BREXIT has changed the landscape of UK politics for good. The SNP were at the forefront of the battle to save Scotland and the whole of the UK from Brexit. I believe that was the right thing to do and I was proud to play a leading role. But that battle has been lost.

Although the SNP scored an emphatic win in GE2019, we did not succeed in locking Boris out of Downing Street. With a large Tory majority across England, the UK is now set firmly on a hard Tory agenda for the next decade. Scottish interests are ignored or ridiculed at Westminster. The movement for Scotland to be an independent European nation can only be realised from Holyrood.

It is against this backdrop that I have confirmed that I will take part in the selection process to be the SNP candidate for the Holyrood seat of Edinburgh Central. I want to offer my services where I think they will be of most use. I am grateful to the branch members in my home branch of Edinburgh Central where I have been a member for over a decade and those in Edinburgh South West who have encouraged me to run and for the supportive messages and encouragement I have had since.

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Competition for candidacy is a healthy part of our democracy and our party. Just as no one questions that it is good for our democracy to debate ideas, so it is good for the SNP to do so and many party members are keen to have more of the sort of stimulating debates which took place at the National Assemblies. That type of open facilitated discussion and debate are key to how we take our country forward and that is why I championed Citizens Assemblies.

Meantime fellow Scots who were worried about Scotland leaving the EU in 2014 and who understandably hoped that a future UK Labour Government would return the whole of the UK to a fairer path can now see that the UK wasn’t the safe bet that Better Together painted. Hopes of a Labour revival have been extinguished. Stopping Brexit and causing a reverse of Boris Johnson’s right-wing populism at GE2019 was their last hope. I believe that the cross party working I employed to good effect in halting Boris Johnson’s unlawful prorogation can now be employed to build bridges to those now open to be convinced of the case for independence.

The National: Boris Johnson

In my daily work as a constituency MP, I see the unfairness caused by Scotland’s inability to set our own policies over immigration and employment and to tackle the benefits system as a whole. Edinburgh Central overlaps a considerable part of my Westminster seat, including Gorgie, Dalry, Haymarket, Fountainbridge and part of Bruntsfield/Tollcross. Since the SNP lost the Holyrood seat to the Tories in 2016, the workload for me and my team has increased because Ruth Davidson is largely absent from the constituency, does not hold surgeries or provide the kind of help and support that I do.

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My weekly surgeries and my mailbox are full of people who have concerns which their MSP should be addressing at Holyrood. So over this time, I have built up a knowledge of devolved issues. Access to good quality affordable housing is a major issue we deal with. The spread of Airbnb and its distortions of the rental market are very serious in Edinburgh Central, so I was happy to lend my support along with fellow MPs and MSPs lobbying the Scottish Government for more powers to tackle this problem. I am pleased these powers are now being introduced. I will be at the St Bride’s Centre on March 19 to hear more about how the City Council will use them. I would encourage others to go along to their local drop-in, four are planned so far.

Unlike Ms Davidson, I have proved that it is possible to have a high profile on the national stage while also working hard in the constituency. My victories over the Tories in the 2017 and 2019 General Elections are testament to my reputation as a hard worker who gets things done. My seat was one of the top Tory targets in 2017, yet I held on through hard work and bucked the national trend with a majority of 1097. At last year’s election I increased that majority to nearly 12,000. These victories would not have been possible without a fantastic ground campaign by activists from across the city. I was proud to join them on the ground and I am known as a candidate who leads from the front and knocks doors along with her team.

Nominations don’t open until April 3, and we won’t have the final list of candidates for Edinburgh Central until May 15. I am looking forward to positively debating the issues with my fellow candidates and the membership once the contest begins. The SNP members living in Edinburgh Central will choose their candidate based on the ideas put forward, and their work and campaigning record – not on personalities, and that’s as it should be.