SNP MP Joanna Cherry has ruled out taking part in the race to succeed Nicola Sturgeon, saying the next leader must come from Holyrood, have ministerial experience and represent a “break from the past”.

The KC, who has been MP for Edinburgh South West since 2015, said the “gerrymandering” of rules for Holyrood selection had made it a “practical impossibility” for her to take part in the contest.

Her plan to stand for Ruth Davidson’s seat in the 2021 Scottish Parliament election did not go ahead after a rule change approved by the SNP’s governing body meant she would have had to resign as an MP first.

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Despite some commentators now tipping her as a “dark horse” in the leadership contest, Cherry confirmed she won’t be running for leader of the SNP “this time”.

Writing in The National, she hinted at who she would like to see take over from Sturgeon and said the new leader must be able to reach out across the independence movement.

She said: “Our next leader must be able to become First Minister and so she must come from within the current Holyrood contingent and it should be someone with at least some ministerial experience.

“I stand ready to give my support to the candidate who I believe is best placed to break with the past and to put together a team to deliver the root and branch change needed.

“That change must involve a recognition that independence will only be achieved by a team effort. The messianic leadership model has not worked.

“The new leader needs to reach out across the party and the movement and to adopt a more collegiate approach. If we are to go forward united to achieve our goal of independence, we need to face up to what has gone wrong and put it right.”

Cherry said the SNP’s first leadership election for nearly 20 years could be a turning point for the independence movement – but only if it can “honestly appraise where things have gone wrong”.

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She said she believed the party’s special conference planned for the 19 March should be postponed and that debate about the way forward for independence should now be part of the leadership election, along with other big issues such as the cost-of-living crisis, the economy, the NHS, ferries and bridging the attainment gap.

“Whoever wins must be allowed to develop her stance and vision in collaboration with a new team unfettered by the strategy adopted by the previous leadership,” she added.

She went on: “The reset which the SNP’s new leader and her team must achieve should extend beyond the independence strategy and government policy to reform of our internal party democracy and to reform of the democratic institutions of our parliament and civic society.

“Never again should our party be run by a small impenetrable cabal with the democratic choices of the party membership for NEC outvoted by members co-opted without a democratic mandate.”