ALYN Smith has thrown his hat into the ring to stand as a candidate for the SNP at the next General Election, which could be just weeks away.

The long-serving MEP hopes to retake the Stirling constituency for his party after the Tories won the seat by 148 votes in 2017.

Stirling’s Conservative MP Stephen Kerr campaigned to leave the EU in the 2016 referendum and has since been both a prominent defender of the Brexit strategies of both Theresa May and Boris Johnson.

His Leave-supporting position could put him at odds with most of his constituents in the city – 67% of whom backed Remain.

Kerr opposed a motion in the Commons on Tuesday night that would allow legislation to be brought forward to help stop the UK crashing out of the EU at the end of next month.

Smith has been a key figure on the Remain side. He was among the Scottish politicians behind a landmark legal case to the European Court of Justice (ECJ) which last December ruled that the UK can unilaterally revoke its decision to leave the EU.

He has received considerable praise across Europe for his attempts to fight Brexit, and for urging MEPs “to leave the light on for Scotland”.

Announcing his intention to stand as a SNP candidate Smith said: “People across the Stirling area are furious that their local MP has yet again put his party before their interests. The Tory-DUP alliance in the Commons no longer have a majority, and an early General Election is now inevitable, which will give local folk the chance to elect an SNP MP who will stand up to Boris Johnson and defend their interests.”

Nominations for the seat close at the end of September, after which branches in the city will hold hustings for the candidates.

It is understood the selection process will be speeded up if there is a General Election next month – as Johnson plans.

Meanwhile, former SNP Westminster leader Angus Robertson has indicted he will not be standing as a General Election candidate.

Robertson, who became a father in June, made the announcement on Twitter while giving his support to Laura Mitchell, who looks set to win the party’s nomination for his old seat of Moray.

The former MP lost his seat in 2017 to the Conservative Douglas Ross.

Robertson tweeted: “Will not be standing in the forthcoming Westminster election. Happily got my hands full with new baby girl and based in Edinburgh, but I wish @MorayLaura every success in regaining Moray for @theSNP.”

Speaking to the local newspaper, the Northern Scot, Robertson added: “Laura Mitchell will be an excellent SNP candidate and MP for Moray. She has huge experience of the issues that matter to people in Moray and will do everything that she can to protect jobs and the economy from a damaging No-Deal Brexit.

“I know Laura to be extremely hard-working and that she will give Moray her full-time commitment.”

Mitchell said: “I’m grateful to Angus for his support over the years I’ve known him and I hope to win back Moray for the SNP at the next General Election.”

Robertson has stepped away from frontline politics to focus on a media and diplomatic consultancy career.

He said: “I’m hugely honoured to have represented Moray for four terms and the best part of two decades and am appreciative for all the support and encouragement I have had over the years.

“The timing is not right for me or my family to run for public office at the moment.”

Robertson now lives in the Edinburgh Central Holyrood constituency of Ruth Davidson, who stood down last week as leader of the Scottish Conservatives. There has been speculation that he will seek to get the SNP nomination for that seat for the 2021 Holyrood elections.

It is also understood SNP MP Joanna Cherry, the party justice spokeswoman at Westminster, may also seek to be the party’s Holyrood candidate in Edinburgh Central.

Davidson had a majority of only 610 in 2016 and it is not clear if she will stand again at the next Scottish Parliament election.