GLASGOW MSP James Dornan admitted he was a relieved man yesterday after he was given a reprieve to stand again in next year’s Holyrood elections.

Dornan, who has been an SNP MSP for Glasgow Cathcart since 2011, had been told that he had to make way to allow for a candidate from an all-female shortlist to stand.

The SNP NEC had ruled that the party’s new policy, passed at conference, to replace departing MSPs with female candidates applied to him. That was despite Dornan having reversed his decision, taken in February, not to stand by declaring in July that he was now seeking re-election.

Dornan said: “The party had asked some MSPs about their future and to give their decision by March. I had said that I would be leaving but then Covid happened.

“A letter was then sent out that said there would be flexibility and that because of Covid things could be extended. People could reconsider their position.

“I then received a lot of encouraging words from people asking me to stay and decided that I would.”

Dornan challenged what he saw as a “crazy decision then by the NEC which was taken on a false premise” and yesterday he received the news which he had been waiting for.

SNP national secretary Angus MacLeod said: “I received concerns from James Dornan regarding the constitutional propriety of that decision and having reviewed these and made further enquiries it is my conclusion and determination as national secretary that the decision is unconstitutional.

“Glasgow Cathcart is now not a constituency where the incumbent SNP MSP is standing down.”

A delighted Dornan said: “I always believed they would overturn the decision. I am relieved it is all over. And I also feel a kind of satisfaction that I didn’t break any party rules which I knew I hadn’t.

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“I have taken comfort from the huge levels of support from people from my branch and I definitely feel stronger for that.”

He continued: “I think that what is sometimes forgotten is that politicians are real people in a job, very fortunate people to be in this job, but people all the same. And that’s despite how some people are in Westminster.

“Yes, politics is different and you lose your job because of an election but you shouldn’t lose your job, and four members of your staff, willy-nilly like this. All because of a decision that is made that isn’t constitutional.

“They knew that, the evidence was there. Perhaps they knew that Cathcart had been there and that was why they went ahead with the decision.

“But people should listen to what other people are saying. This is not what was put forward at conference.”

Dornan is glad that the saga has now been resolved in his favour and just as pleased to reassert his support for future all-women shortlists.

“It was never about that for me,” he said. “I supported the resolution at conference. Women are 52% of the population and representation should be balanced.

“And in all my time in politics I have worked closely with women groups and in particular victims of domestic abuse.

“I have done everything to support women’s groups.”

The 67-year-old veteran insists he bears no grudges against those who ruled against him. “No, that’s not me.

“This was more cock-up than conspiracy, and let’s move on. I’m not looking for anyone to lose their jobs over this or to apologise to me.

“If there’s one thing I know is that this will be forgotten about in time but it has been helpful in that it has allowed people to raise their concerns.”