Salmond ‘has important role’ despite SNP omission

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THE new SNP Westminster leader Angus Robertson has insisted that former First Minister Alex Salmond has an important role despite his omission from the party’s leadership team at Westminster.

At their first formal group meeting yesterday Mr Robertson was elected unopposed as Westminster leader which means he will represent the SNP at Prime Minister’s questions every week.

Former first minister Alex Salmond, centre, at Westminster. Picture: PA

Former first minister Alex Salmond, centre, at Westminster. Picture: PA

His second-in-command will be deputy SNP leader Stewart Hosie, who is also tipped to be named as the shadow chancellor. Mr Robertson is expected to be shadow foreign secretary or shadow defence secretary.

Other appointments included Eilidh Whiteford as group secretary, Mike Weir as chief whip and Pete Wishart and newcomer Kirsten Oswald as members of the group executive.

Mr Robertson said: “I’m absolutely delighted to be re-appointed as group leader for this new, record-breaking group of SNP MPs. It is a real honour to continue in this job during such an exciting time.

“I am grateful today to have the support of my new colleagues, in addition to our party depute Stewart Hosie MP and former SNP leader and first minister, Alex Salmond MP.

“We have been announced as Westminster’s third largest party – meaning we are better placed to hold the UK government to account. Our MPs are committed to making Scotland’s voice heard at every opportunity. Our MPs will continue to oppose the renewal of Trident, the Tory’s unfair and punishing austerity agenda and we will press for new powers for Scotland.”

Asked about Mr Salmond, Mr Robertson said: “There’s going to be a role for every member of the SNP group at Westminster, including the former first minister whose talents are recognised right across the House of Commons and I look forward to him playing a significant role for the SNP at Westminster.”

He added: “Alex Salmond is one of the best-known politicians in Europe. I’m delighted that he is one of the 56 members of the SNP Group. But you’ll forgive me because further announcements about responsibilities will be made in due course.”

The leadership team will interview the new members before deciding which portfolios and committees to put them on.