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Last Updated: Sunday, 14 December, 2003, 15:03 GMT
Former Nat's SSP 'defection'
Lloyd Quinan (left) and Scottish Socialist Party leader Tommy Sheridan
Lloyd Quinan (left) has joined Tommy Sheridan's Socialists
A former Scottish National Party MSP has defected to the Scottish Socialist Party.

Lloyd Quinan, 46, was the SNP's candidate against First Minister Jack McConnell in May's Scottish Parliament elections.

He had been a West of Scotland list member at Holyrood during the last parliamentary term but lost his seat.

Mr Quinan, who had an earlier career as a TV weatherman, formally joined Tommy Sheridan's party at a press conference on Sunday.

The SSP paints a vision of the kind of Scotland I want to see
Lloyd Quinan
Mr Quinan said he had decided to leave the SNP because it no longer represented his political beliefs.

Addressing the press conference at Glasgow City Chambers, he said: "The leadership of the SNP has let the party down over participation in the independence convention and over the crisis in the fishing industry.

"The Scottish Socialist Party is a progressive, developing party. It is internationalist, fights for equality and is socialist.

"The SSP paints a vision of the kind of Scotland I want to see. The SNP under the current leadership completely fails to do that.

'Cause turmoil'

"For the SNP to find itself reforming the devolution structure when it should be striking out for an independent self-ruled Scotland has been very difficult for me to deal with."

Mr Quinan joined the SNP in 1974 and was a critic of the UK's participation in the war in Iraq.

He visited the Middle East in April, 2002 and was refused entry to Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat's compound.

His actions were criticised by the Israeli Government.

Mr Sheridan said news of the SSP's new recruit would "cause turmoil" within SNP turmoils.

Mr Sheridan described devolution as a "Mickey Mouse parliament" with too few legislative powers to make a difference.

He said the SSP would fight to deliver an independent Scotland and in the mean time use the "limited" powers of the Scottish Parliament to change policy.

A spokesman for the SNP said Mr Quinan had been growing apart from the party for a number of years and his defection was not unexpected.

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