JUSTICE Secretary Humza Yousaf has criticised the SNP for putting up an all-white roster of candidates for the next Westminster election.

Writing in The National, the Glasgow MSP said he was saddened by the lack of diversity among the parliamentary hopefuls.

Yousaf’s article comes ahead a motion on improving representation at the SNP conference in Aberdeen this afternoon.

It calls for the party’s governing NEC to investigate whether “selection process can be modified to improve representation with a specific focus on the use of reserved political positions on regional lists for the next Holyrood election”.

In today’s paper, Yousaf writes: “With almost all candidates from the SNP selected for a snap General Election, it saddens me to say that there is not one ethnic minority amongst them – that is not good enough.

“I am tired of just talking about encouraging more diverse candidates to come forward. “ “There has to be a forensic examination of our processes as a Party to ensure there are no structural barriers in the way for Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic people, particularly women, who want to participate in the front line of our politics.”

READ MORE: This is why the SNP urgently needs to take action on diversity

The party has so far selected 57 of their 59 candidates, but this paper can reveal that of the 105 potential candidates on the approved list, just two are from BAME backgrounds.

One of those, final year politics and law student Sameeha Rehman, was knocked back in her bid to become the candidate for Coatbridge, Chryston and Bellshill.

She said Yousaf’s comments stuck a chord.

“When the party first announced that they were going through the vetting process and they were going to get the candidates sorted they sent out a full strategy saying they were committed to equality, committed to getting more women, committed to get more diverse candidates.

“I think it’s disappointing. They haven’t actually done what they set out to do.”

She added: “The party needs to accept that if they continue to use middle-aged white men to shape their equality strategy, then the only result will be middle-aged white men, and ultimately no equality.”

Rehman said the party’s processes needed reform.

She told The National: “I applied for vetting in March, I didn’t get called until two weeks ago. “ Rehman said she only found out the night before the ballot was coming that she’d actually passed and would be fighting for the candidacy.

She called for a reform of the processes and urged the party bosses to be more proactive.

“I’ve been a member since May of 2014, I’m 20 years old. I’ve been a member since I was 15. I’ve always been active, I’ve always been active in campaigns. I’ve always put myself forward for branch positions.

“They could always have come to me and said do you want a helping hand? We’re committed to having more diverse candidates, is there any bias that you’re facing is there anything that we can do?

“They’re not having that conversation with people and I think that’s what needs to happen with anybody who has an interest.”

Over the weekend, the party were criticised for their lack of female Westminster candidates.

Despite signing up to the Women’s 50:50 pledge, just a third of candidates are female.

Kirsten Oswald, the SNP’s business convener, said: “Everyone was disappointed by the lack of diversity in the candidates selected. We look forward to the debate and recognise that there is always more we can do to improve diversity and representation amongst our candidates.”