Scotland politics

SNP announce Westminster group front-bench team

SNP Westminster team
Image caption The SNP is the third largest group at Westminster with 35 MPs

SNP Westminster group leader Ian Blackford has announced his front-bench leadership team following the election.

The SNP is the third largest party at Westminster with 35 MPs, despite losing seats in the vote on 8 June.

The 12-member, gender-balanced group leadership team is made up entirely of members first elected in 2015.

Mr Blackford's deputy leader, Kirsty Blackman, takes on the role of economy spokesperson in the reshuffle, with several other members getting new jobs.

The SNP won the majority of seats north of the border in the general election, although they dropped 21 seats and suffered the loss of key figures including Alex Salmond and group leader Angus Robertson.

Mr Blackford was elected the new group leader following the election, and has now put together his leadership team.

Ms Blackman, who was elected as Mr Blackford's deputy, has taken over the role of economy spokeswoman from Stewart Hosie, who it is understood will seek to play a role on the Commons treasury select committee.

'Wealth of talent'

Stephen Gethins takes on the international affairs and Europe brief from Mr Salmond, while Neil Gray will be social justice spokesman - a role previously held by Eilidh Whiteford, who lost her Banff and Buchan seat.

Hannah Bardell is taking on the trade and investment role, while Angus MacNeil will be environment and rural affairs spokesman. Mhairi Black is the group's spokeswoman on pensions and youth affairs.

Patrick Grady meanwhile will serve as the group's chief whip, in place of former Angus MP Mike Weir.

Mr Blackford said: "I am delighted to announce our new leadership team and our frontbench spokespeople, drawing on the huge wealth of talent and experience across the party from areas including business, our public services, and charity sectors.

"As Scotland's leading party at Westminster, and the third party across the UK, the SNP has a huge opportunity, and pivotal position, in this hung parliament to stand up for Scotland's interests and make our voice heard."

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