SNP members vote on Linlithgow and Bo’ness election candidate

Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh (right) and former SNP MP Winnie Ewing during last year's European election campaign. Picture: Allan Milligan
Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh (right) and former SNP MP Winnie Ewing during last year's European election campaign. Picture: Allan Milligan

A long-serving councillor, a chartered accountant and a journalist are among those hoping to be chosen as SNP candidate for Linlithgow and Bo’ness at the General Election.

Party members in the Linlithgow and East Falkirk constituency are expected to be issued with ballot papers on January 14 with a winner being declared by February 4.

Among those in the running are Councillor Martyn Day, who has represented Linlithgow on West Lothian Council for the past 15 years, and Liam Furby, a 27-year-old SNP parliamentary researcher from Shieldhill.

Glasgow-based lawyer Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh is also on the ballot, despite already throwing her hat in the ring in the Falkirk constituency.

It is standard practice for some SNP candidates put themselves forward in several areas in the hope of securing a winnable seat.

Ms Ahmed-Sheikh is highly rated by party bosses and narrowly failed in a bid to become an MEP last year.

The chosen candidate in Linlithgow and East Falkirk will face long-serving Labour MP Michael Connarty, who was unanimously reselected by local branch members last year, in the ballot on May 7. The Conservatives and Liberal Democrats have yet to select a candidate.

The seat is ranked the 12th on a list of SNP target seats in Scotland.

The seven people hopeful of securing the party’s nomination are:

Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh. A lawyer, newspaper columnist and former SNP candidate in the European elections in 2014. She stood as a Conservative candidate in the 1999 Scottish Parliamentary elections.

William Boyle (59). An SNP councillor for Bathgate.

Martyn Day (43). A long standing West Lothian councillor and veteran SNP and community campaigner from Linlithgow.

Liam Furby (27). An SNP researcher raised in Polmont and now living in Shieldhill. He previously worked at the Department for Work and Pensions as a Pension Credit advisor, and was the first in his family to go to university, graduating with a law degree.

Maggie Lennon. Director of the Glasgow-based Bridges Programme, an organisation which helps people get people back into work and helps refugees, migrants and employers in Glasgow and the West of Scotland.

John Nicolson. A Glaswegian and university debating champion, he began his career as a speechwriter in the US Senate, returning to Glasgow to present the BBC’s youth affairs programme ‘Open to Question.’ He has since reported for, and presented programmes including ‘Newsnight’, ‘Panorama’, ‘Watchdog’, ‘Public Eye’, ‘BBC Breakfast’, and ‘News 24.’

Paul Wedlock. A chartered accountant and charity campaigner from Bathgate.

Kenny Anderson, convener of the SNP Linlithgow and East Falkirk campaign committee, said: “I am delighted at the strength of the candidates who have decided to stand for the constituency. We have experienced members as well as members who have recently joined; we have strong local candidates as well as candidates with a national and international profile. It shows the considerable strength of the SNP, our pool of talent, and the popularity of our local area as a great place to represent in Westminster.”

The Westminster election is viewed as the most unpredictable in 40 years with no party expected to win an overall majority.