SNP MSP James Dornan will be allowed to stand for re-election after the party's National Executive Committee (NEC) went back on its decision to impose a women-only shortlist on his constituency.

Dornan, who has been the MSP for Glasgow Cathcart since 2011, told The National he was not surprised by the development as "the decision was so ridiculous that they had no choice once they had another look" but to reverse it. 

He added that the original decision "flew in the face of what the conference resolution had said".

Angus MacLeod, the SNP's national secretary, labelled the original decision to exclude Dornan "unconstitutional".

In a message shared online by Angus MacNeil, the MP for Na h-Eileanan an Iar, MacLeod wrote: "The conditions whereby an All Women Shortlist can be considered by NEC, as mandated by conference, are now no longer met in that Glasgow Cathcart is now not a constituency 'where the incumbent SNP MSP is standing down'.

"On that basis, Glasgow Cathcart is an open contest going forward."

READ MORE: Kevin McKenna: This was a vendetta against Joanna Cherry

The decision to exclude Dornan came after he announced his retirement from Holyrood in February, only to change his mind at the beginning of last month. 

The NEC yesterday ruled that the constituency must have a women-only shortlist as the incumbent MSP was standing down, even though he wished to change his mind. 

Dornan said: "It was obvious that that wasn’t what the resolution was saying, and I’m glad now that I can get on with representing my constituents."

Asked if he was happy to be back in an "open contest", he said: “That’s the way of it. They all have open contests and it’s up to others to decide if they want to stand against me.

“I’m not even confident that I will win the nomination," Dornan said, adding that he hoped the hard work he has put in, and support he has had over the last ten years will translate into him retaining his position as an MSP.

READ MORE: Cherry won't be seeking Edinburgh Central nomination after party change rules​

MacNeil shared MacLeod's message on Twitter saying: "Good.. the first back peddle", stoking speculation that the NEC may also reverse their decision to block Joanna Cherry from standing for Edinburgh Central's Holyrood seat.

However, Dornan said that the two cases are "not connected in any way" and that he couldn't comment on whether the NEC will reverse the decision affecting Cherry. 

Writing in The National today, Kevin McKenna called the NEC's decision on Cherry "the culmination of a two-year vendetta against her".

Yesterday, 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.”