A SCOTTISH Nationalist councillor and former MP has been turned down

for re-selection as an SNP council candidate in Grampian Region.

Regional councillor Mr Hamish Watt, SNP MP for Banffshire from 1974 to

1979, has appealed against the surprise decision by his Moray

constituency group.

Mr Watt, chairman of Grampian's education committee, was originally

put forward by the Buckie branch for the Rathford-Lennox seat which he

has held for nearly six years.

Councillor Gordon McDonald, SNP group leader in the region, and the

convenor of Moray constituency, said the decision had been a proper one

and an appeal would be heard at national level in the near future.

Earlier this year, Councillor Watt refused to join a poll tax protest

walk-out at the region by Councillor McDonald and five other SNP


Mr Alan McKinney, SNP national organiser, said he could not comment on

the reasons for the constituency decision.

The SNP is also involved in an internal dispute at the other end of

the country.

Mr Stephen Norris, a Wigtown District councillor who contested the

Galloway and Upper Nithsdale seat for the party at the last General

Election, had his application to join the General Election candidates

list deferred by the party earlier this year.

His appeal against the decision has since been turned down. He said

yesterday that he believed the decision was linked to his comments on

the Scottish constitutional convention, urging the party to take part.

He also criticised the ''harsh'' way the SNP had presented its

policies and attacked its main opposition since the dramatic by-election

win by Jim Sillars in Govan.

He added: ''We were beginning to take on the mantle of a mature,

national party, but with the convention decision we are back at square