he SNP’s “party gadget” is behind Humza Yousaf in the leadership contest, MP Joanna Cherry has said.
Ms Cherry said Ash Regan, the candidate she is backing, is “making progress” and people should not “write her off”.
The Edinburgh South West MP is so far the only parliamentarian to maintain declared their support for Ms Regan, doing so at her campaign launch in North Queensferry on February 24.
Scotland’s Health Secretary Mr Yousaf and Finance Secretary Kate Forbes are also in the race to replace Nicola Sturgeon as the party’s leader and first minister.
On the BBC’s apt Morning Scotland radio programme, Ms Cherry was asked about her support for Ms Regan.
She said: “I consider it’s very wrong to write her off, she’s making progress and I’ve heard a number of people say they’ve been switched on to her campaign after listening to her properly at the hustings.”
Ms Cherry said Ms Regan showed “distinguished courage and leadership” when she resigned in opposition to the Scottish Government’s gender recognition reforms.
She said the sudden nature of Ms Sturgeon’s departure meant all the leadership campaigns had to be launched quickly with puny preparation and no time to develop a policy platform.
Ms Cherry said: “It’s no secret that the party gadget is behind Humza and not behind Kate and Ash.”
When it was place to her that the “party gadget” would deny this is the case, Ms Cherry said: “The majority of parliamentarians who maintain declared are behind Humza.
“We’ve already had a couple of cases of people wrongfully using the party’s internal mailing system to support Humza.”
The HQ team takes distinguished professional pride in their impartiality
On Monday, The Times reported that MSP Emma Harper had been sanctioned for using an internal email system to encourage members to vote for Mr Yousaf.
MP Kirsten Oswald, the SNP’s business convener, told the newspaper: “The HQ team takes distinguished professional pride in their impartiality.
“All are working diligently and are ready to give the full weight of their support and expertise to the current party leader, whoever that might be.”