Key player pulls out of MP race in Coatbridge Chryston and Bellshill

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The depute leader of North Lanarkshire Council’s Scottish Nationalist group has withdrawn from the selection contest to stand as a MP.

Councillor Jordan Linden was one of several SNP councillors who had announced they were on the shortlist to run in Coatbridge, Chryston and Bellshill - the seat held by Labour MP and former councillor Hugh Gaffney, if a General Election is called.

However, it emerged last week that Councillor Linden has had an unexpected change of heart and has stepped down from the hotly contested selection process.

And he has taken to Facebook to let his supporters know.

He stated online:  “Thanks to all who have offered their support since announcing my nomination for selection for Coatbridge, Chryston and Bellshill.‬

“On reflection, I have decided to withdraw from the selection contest – and re-focus not only on my important work locally here in Bellshill and on the council but also to re-focus on my own health and wellbeing.

“My very best wishes to all the candidates seeking the SNP nomination – and good luck!”

Although there was speculation that an election would take place in mid October, political pundits have stated that late November is a more likely option.

The Labour majority in the constituency lies at 1,586 - after Mr Gaffney defeated the SNP’s Phil Boswell in 2017.

Mr Boswell had won the seat in the SNP’s landslide election victory of 2015.