The SNP’s MSP for East Kilbride has effectively called for party members to unseat Lisa Cameron, the SNP MP who has held the corresponding Westminster seat for the last eight years. 

Collette Stevenson has urged activists to vote for Grant Costello, the party staffer challenging the incumbent MP for the candidacy at the next general election

She described him as “a great advocate for our local community.” 

Mr Costello had already won the backing of Linda Fabiani, the well-respected former senior SNP MSP for East Kilbride. 

Their endorsements came just hours after The Herald revealed that Dr Cameron had threatened to take legal action against the local branch in what is becoming an increasingly bitter selection battle.

READ MORE: SNP MP threatens legal action against party in selection row

Last week the MP even warned she could spark a by-election if she was not selected as the party’s candidate. 

She claimed she had been “ostracised” because of her support for the teenage victim of Patrick Grady.

The Glasgow North MP was suspended from the Commons after he made an “unwanted sexual advance” to a party staffer 19 years his junior “while under the influence of alcohol.”

In an interview with the Sunday Post, Dr Cameron compared working in Westminster to working at Carstairs, the high-security state psychiatric hospital which houses some of Scotland's most serious criminal offenders.

She told the paper: "All I did was ask the party to consider the victim in this case, and from that moment everything changed. Party members turned their backs on me.

"Even in a House of Commons tea room I was left sitting by myself as if I was a pariah. It was deeply hurtful. It was a horrible retribution that left me shedding many tears in private.

"I'm philosophical. I had a very successful career before I became an MP, and I would be happy to return to that.

"Working for many years at Carstairs State Hospital was certainly the best training I could have had for facing what goes on at Westminster."

READ MORE: Cameron claims she's been shunned because of support for Grady victim

Under the SNP’s rules, approved candidates looking to contest a selection must either secure the backing of 50 activists or win the support of the local Westminster Campaign Committee (WCC), comprising all the local branches in the constituency.

In East Kilbride and Strathaven, the committee backed Mr Costello, a local activist who works as the SNP’s Digital Media Manager.

Dr Cameron was offered the opportunity to speak to the committee but chose not to do so.

Both she and Mr Costello also secured the 50 signatures needed.  Voting will open on Thursday and run until 12 October.

A hustings was due to take place on Monday night, but Dr Cameron called off citing a family emergency. It will now take place on Wednesday. 

Yesterday, we told how an email sent by Dr Cameron’s local SNP branch secretary said that party rules may have been broken by activists trying to win votes for an unnamed candidate.

“I have been made aware that some members are being approached at home by people they do not know asking them to nominate a potential candidate,” the email said.

“Given that such an approach may be in breach of the party’s rules, please do email me if you are approached at home and do not know how the person became aware that you are a party member.”

Legal action was subsequently threatened against the branch by Dr Cameron. 

READ MORE: Alyn Smith challenged in SNP selection battle

In her endorsement, Ms Stevenson said Mr Costello would bring “a tremendous amount of knowledge and experience.”

She added: “I believe he will be a great MP for East Kilbride and Strathaven. Having grown up here he knows only too well the issues that matter to the residents in the constituency."

In a video released on Monday, Ms Fabiani said: “We need representatives at Westminster who will stand for Scotland, who will stand up for independence and make people realise that Scotland needs independence. 

“Scotland needs people like Grant Costello. East Kilbride and Strathaven needs an MP like Grant Costello.” 

Dr Cameron told The Herald: "My last selection battle was when I beat Linda Fabiani’s partner for the candidacy in 2015 so I am not surprised that she is backing the competitor from HQ — as I wouldn’t follow SNP directives on supporting perpetrators of sexual harassment which has led to me being bullied within a culture of victim blaming and denial."

Mr Costello said: "Linda Fabiani and Collette Stevenson have been fantastic public servants for East Kilbride and Strathaven.

"They know what it takes to win here and what it means to represent this incredible part of Scotland.

"They know me, and they know I am ready to stand against a cruel Westminster system that is failing Scotland and the communities of East Kilbride and Strathaven."