29 March 2006

Moray By-Election

Today's newspapers are reporting that two sitting MSPs are to resign in order to fight the Moray By-Election. Richard Lochhead (SNP, NE Scotland) and Mary Scanlon (Con, Highlands and Islands) had been selected as their party's candidate for the Election in 2007, and will be bringing forward their battle to succeed the late Margaret Ewing by 12 months. Needless to say, only one of them (at most) can return to Holyrood as MSP for Moray. The other will be out of a job for at least 12 months.

Mary Scanlon will be replaced by David Petrie, who was third on the Tories' Regional List in 2003, and stood as their candidate in Argyll & Bute that year. If he wants re-election in 2007, he'll have to find another constituency, as Jamie McGrigor has been selected as the candidate for Argyll & Bute this time around.

Richard Lochhead should be replaced by Alasdair Allan, who was fourth on the SNP's North East Regional List in 2003 (Second and third place went to Brian Adam and Shona Robison, who won Constituencies). However, he's seeking to be the Party's candidate in the Western Isles in 2007, and may decide not to take up his seat should he be selected for this. If he isn't, however, he has a problem: the Number 1 spot on the NE Scotland list is almost certain to go to Alex Salmond, who will be the SNP candidate in Gordon, where Allan was the candidate in 2003. But if he does win the selection for the Western Isles, and passes up his chance at a seat now, then Maureen Watt, who was sixth on the List (Fifth place went to Andrew Welsh, who won Angus), will take Richard Lochhead's seat.

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