TONI GIUGLIANO has been chosen as the SNP's candidate in the Dumbarton constituency at the 2021 Scottish Parliament election.

Mr Giugliano, who moved to Scotland from Italy when he was aged seven, won a five-way vote among party members in the constituency for the right to take on defending Labour MSP Jackie Baillie at next May's Holyrood poll.

The SNP has announced its candidates for 70 of the 73 constituencies up for grabs at the election, which is due to take place on Thursday, May 6.

Reacting to news of his selection on Twitter, Mr Giugliano told local party members: "Thank you for putting your trust in me. I will work my socks off to gain this seat - I won’t let you down."

He beat off challenges from Math Campbell-Sturgess, convener of the party's Lomond North branch and a resident of Rosneath; Helensburgh Central councillor Lorna Douglas; West Dunbartonshire depute provost Karen Conaghan; and Dumbarton activist Scott Campbell.

Mr Giugliano, whose grandparents met in Helensburgh in the 1950s, having emigrated to Scotland from separate villages in Italy, fought the Edinburgh Western seat for the SNP at the last Scottish Parliament election in 2016, finishing in second place behind Liberal Democrat Alex Cole-Hamilton.

Currently living in Glasgow, Mr Giugliano was also chosen by the SNP as one of its candidates for Scotland at the 2014 European Parliament election, though he was named fifth on the party's list and the SNP only got enough votes to return two MEPs.

The Dumbarton constituency, which stretches from Bowling in the south-east to Inverarnan and the Rest and Be Thankful in the north and west, is widely seen as one of the SNP's top target seats at next year's election.

Ms Baillie, who has been the constituency's MSP since the Scottish Parliament was established in 1999, retained the seat at the last Holyrood poll in 2016 with a slim majority of just 109 votes ahead of SNP candidate Gail Robertson.