THE SNP has blocked two controversial sitting MPs from standing as candidates in the General Election as the party’s 54 other politicians at Westminster were reselected.

Natalie McGarry and Michelle Thomson, who were elected as SNP MPs but now sit as independents, were refused permission to stand for the party by its ruling national executive.

Thomson withdrew from the SNP whip in autumn 2015 after she was reported to prosecutors following a police investigation into possible mortgage fraud. McGarry, who resigned the whip in winter 2015, is facing fraud charges after a pro-independence group reported a potential financial discrepancy in its accounts.

Thomson, the Edinburgh West MP, said she was “very disappointed with the decision” yesterday, but added that “after careful consideration” she decided not to put herself forward for election. “Since September 2015 there have been reports concerning a solicitor I used some seven years ago. I have always made it clear that I have done nothing wrong and it is a matter of public record that it was the solicitor who was under investigation and not myself, that no charges have ever been brought and that I assisted PS (Police Scotland) on a purely voluntary basis.”

McGarry refused to comment on whether she would stand as an independent in the Glasgow East seat she took with a majority of 10,387 over second-placed Labour in 2015

She said: “Today’s decision by the SNP NEC was of no surprise to me. I’ll be making no statement. My focus remains with my constituents and staff.”

Last night, an SNP spokesman confirmed neither of the two deselected MPs are currently members of the SNP.

The party’s decision means the SNP will face selection contests to replace McGarry and Thomson, who had a 3,210 majority over the LibDems in Edinburgh West seat.

Potential replacements for McGarry could include Rosa Zambonini who works as office manager for Glasgow MSP James Dornan and party activist David Linden.

Zambonini and Linden have both declared their interest.

Toni Giugliano, a former SNP Holyrood election candidate who works in the voluntary sector, has been touted as a possible candidate to replace Thomson in Edinburgh West.

The party is also seeking candidates for the three Scottish seats it did not win in 2015.

The SNP’s national executive meeting in Glasgow agreed the selection procedures for the three seats at the General Election on June 8. Candidates will be chosen for Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale, held by Conservative MP and Scottish Secretary David Mundell, the Orkney and Shetland seat of Liberal Democrat Alistair Carmichael, and Labour MP Ian Murray’s Edinburgh South seat.

SNP members seeking selection in Edinburgh South, which Murray held with a majority of 2,637 in 2015, include Doug Thomson, a businessman who is a longstanding activist in the local party. Former MSP Jim Eadie is also reported to be in the running to stand for the party against Murray,

Labour’s only MP in Scotland.

Candidates in the five seats up for grabs will be in place by the the end of the week.

SNP business convener Derek Mackay will have the final say over candidate selection following consultation with party members due to the timescale of the election.

Speaking after yesterday’s decision, SNP depute leader Angus Robertson MP said the party was already campaigning in all Scotland’s 59 seats at Westminster.

Robertson, who is also the SNP leader at Westminster, said: “This General Election is fundamental to what sort of country we want to be. We cannot let the Tories inflict deeper cuts and further austerity on Scotland.

“While the Tories are putting cynical party interests first, the SNP will always put Scotland first. In the coming weeks we will work harder than ever to retain the trust of people in every community across Scotland.”

However, Scottish Labour General Election campaign manager James Kelly said yesterday’s ruling showed the SNP’s election campaign was off to a bad start.

He said: “Trouble is already brewing in the SNP’s campaign after just a few days. Michelle Thomson and Natalie McGarry let down their constituents, and it is only Labour that can defeat SNP candidates and sitting SNP MPs in seats across Scotland.”