A SENIOR SNP MP has launched an attack on members of the party’s ruling body for conducting “personal vendettas”.

Joanna Cherry QC said some of the National Executive Committee should be voted out at the SNP’s annual conference.

It comes after the MP for Edinburgh South West abandoned a plan to stand for Holyrood following an NEC rule change.

The move would have forced her to quit Westminster before attempting to win a seat as an MSP.

It was widely seen as a deliberate attempt to stop Ms Cherry switching to the Scottish Parliament.

She would have challenged Angus Robertson, a key ally of First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, for the nomination to fight Edinburgh Central for the SNP.

Writing in The National newspaper, Ms Cherry said NEC members attempted to have her deselected last year.

She said: “This attempt took place at a meeting which I, as a member of the NEC, was prevented from attending.

“Members of the NEC are usually afforded the facility of joining meetings by conference call when it is not possible for them to travel to the venue, which can be anywhere in Scotland, but on this occasion I was informed by SNP HQ that this would not be available.”

Ms Cherry said briefing against her from NEC sources continued during the general election campaign.

She added: “This was upsetting not just for me but also for the SNP activists who were working hard in winter weather to have me re-elected as an SNP MP rather than sitting at home briefing Unionist newspapers against SNP candidates.”

The MP said this year’s elections to the NEC “should be imminent”.

She said: “In terms of the SNP constitution, the National Conference is the supreme governing and policy-making body of the party.

“It meets as annual conference once a year and as National Conference on at least one other occasion a year on dates and at a place fixed by the National Executive Committee.

“The bulk of NEC members come up for re-election at conference.

“We have not as yet had a conference this year and of course the pandemic makes the usual conference impossible.

“However, it is past time that members were told when the much-promised online conference will take place so that they can register as delegates and ensure they are able to vote.

“I would hope they would consider replacing those who are bringing the party into disrepute by using their positions on the NEC to conduct personal vendettas or to clear the field of competition for their own candidacy bids or those of their friends. What we need on our NEC is members whose only priorities are the furtherance of the cause of independence, our country, its people and the party.”