Falkirk SNP MSP gambles on first past the post seat

Falkirk West MSP is confident of a win in next year's Scottish Parliament election
Falkirk West MSP is confident of a win in next year's Scottish Parliament election

Confident Michael Matheson is staking his political future on a first-past-the-post win at next year’s Holyrood election.

The Falkirk West MSP and Justice Secretary will not stand on the regional list for Central Scotland next May, but seek re-election as the constituency candidate.

He is among a growing number of First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s front-line team to reject the safety net of the list system.

In 2011 almost every SNP minister and MSP stood on a list in case they failed to win a seat.

But, after the General Election landslide they enjoyed this year, SNP confidence is sky-high they will dominate the poll once again.

Mr Matheson, who won 55.1 per cent of the vote last time and has a majority of 5745, said: “I’ve decided that in this election I’m going to focus on my constituency campaign. It’s a personal choice. I would expect a tough fight in Falkirk, but I’m confident we will put in the best campaign we have had to date.”

Falkirk East MSP Angus MacDonald has confirmed he will have his name on both ballot papers.

Mr MacDonald, who is defending a 3535 majority after taking 50.6 per cent of the vote, said: “If I win the constituency, which I hope is the case, my name will automatically be removed from the regional list and candidates who have not won constituency seats will top up the SNP numbers through the proportional representation system which has been in place since 1999.”