Michelle Thomson Will Step Down As An MP After The SNP Ruled She Can't Stand For Them
Exclusive: In a statement to BuzzFeed News, the MP for Edinburgh West said she has been left "very disappointed" by the SNP's decision.
The Scottish MP Michelle Thomson, who was elected as an SNP MP in 2015 before losing the party whip, has confirmed to BuzzFeed News that she will be standing down as an MP at the general election.
The SNP's ruling body, the NEC, told Thomson on Saturday morning that she will not be able to stand for the party. In a statement to BuzzFeed News, Thomson said she was "very disappointed" by the decision.
Thomson denied any wrongdoing but voluntarily resigned as an SNP member and withdrew from the party whip in September 2015 after the police began investigating property deals carried out by her former solicitor.
In her statement, Thomson said she has been the victim of "sustained personal attacks" since she resigned the party whip, and confirmed that she will not be standing as an independent candidate.
BuzzFeed News understands the decision on who will replace Thomson as the SNP's candidate in Edinburgh West will be made in consultation with local members over the coming days.
The Edinburgh West seat has been highlighted as one of three primary target seats by the Scottish Liberal Democrats in the general election.
Below is Thomson's statement in full:
"At 1026 thIs mornIng (Saturday 22nd April) I was called from the ongoIng SNP NEC meetIng to be told a selection process for Edinburgh West would happen and that I would not be eligible to stand for selection. I am very disappointed with the decisions of the SNP. I am grateful to both elected officials and local branch members who contacted me In recent days to say they had lobbied the NEC on my behalf.
"Since I was elected 2 years ago I have been subjected to sustained personal attacks, starting with the malicious addition of an old email address to the dating website 'Ashley Madison'. At the time I escalated it to Police Scotland and I thank them for their investigation. It's a pity that those in the press who knew this failed to report it nor note any of the (male) public figures who were genuine additions to the database.
"Since September 2015 there have been reports concerning a solicitor I used some 7 years ago. I have always made it clear that I have done nothing wrong and it is a matter of public record that it was the solicitor who was under investigation and not myself, that no charges have ever been brought and that I assisted PS on a purely voluntary basis. No criticism of the time taken by my fellow public servants within Police Scotland and the Procurator Fiscal can be made and I anticipate they are subject to similar restraints as other public services. I have been impressed by their professional and courteous manner and I have taken the view that the matter must be allowed to run its course. As such I shall not comment further at this time.
'"I must note that, even in political parties the concept of natural justice must apply, as must the need for defined processes that are applied fairly, rigorously and transparently. I would advise the SNP to employ the services of an external body to help them develop a process as soon as possible.
"I have been proud of what I have achieved in the past 2 years despite the above events. Highlights from my work on the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Select Committee include a key role in encouraging Sir Philip Green to do the right thing for BHS pensioners, the continued focus on Sports Direct working practices and the recommendation for women to be represented equally in all FTSE 350 companies by 2020. The work to make banking fairer for SME's will continue and I summoned the courage to speak out about being raped at the age of 14. Most importantly my office has supported many, many constituents and I thank my team for their efforts.
"I have been privileged to be the MP for Edinburgh West. After careful consideration I have decided not to stand again at this time and I would encourage all the political parties to avoid personal smears and instead focus on what people really want to hear about.
"I thank all those who have supported me, those who elected me, my family and my colleagues in Westminster who so vociferously and consistently spoke out on my behalf but to no avail."