FORMER SNP MSP John Wilson is to contest the Coatbridge and Chryston constituency for the Scottish Green Party at next year’s Scottish Parliament elections.

Mr Wilson, who is deputy convenor of the Scottish Parliament's economy, energy and tourism committee, was first elected in 2007 as a regional list MSP for Central Scotland as a member of the SNP. He was subsequently re-elected in 2011.

He left the SNP after the independence referendum in September, last year, over issues such as the party leadership's backing for Nato membership.

Evening Times:

Members passed a resolution from MP Angus Robertson saying an independent Scotland should become a member of the pro-nuclear weapons organisation.

But the decision ran into opposition, and resulted in the resignation of Highland MSPs John Finnie and Jean Urquhart from the SNP.

In December, last year, Mr Wilson said he had decided join the Greens, but would continue to sit as an independent MSP at Holyrood.

Evening Times:

Mr Wilson joined fellow independent MSP John Finnie, who also joined the Scottish Greens, after originally being elected as an SNP MSP for the Highlands and Islands region.

John has contested the constituency of Coatbridge and Chryston previously, securing over 40% of the vote in 2011.

He has now been selected as the candidate to contest the constituency by the Scottish Greens’ North Lanarkshire branch and joins fellow MSPs Patrick Harvie and Alison Johnstone in contesting constituency seats.

The North Lanarkshire branch is one of the Green party’s newest branches, forming this year following a post referendum membership surge. John is actively involved with the branch campaigning across North Lanarkshire on issues such as improving public transport, combatting low pay, ending trident and banning fracking.

Branch convenor Rosemary McGowan commented: “We are delighted to have John as our candidate for Coatbridge and Chryston. We are looking forward to the forthcoming campaign and we are sure our hard work will be rewarded by turning Coatbridge and Chryston Green in 2016.”

John Wilson said: “I am delighted to have been selected by the branch to contest the Coatbridge and Chryston constituency. I am confident that with a lot of hard work we can achieve a positive result”