THE SNP's legion of new members is to be allowed to vote on forthcoming candidate selections for the General Election campaign.

The party will open its conference next month with a move to welcome the influx of new blood by waiving the "13 month rule".

The rule was originally devised to prevent individual constituencies with small memberships being swamped by new sign-ups specifically to influence candidate selection. But in the context of a national membership which rose from 26,000 to over 80,000 in the weeks following the referendum in response to the broad political mood, this rule is set to be waived.

The mechanism for this is for the conference to open as a meeting of National Council and this is the recommendation from the national executive of the party.

One of the candidates for deputy leadership, transport and veterans Minister Keith Brown, said he had written requesting the change, adding: "What kind of a welcome to the party would it have been for those members if the first thing they were told was that they wouldn't be allowed a say in who our candidates for Westminster are?

Deputy leadership rival, treasury spokesman Stewart Hosie, said: "I very much welcome the move. It's the perfect mechanism to ensure we maximise the number of members fully involved in party democracy."

The third contender, the secretary for training, youth and women's employment, Angela Constance, had argued for going further in terms of fully extending the franchise for voting for the deputy leadership but the date for this was set at opening for nominations on September 23, which means more than 25,000 new members will have a say but not the further 30,000 who have joined subsequently.