New SNP Westminster Leader To Be Named

14 June 2017, 07:31

SNP

The SNP's new Westminster leader will be announced later.

Three SNP MPs have put themselves forward to succeed Angus Robertson after he lost his Moray seat in the General Election.

Ian Blackford, Joanna Cherry and Drew Hendry are all competing for the key role which will be announced on Wednesday evening, as Parliament gets back to business after the snap election.

Edinburgh East MP Tommy Sheppard had put himself forward before withdrawing from the race on Tuesday night, saying he does "not have majority support for becoming leader''.

Ms Cherry, the MP for Edinburgh South West, said on Twitter: "Happy to confirm that today I shall seek nomination as @theSNP Westminster group leader.''

That came after Mr Blackford - who represents Ross, Skye and Lochaber - tweeted on Monday night: "I can confirm that I will be a candidate for SNP group leader at Westminster.''

Mr Hendry, the MP for Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey, said he was "delighted to announce'' he was seeking the support of colleagues for the post.

The contest comes after SNP depute leader Mr Robertson lost the seat he had held since 2001 to Scottish Conservative Douglas Ross.

Mr Robertson was one of the party's high-profile defeats on election night, losing the seat by 18,478 votes to 22,637.

The SNP won 35 seats in last week's election, down 21 from 2015 - with the Tories, Labour and the Liberal Democrats all making gains across Scotland.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has admitted the issue of another independence ballot was a factor in last Thursday's vote, and she said the party will reflect on its plan amid calls for it to be taken off the table.

She has turned her focus to the UK's Brexit approach as political leaders including Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson call for more consensus.

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