ACTIVISTS across the political parties in Scotland have been putting themselves forward to stand in June’s General Election.

With the parties keen to get candidates in place promptly, Westminster hopefuls have begun jostling for selection.

Approaches have been made to the SNP MEP Alyn Smith to stand against David Mundell, the Scottish Secretary and lone Tory MP north of the Border, although it is understood Smith is unlikely to take up the challenge. He is keen to remain in his role representing Scotland’s interests in Brussels as the Brexit negotiations get underway next month.

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Dumfriesshire MSPs Emma Harper and Joan McAlpine are also being talked about in SNP circles as possible contenders to try to oust Mundell in Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweedale.

The vast majority of SNP MPs, most of whom were newly elected in the party’s May 2015 landslide, will be standing again. However, it is highly likely there will be vacancies for SNP candidates in Edinburgh West and Glasgow East where Michelle Thomson and Natalie McGarry currently sit as independents.

It is not known whether either Thomson or McGarry will stand as independents. McGarry yesterday announced she was expecting a baby, thanking paramedics who helped her after she fainted in a Commons’ tearoom.

Toni Giugliano, who stood in Edinburgh Western at last year’s Holyrood elections, but was defeated by the Liberal Democrat’s Alex Cole-Hamilton, has put himself forward as a candidate for selection in either Glasgow or Edinburgh.

Doug Thomson, an Edinburgh-based fund manager and corporate adviser, announced on Twitter yesterday that he was seeking selection as the SNP candidate for Edinburgh South, where he will be fighting to unseat Labour’s Ian Murray.

Within the SNP there is significant interest in selection for Glasgow East. Rosa Zambonini, an ex North Lanarkshire councillor, and David Linden, an assistant to MP Alison Thewliss, have put themselves forward, while Suzanne McLaughlin, the owner of the Yes Bar, is also being discussed as a possible contender.

The cause of Scottish independence, and opposition to it, will be the key battleground of the election campaign north of the Border, and the SNP will be fighting hard to hold onto its 56 seats and extend its presence at Westminster.

In the Unionist camp, former Lib Dem minister Jo Swinson announced yesterday she would be standing for selection in East Dunbartonshire —where she was defeated by the SNP’s John Nicolson in May 2015.

“I’m standing in the General Election because I’m passionate about keeping Scotland in the UK, and averting the disaster of the Tories’ hard Brexit. Most people in East Dunbartonshire agree – 61 per cent voted to stay in the UK and 71 per cent voted to remain in the EU. They deserve a pro-UK, pro-EU MP.

“East Dunbartonshire is the SNP’s second most marginal seat, with a majority of just 2,167 over the Liberal Democrats. The result last time makes it absolutely clear: this is a fight between the SNP and the Liberal Democrats, and one I fully intend to win.”

Names being discussed in Labour circles include allies of UK party leader Jeremy Corbyn such as Rhea Wolfson, a member of the party’s National Executive Committee (NEC), and former MP Katy Clark.

Dundee councillor and ex MSP Lesley Brennan has been mentioned too as a possible Westminster contender.

Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale yesterday attended Labour’s NEC in London with Corbyn to discuss the party’s campaign.

Dugdale has put her party’s opposition to independence at the heart of the campaign, and has started the process of selecting candidates by writing to members to ask them to apply.

“This is a UK-wide election that will have major implications for Scotland, and only Labour or the Tories can form the next government,” she said.

“Only by voting Labour can we get rid of Theresa May and stop further cuts to public services.

“Scottish Labour will be putting forward a positive vision for a fairer UK that rejects both the Tories’ plans for a hard Brexit and the SNP’s plans for a divisive second independence referendum.”