John McNally chosen as SNP General Election candidate for Falkirk

The future First Minister Nicola Sturgeon joins John McNally on the campaign trail at a Falkirk dental surgery in 2010. Picture: Michael Gillen
The future First Minister Nicola Sturgeon joins John McNally on the campaign trail at a Falkirk dental surgery in 2010. Picture: Michael Gillen

A Denny councillor has been chosen to stand for the SNP in Falkirk at May’s General Election.

John McNally was elected by local party members in a ballot that closed on Wednesday. He saw off competition from four other candidates including Glasgow lawyer Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh, who was viewed by some party bosses as the favourite to win.

The 63-year-old is a well-kent face in Denny and Dunipace as the owner of a long-running barbershop in Stirling Street.

He stood as an SNP candidate in the 2010 General Election when he finished second behind current Falkirk MP Eric Joyce, who is not seeking reelection following a string of controversies.

McNally will hope to go one better in May when he will be up against Labour candidate Karen Whitefield, among others.

He told The Falkirk Herald: “I’m thrilled and delighted to be chosen as SNP candidate for Falkirk.

“I have a great team behind me and we’re now looking forward to getting the campaign under way and speaking to as many people as possible across Falkirk.

“I think this is a winnable seat. I have learned from my previous experience and I know how much hard work is involved. I can’t wait to get started.”

Among the many messages of congratulations McNally has received was one from Craig Murray, a former British ambassador who had hoped to stand in either Falkirk or Airdrie but failed an internal SNP selection interview.

The Falkirk constituency is viewed by party strategists as a key target seat and hopes are high within local branches that they can dislodge Labour from one of its traditional strongholds.

By one estimation, it is the fourth most likely seat in Scotland to be gained by Nicola Sturgeon’s party.