By Judith Duffy in The National
A FORMER SNP European election candidate is aiming to take on ex-Scottish Tory leader Jackson Carlaw in the 2021 Holyrood election.
Alex Kerr, one of six SNP candidates for the 2019 European Election, has announced his intention to seek nomination for Eastwood – and vowed to become the constituency’s first SNP MSP if he is selected.
Carlaw has a majority of just over 1600 in the seat, which he won from Labour in 2016.
But Kerr said the people of Eastwood have been “badly let down” by the Tories.
“And while the Tory party drag us ever closer to a reckless no-deal Brexit against our will where is Jackson Carlaw?
“Instead of fighting for what is best for his constituents he has been taking his marching orders directly from Boris Johnson and Dominic Cummings.
“Jackson knows how damaging any Brexit will be for the people of Eastwood and yet he changed his favoured position from remaining in the EU to Brexit at any costs following pressure from his London bosses.
“The people of Eastwood deserve so much better than this. The Tories have already ditched Jackson as a leader – constituents in Eastwood will get their own chance to ditch him at the upcoming election.”
Kerr said the SNP is now the “party of Scotland” and it could win even in areas not traditionally viewed as SNP heartlands.
He said he had years of experience as an activist and working for MSPs which would help in the challenge of becoming Eastwood’s first SNP MSP and “making a real difference to constituents”.
He also pledged that independence will be placed at the “front and centre” of the campaign.
“An independent Scotland in Europe presents a lifeboat from the kind of Boris-backed no-deal Brexit which will see chlorinated chicken on our supermarket shelves,” he said.
East Renfrewshire recorded the highest support for Remain of any part of Scotland in the EU referendum, with nearly three-quarters – 74.3% – voting to stay in the EU.
Carlaw quit suddenly as leader of his party last month after just six months in the job, saying he had come to the “painful conclusion” that he was not the best person to lead the case for Scotland remaining in the UK ahead of next year’s Holyrood election.
He claimed he had come to the conclusion that a “younger and fresher voice” was needed.
He added: “Nothing is more important to me than making the case for Scotland’s place in the United Kingdom.
“I believe the Scottish Conservative and Unionist party is the most important voice in Scotland for setting out that positive argument. I am clear that nothing must get in the way of doing so.”
However it later emerged his resignation had come after a secret meeting between new Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross – who was elected unopposed – and former party leader Ruth Davidson. Ross declined to say what was discussed.
Carlaw intends to stand again for his Eastwood seat next year.