A FORMER SNP MP believes the party's move to block their own MP from standing in Holyrood elections will fuel support for new pro-independence parties.

George Kerevan, who represented East Lothian in Westminster until 2017, tweeted about the SNP National Executive Committee (NEC) decision to force current MPs to stand down from their positions in order to run for Holyrood. 

It is believed the decision was made in order to force Joanna Cherry, MP for Edinburgh South West, to forfeit the contest. She had been planning to battle against Angus Robertson, former SNP deputy leader and ex MP, to become the party's official candidate for the Edinburgh Central constituency. 

Mr Kerevan said the move was a push by the party's right-leaning members against the left.

He tweeted: "The decision to exclude Joanna Cherry from standing as a candidate in next year’s Holyrood election is a move of the SNP right against the party’s left."

He also said it would almost certainly prompt the emergence of other pro-independence parties, similar to the recently-formed Alliance for Independence, which hopes to challenge list seats in next May's election.

The former MP said: "This move opens a serious political divide inside the SNP and virtually assures the emergence of other pro-indy list parties at the Holyrood election."

Serving MP Angus MacNeil also took to social media to express his views about the decision by the NEC, which prompted Cherry to drop out of the Holyrood contest. 

He said it "seems brave" of the SNP to "put a seat at risk without securing the other first" and added that it "seems [a] bit of nose-to-spite-face penny pinching" by his own party. 

Ms Cherry announced this morning that unless circumstances change she would have to withdraw from the contest, effectively handing the candidacy for the seat to Angus Robertson.

Robertson, former SNP Westminster leader and MP between 2001 and 2017, has already started his election campaign despite not having secured the party's official backing.