JAMES Dornan has been barred from standing in next year’s Holyrood election after the SNP’s governing body decided his constituency should have an all-female shortlist.

The Glasgow Cathcart MSP initially announced he would retire in March but changed his mind at the beginning of July, saying coronavirus had left him with “unfinished business”.

However, at a lengthy meeting of the SNP’s ruling NEC, it was decided that Dornan should not be a candidate for the seat, where the party are defending a majority of 9390.

Taking to Twitter, Dornan said: “Last night the NEC voted to impose an all women shortlist on the constituents of Glasgow Cathcart, the constituency I have served to the best of my ability for the last 10 years. Obviously, I am challenging what I consider to be a decision based on a false premise.

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“I consider myself to be the best candidate for this constituency, which I live in and grew up in. If anyone wishes to challenge me then they should have the courage to take me on, not try to manipulate others into doing their job for them. I intend to stand and will fight do so.”

In an email sent to local members – seen by The National – Dornan said “a small group of people in the branch” had been plotting against him.

He said: “I’ve been made aware of those who are making the phone calls but, for the sake of branch cohesion I do not wish to name them at this time.

“What I will say is it is sad to see that at least two of them have brought the underhand practices of their previous party into the SNP by misleading our members in an effort to get a potential candidate, one that they had previously contacted about standing when they thought I was retiring.

“This sort of behaviour, unfortunately, does not surprise me. For some time, it has been clear that there is a small clique in our branch who appear to believe that the branch should be moulded in their image.”