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Perthshire MP Pete Wishart becomes SNP’s Westminster deputy leader

The party’s longest-serving MP is now Stephen Flynn’s No2 in the House of Commons.

General election 2024
Pete Wishart is the new SNP deputy Westminster leader. Image: Steve MacDougall/DC Thomson.

Perth and Kinross-shire MP Pete Wishart has been named the SNP’s Westminster deputy leader after he was re-elected last week.

The veteran nationalist, who is his party’s longest serving MP, is now Stephen Flynn’s No2 in the House of Commons.

He succeeds Mhairi Black in the role, who quit Westminster ahead of what turned out to be a disastrous election for the SNP.

The party was reduced to just nine seats in Scotland as Labour swept to victory in key constituencies across the country.

Mr Wishart said he had largely taken on the post due to his past experience in Westminster when the SNP group was much smaller.

Pete Wishart was re-elected in Perthshire. Image: Steve MacDougall/DC Thomson

He said: “I’m delighted, and looking forward to working with Stephen.

“I’ve got the experience of being in a smaller group, and what that requires.

“I’ve been here, I’ve done it before, I know what it’s like, and I know what we need to do to ensure we have a high impact.”

Mr Wishart’s success in the new Perth and Kinross-shire constituency was a beacon of light on a tough night for his party.

He saw off a challenge from former Tory MP Luke Graham, beating him by more than 4,000 seats in what was a key Conservative target.

Mr Wishart said he was “absolutely delighted” to be returning to Westminster again shortly after his win.

He said his victory felt “particularly sweet” since there had been some brief doubts over whether he would pull through.

But days later the Perthshire MP admitted the SNP’s election campaign had been “disappointing”.

He acknowledged the party would have to ask “serious questions” about what went wrong and said a similar result couldn’t be allowed to happen again.

SNP Westminster chief Stephen Flynn. Image: Kenny Elrick/DC Thomson.

Mr Wishart has not always seen eye-to-eye with Westminster party leader Mr Flynn.

The veteran nationalist was a close ally of former SNP House of Commons chief Ian Blackford, who left the top job in 2022.

In an open letter at the time, Mr Wishart said he was “bemused” at why Mr Flynn had sought to oust Mr Blackford while support for independence remained strong.

He resigned from the SNP’s frontbench at Westminster for the first time in his career, and had backed rival candidate Alison Thewliss in the leadership race.

But he was full of praise for Mr Flynn last Thursday despite the party’s hugely disappointing election result.

He told The Courier: “I don’t think anybody could see the performance of Stephen Flynn over the past few weeks and not say anything other than he’s been outstanding.

“Stephen has emerged as one of the leading in Scottish and UK politics.”

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