for the last three years and therefore presumably I was judged on my track record and found wanting.

"Therefore presumably I am not the best candidate to represent the SNP in that constituency."

She also repeated her belief that she had been the victim of a concerted campaign dating back several months which was aimed at ensuring she could not be re-elected.

'Party will be sad'

She added: "I decided against committing my energy and attention to internal party politicking.

"My record of work as an MSP provided a more valid measurement for SNP members to either endorse or reject me for a high list ranking than the tittle-tattle which pre-occupied some supporters of other candidates."

SNP deputy leader Roseanna Cunningham said the party would be disappointed by Ms MacDonald's decision not to stand.

John Swinney
She has not seen eye-to-eye with John Swinney

She told BBC Scotland: "I know that the party will be sad that she has gone, but it isn't going to divert them from the work that needs to be done and she's not leaving the SNP, she's deciding not to be a candidate."

Ms MacDonald insisted she would be "saying nothing more" on her future intentions until after the summer and confessed that she had no idea whether she would still be an MSP after the next election.

Ms MacDonald said she had not spoken to SNP leader John Swinney about her decision but did not expect to be disciplined for her move.

She admitted that the row surrounding her candidacy had been "distracting" for her other campaigns, which include the rising cost of the new Holyrood building.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
Kirsten Campbell reports
"She feels her position has been undermined"
See also:

18 Jun 02 | Scotland
18 Jun 02 | Scotland
26 Apr 02 | Scotland
15 Jun 00 | Scotland
22 Sep 99 | Scotland
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