An SNP member who called the party's independence strategy "flatulence in a trance" is facing a backlash over his bid to challenge John Swinney to become party leader.

Graeme McCormick has reportedly said he has enough nominations to trigger a contest after gathering support at an independence march in Glasgow yesterday.

The Herald has contacted Mr McCormick to find out if he will be putting his name forward before a deadline of noon tomorrow. He has not yet responded to The Herald's request.

But today he faces criticism from figures in the party for challenging Mr Swinney and potentially drawing out the process of putting in place a new leader.

Some fear a race could focus public attention on internal party divisions in the coming weeks ahead of a general election, expected later this year.

READ MORE: Who is Graeme McCormick and why he wants to challenge John Swinney

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Pollster Mark Diffley noted the party's concerns on Twitter should Mr McCormick put himself forward.

"To put it mildly, if this happens it is not the situation that either  John Swinney or the SNP will want. A three week series of debates and hustings which delays the inevitable, exposes divisions and costs money is not what the party needs right now," Mr Diffley said.

In TV interviews this morning, Mr Swinney warned potential rivals about entering the race saying it would "delay the ability for the [party] to start its rebuilding".

READ MORE:  John Swinney reacts to Graeme McCormick SNP leadership bid

Responding to Mr Swinney's interventions, Gillian Martin, SNP MSP for Aberdeenshire East, and minister for energy, just transition and fair work, wrote on X, formerly Twitter: "The question anyone who cares about our cause should ask themselves is, are my actions furthering that cause?

SNP MP Gavin Newlands, also hit out over Mr McCormick's bid.

He wrote on X: "I like the fact that the SNP are so democratic, but this attempt is a self-indulgent waste of time which is being egged-on by folk from other parties & seized on by the media with great glee. All whilst many of us are out campaigning hard for an SNP win in #GE2024 *for* independence."

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Former SNP minister Marco Biagi, now a councillor in Edinburgh, wrote on X: "While all 70k SNP members have the right under the party's constitution to stand for election as leader, anyone considering it desperately needs to grow a sense of perspective. Read the room."

Rhiannon Spear, a former SNP councillor in Glasgow, described Mr McCormick's intention to enter the race as "self serving".

She wrote on X: "Graeme McCormick is well aware that he will not win, yet he wants the SNP to plow money into his personal vanity project rather than into winning the GE or independence. I like that any member can stand for leader but this is entirely self serving + misguided."

Writing on X today some pro-Union figures appeared to relish to prospect of Mr McCormick standing.

Sam Taylor, who runs the pro-UK group These Islands, posted Mr McCormick's speech from last year's SNP conference.

"Leadership contender Graeme McCormick gets a rapturous reception at last year’s special SNP conference in Dundee. (He proposes a unilateral declaration of independence.)," he wrote.

Mr Taylor also noted: "John Swinney writes off Graeme McCormick’s chances before the contest has even begun. Very disrespectful."

He also wrote: "Who is Graeme McCormick, the SNP activist rumoured to have secured the 100 nominations required to stand against John Swinney for the leadership? He made a name for himself at last year’s conference with the memorable “flatulence in a trance” speech."

Former Scottish Labour candidate Leah Stalker tweeted in response to a video of a conference speech by Mr McCormick: "On behalf of all Scottish Labour Party members I believe it is essential we get a SNP leadership debate with this guy."

Ms Stalker stood as a Scottish Labour candidate for Holyrood in 2016 under her former name Leah Franchetti.

She was selected as the party's candidate for the Glasgow Shettleston constituency at the 2021 Holyrood election but later pulled out.

Earlier this month, the SNP announce the timetable of leadership contest.

Under the timetable, nominations opened on Monday 29 April at 11:59pm, will close at noon tomorrow, while any potential ballot would open on Monday 13 May at noon and close on Monday 27 May at noon.  Should there be contest, the winner is expected to be announced shortly after the ballot closes.

Mr McCormick told the Herald on Sunday he was confident of reaching the threshold of nominations to stand.

Last year he challenged Michael Russell the then party president for his role. 

However, he lost the race with delegates voting by 79 to 599 for Mr Russell to continue. Mr Russell stood down from the role last December after taking up the post of chair of the Scottish Land Commission, a non political role. It is understood he is no longer a party member.