Scotland politics

Who are the SNP deputy leader candidates?

SNP badges Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The new deputy leader will be elected by the SNP's 120,000 members

Four candidates have put their names forward in the contest to replace Stewart Hosie as the deputy leader of the SNP.

Mr Hosie is standing down from the role following allegations about his private live.

About 120,000 SNP members will be entitled to vote in the contest, with the winner announced at the party's conference in mid-October

Here's a look at the four candidates and their key policies.


Chris McEleny

Image copyright Chris McEleny

Who is he?

The least known of the four candidates, Mr McEleny is the leader of the opposition SNP group on Inverclyde Council and the only non-parliamentarian to be standing for the deputy leadership of the party.

He was the first candidate to announce he was standing.

What does he say?

While admitting he is an outsider in the race, Mr McEleny has said his campaign is gathering steam thanks to his support for stronger local government, socialist values and an independent Scottish republic.

Targeting the tens of thousands of new grassroots members who joined the SNP in the wake of the independence referendum, he has criticised some of the party's policies as being out-of-date.

Mr McEleny has said the SNP and the wider independence movement "would be stronger if we promoted more socialist values", and has called for the party to raise the top rate of income tax in Scotland to 50p for those earning more than £150,000.

But he has warned against rushing into a second independence referendum, and has said that No voters will not be convinced to change their minds by independence supporters "shouting louder the same arguments we made in 2014".

Mr McEleny has argued that the Yes campaign "got it wrong" when it proposed a currency union ahead of the 2014 referendum, and has suggested that a separate Scottish currency should be introduced after independence.


Angus Robertson

Image copyright PA

Who is he?

Seen by many as the favourite to win the contest, Mr Robertson has been the MP for Moray since 2001 and is the SNP's leader at Westminster, a role which allows him to quiz the prime minister every week at PMQs.

A former BBC journalist, he reportedly joined the SNP at the age of 15 after being handed a leaflet by Charlie Reid of the Proclaimers.

What does he say?

Mr Robertson believes it is leadership ability that separates him from the other three candidates, pointing to his "excellent working relationship with First Minister Nicola Sturgeon" and his proven track record in senior positions within the SNP.

He says a top team of himself and Ms Sturgeon would mean the top of the party was balanced between urban Scotland - represented by Ms Sturgeon - and rural Scotland.

Mr Robertson has also spoken of the need to ensure the SNP's organisation, policy-making and campaigning techniques keep pace with its rapid growth in membership.

When he formally launched his bid for the deputy leadership, Mr Robertson asserted that Scotland was "on the brink of independence".

But he has stressed the importance of reaching out to the 55% of voters who rejected independence two years ago.


Tommy Sheppard

Who is he?

A former Assistant General Secretary of Scottish Labour, Mr Sheppard formally left the party in 2003 after becoming disillusioned with Tony Blair's leadership.

After spending two years campaigning for a Yes vote, he joined the SNP days after the September 2014 referendum and was quickly adopted as the party's candidate for the Edinburgh East constituency, which he comfortably won in last year's general election after securing 49.2% of the vote.

Outside of politics, Mr Sheppard is well known as the co-founder of Edinburgh's famous Stand comedy club, which also has branches in Glasgow and Newcastle.

What does he say?

Portraying himself as an organiser and networker, Mr Sheppard has said that the SNP needs an "organisational upgrade" after its massive growth in membership.

He has argued that the party's remarkable electoral success in recent years was partly because "our opponents have made it easy for us".

And he has said the SNP "needs to be even better at everything it does" if it is to meet the challenges to come, warning that a second independence referendum "will be a far tougher test".

He wants local party branches to have more say in SNP policy, and has proposed employing professional organisers to support branch activities and members' training.

And Mr Sheppard has spoken of the need to "harness the abilities and talents" of the 120,000 people who are now members of the SNP.


Alyn Smith

Image copyright PA

Who is he?

A Member of the European Parliament since 2004, Mr Smith came to wider public prominence when he was given a standing ovation by his European colleagues after delivering an impassioned plea for them to "not let Scotland down" in the wake of the Brexit vote.

What does he say?

Unsurprisingly for a man who describes himself as "internationalist to my fingertips", Mr Smith has called for the SNP to "put Europe at the heart of independence".

He says the party should focus on convincing people that "Europe is our future, Westminster is our past" following the EU referendum result.

Mr Smith has spoken of the importance of "selling" Scotland to the various EU member states, who he says would all have a vote on Scotland's EU status.

Like Mr Robertson and Mr Sheppard, he believes the SNP should introduce professional organisers to better co-ordinate the party's efforts.

And Mr Smith has said the SNP will know when it is time to call a second independence referendum, and has signalled that he would be open to a possible referendum on the monarchy if the country does vote for independence.