Fart joke SNP activist stands down from leadership bid after talking to John Swinney

An SNP activist who planned to challenge John Swinney for the party's leadership has pulled out of the running.

Graeme McCormick said that he had enough nominations from party branches to trigger a contest but decided not to proceed with his nomination after having a "fruitful conversation" with Swinney. It means that Swinney is set to be crowned SNP leader on Monday afternoon as he is the only candidate.

At last year's SNP conference McCormick described the Scottish Government as “flatulence in a trance”.

In 2007 the former lawyer from Arden near Loch Lomond almost beat Labour’s Jackie Baillie to become MSP for Dumbarton.

He has campaigned on land and tax reform and is an outspoken critic of Nicola Sturgeon’s focus on gender politics.

The requirement to stand in the SNP leadership race was 100 member signatures from 20 different branches.

McCormick said in a statement released on Sunday night that he and Swinney "agreed the challenges which the SNP, our Government and our people face, and explored new thinking on a range of issues which... will inspire activists both within the SNP and wider Independence Movement in the following weeks and months."

Swinney had said earlier on Sunday that a divisive SNP leadership contest could delay the party’s essential “rebuild”.

He told BBC Scotland: "I think it would be better if we just got on with things."

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