RESPONSE TO OSAMA BHUTTA SUSPENSION OF HIS CAMPAIGN
I am very sorry to learn that my colleague, Osama Bhutta, has felt it necessary to suspend his nomination campaign.
I was approached to stand in the Cunninghame North constituency by a large number of SNP Party members who wished a positive nomination contest to take place. As an experienced parliamentariam that is committed to constitutional change I was pleased to accept the support of party members and their desire to choose a new, dynamic candidate to represent their interests.
I am deeply saddened to learn that Mr Bhutta has withdrawn due to the actions of one candidate seeking the nomination. I had looked forward to a respectful and positive selection process that placed the interests of the SNP membership as the priority. I have no doubt that the SNP will address the issues of conduct that have been identified and will ensure that a fair and friendly contest now takes place, with breaches of party selection rules by the incumbent candidate being appropriately addressed.
Along with Osama, I have echoed my concerns about the issues of conduct and behaviour to the SNP, and look forward to all parties now adopting a constructive, open and transparent approach to their nomination campaign that is respectful of all involved.
I respect and understand the decision by Mr Bhutta to suspend his campaign in protest, but it is not in my nature to accede in anyway to discriminatory, underhand or otherwise unacceptable behaviour.
Whilst I understand that sometimes individuals have to stand up and make an honourable stance, as Mr Bhutta has done, I am also acutely aware through my experience as a Member of Parliament at Westminster that the nature of the contemporary political environment requires diligent parliamentarians to be able to stand up for what is right and to lead with positive personal values when the conduct of others casts a shadow over political campaigns. I believe, as in this case, that a fair democratic process with members provides the opportunity to make their positive choice and to support the interests of the people of Scotland.
As a woman in politics, I have developed a robust attitude towards misogynistic, discriminatory and bullying behaviour and believe it should be called out. This type of behaviour cannot be tolerated especially if you want to see more women encouraged into politics.
I will continue my campaign and continue to seek the support of the membership of the SNP in Cunninghame North to take forward our common interest in fighting for our nation's independence.
I will leave it to others to reflect on their conduct. I am certain that the SNP will also wish to intervene and take all appropriate action to moderate the behaviour of others and to ensure that the high standards of conduct expected of all parliamentarians is upheld.
For my part, I will not be diverted from continuing my positive nomination campaign and I look forward to bringing a new and respectful politics to this constituency.
Potential SNP Candidate for Cunninghame North