A FORMER SNP official who aimed to stand for the party at both Westminster and Holyrood elections has defected to Labour.

The Times reported that Doug Thomson, a businessman who is married to Holyrood magazine editor Mandy Rhodes, had quit the SNP and said he no longer backed independence.

He told that paper: “At the end of the day I am an optimist. I joined the SNP because at the time it projected real hope.

“That has been mainly replaced by grievance and a lack of vision and that doesn’t fit with how I see myself or indeed what I would wish for the country.”

Asked about independence specifically, he said: “That’s probably something that’s been weakening with me for a period of time and I suspect some of that was maybe during the first ministership of Nicola. We lost so much focus on our core values.”

Thomson had been convener of his SNP branch in Edinburgh and had bid to run for a parliamentary seat for the party on multiple occasions but was not selected. He had been backed to run in Edinburgh South by the now-First Minister Humza Yousaf.

A Scottish Labour source said they were eyeing Thomson up as a potential future MSP for their party.

Anas Sarwar is aiming to win power at Holyrood after the 2026 elections, with support from what he hopes will be a Labour government in London.

Thomson’s defection comes after Karl Rosie, a councillor in the Highlands, quit the SNP saying he had become “increasingly disillusioned” with how the party was approaching the constitutional question.

Responding to the news, Kate Forbes said: “Really sorry to see two valued members of SNP resign recently – @_KarlRosie a well respected, hardworking local councillor and Doug Thomson, one of the first faces I saw when I moved to SNP branch in Edinburgh in 2011.

“Their skills, work ethic and experience are a loss to the SNP.”

The SNP said they are “the only party with a positive vision for the future of Scotland — that is why time and time again the Scottish people put their trust in us”.

A spokesperson added: “Be it lifting 90,000 children out of poverty, supporting households through the Westminster cost of living crisis or backing Scottish businesses to drive growth, the SNP is delivering for Scotland.”