SNP selects former Lothian MSP as Dunfermline by-election candidate

Polling place, ballot box, council election
By-election: Voters will choose a new Dunfermline MSP next month.STV

The SNP has selected a former Lothian MSP as their candidate for the Dunfermline by-election.

Shirley-Anne Somerville, who was chosen from an all-woman, two-member shortlist, sat as a list MSP from 2007 until 2011. She is currently director of communities at Yes Scotland, the campaign for Scottish independence.

The by-election will be held on Thursday, October 24, following the resignation of independent MSP Bill Walker after he was convicted of domestic abuse against three ex-wives and a stepdaughter. Walker had won the seat for the SNP in 2011 but was expelled from the party after the allegations against him surfaced.

Ms Somerville was raised and educated in Kirkcaldy and lives with her husband and children in North Queensferry. The 39-year-old was unveiled on Monday night after defeating Fife councillor Karen Marjoram in a vote by the SNP Dunfermline constituency association.

Speaking after her selection meeting, Ms Somerville said: “I am honoured to be chosen as the SNP candidate for Dunfermline, and if elected pledge to be a strong local voice in the Scottish Parliament. Should I become be the new MSP for Dunfermline, I will vote to protect the people’s policies – the Council Tax freeze, free personal care for older citizens, no tuition fees for young Scots, free bus travel for the over-60s, and no bridge tolls across the Forth.

“Labour, Tory and Lib Dems all voted against the Budget which delivers these vital services that people in Dunfermline need and value – therefore, only a vote for the SNP in the by-election guarantees the people’s policies.

“The weekend Panelbase poll in the Sunday Times – which showed there is all to play for in the independence referendum – also put SNP support at the same exceptionally high level of 45% as in our 2011 election landslide - and Labour at the same low level they slumped to. I plan to speak to as many people in Dunfermline as possible over the next five weeks, and the SNP will be working extremely hard to win.”

Councillor Cara Hilton, who was elected to Fife Council in May 2012, was announced earlier on Monday as the Scottish Labour candidate for the contest.

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