Stephen Flynn elected as SNP’s Westminster leader after Ian Blackford steps down

Stephen Flynn has been elected as the SNP’s Westminster leader. Credit: House of Commons

Aberdeen South MP Stephen Flynn has been elected as the SNP’s Westminster leader after defeating Alison Thewliss for the top job.

Mr Flynn will replace Ian Blackford with immediate effect and appear at Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday for the first time.

Paisley and Renfrewshire South MP Mhairi Black will become deputy leader, replacing Kirsten Oswald.

Mr Flynn said: “It’s an honour to be elected to lead the SNP’s strong and talented team of MPs during such a crucial period for Scotland.

“Under my leadership, SNP MPs will be relentlessly focused on standing up for Scotland’s interests and our democratic right to decide our future in an independence referendum.

“Families across Scotland are paying a devastating price under Westminster control, with Brexit, austerity cuts and the Tory cost-of-living crisis hammering household budgets.

Ian Blackford said Nicola Sturgeon should not be suspended from the party Credit: Andrew Milligan/PA

“SNP MPs will work harder than ever to hold the Tory Government to account, and make the case that independence is the essential route to safety, fairness and prosperity for Scotland.”

SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon congratulated the “formidable team” elected to lead her party at Westminster.

In a tweet minutes after the result was announced, the First Minister wrote: “Congratulations to new @theSNP Westminster leader @StephenFlynnSNP and deputy leader @MhairiBlack – a truly formidable team.

“Looking forward to working with them both.”

Mr Flynn threw his hat in the ring on Sunday after being touted as a potential successor in the hours after Mr Blackford made his intentions clear.

“Few working class folk ever make it to Parliament, fewer still run to be political leaders,” he said.

“Even fewer do so having spent almost the entirety of their teenage and adult years battling a physical disability.

“Your experiences tend to shape you and I am no different.”

In a tweet on Tuesday morning, Mr Blackford thanked his MP colleagues and SNP staff for their work under his tenure.

“Today is my last day in office for @theSNP as Westminster leader. Thank you to colleagues for the opportunity to serve both MPs and staff as well as all those who have supported and encouraged me,” he said.

“Good luck to my successor as look I forward to my next challenges.”

He will take on a post as the SNP’s ambassador to business after standing down.

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