DIRTY TRICKS' BLAMED IN RACE TO BE MP Cold; Paterson's name not on party's candidate list Paterson fails to win approval.
Byline: ALASTAIR MCNEILL
Efforts by ex-Stirling SNP MP Steven Paterson to win back the seat he lost appear to have been scuppered - by his own party.
Mr Paterson had told the Observer last Tuesday that he was on the party's list of vetted candidates entitled to put the names forward for nominations as candidates at a forthcoming General Election. It was part of a process which has been ongoing since 2017.
The former Stirling councillor said he would be seeking the endorsement of SNP members to be their candidate in the Stirling constituency in the contest to come.
But Mr Paterson's name does not appear on a list of 'approved potential candidates' for Westminster constituencies seen by the TURN TO PAGE 4 FROM PAGE 1 Observer.
Current MEP for Scotland Alyn Smith, who also declared last week that he is in the running to represent the party in Stirling, was on the list.
It is understood, however, that the party's vetting process for Westminster seats is still ongoing.
Nominations close at the end of September and voting will take place by Stirling SNP members thereafter. However, in the event of a snap general election the process could be brought forward.
Mr Paterson was elected Stirling MP in May 2015 with 23,783 votes, but lost to Conservative Stephen Kerr in the general election of June 2017, who polled 148 votes more than the SNP incumbent.
Mr Paterson this week said:"I fully expected to be on the latest iteration of this list which came out last week.The party has had over two years to complete this process and I have been repeatedly assured by them that this was in hand. However, I have now been promised that resolving this in the interests of fairness is an absolute priority."
Mr Paterson also described as "reprehensible"the leaking of the list to the newspaper and claimed it was an attempt"to try to damage my candidacy for the Stirling seat". He also alluded to a potential breach of data protection laws.
He added:"Sadly, it appears that dirty tricks are to be a feature of the race to be the next SNP candidate for the Stirling constituency, but I have 10 years'experience as a local representative in Stirling and intend to campaign daily to beat the CURRENTTORY MP. Be assured, I will not back down to this kind of gutter politics."
While MP, Mr Paterson had come under fire when it was revealed that he was the fifth highest UK MP for expenses claims in 2015/2016.The following financial year (2016/17), he claimed PS226,298.
An SNP headquarters spokesperson said this week that Stirling party members"will be glad to have [Mr Paterson's] clarification", adding: "The nomination and selection process continues in Stirling and last week's poll shows that theTories are on the run in that constituency."
Cold shouldered Former MP Steven Paterson not on latest list of vetted SNP candidates