Wishart rules himself out of race for SNP depute leader

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Long-serving SNP MP Pete Wishart has ruled himself out of the contest to be the party’s new depute leader.

The Perth and North Perthshire MP said after taking soundings from colleagues he did not believe he had “sufficient support” to stand for the post.

In a blogpost Mr Wishart, who was previously a member of the band Runrig, stated: “I said when I was considering standing for the depute leadership of the SNP that I would take soundings from colleagues within the party and across the membership before making up my mind to have my name put forward.

“After listening very carefully to the response to my agenda I have decided that I do not believe that I have sufficient support within the party and I will not now be standing for the post of depute leader of the Scottish National Party.”

The party is looking for a new depute leader after former MP Angus Robertson quit the role eight months after losing his seat in the 2017 general election.

Mr Wishart, who is the chair of the Scottish Affairs Committee, is the second high profile member of the SNP Commons group to rule himself out of running for the job, after Westminster leader Ian Blackford revealed he would not be putting his name forward.

Glasgow MSP James Dornan was the first to announce he was seeking the post, with Julie Hepburn announcing her bid on Saturday February 17.

Ms Hepburn is not in elected office, but she is well known within the party and has worked for both Deputy First Minister John Swinney and Mr Wishart.