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Kirsten Oswald elected as new SNP Westminster deputy leader

The SNP MP takes on the role after Kirsty Blackman stood down last week, citing the impact of lockdown on her mental health.

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New SNP deputy Westminster leader Kirsten Oswald (left) with party leader Nicola Sturgeon (Jane Barlow/PA)

New SNP deputy Westminster leader Kirsten Oswald (left) with party leader Nicola Sturgeon (Jane Barlow/PA)

New SNP deputy Westminster leader Kirsten Oswald (left) with party leader Nicola Sturgeon (Jane Barlow/PA)

The SNP’s new deputy leader at Westminster will play a key role in holding the Conservative Government to account, Ian Blackford has said.

He spoke out after East Renfrewshire MP Kirsten Oswald was elected into the post.

Mr Blackford, the SNP leader in the Commons, praised his new deputy, saying that she “brings a wealth of talent and experience to the role”.

He added: “This is an important time as we deal with the Covid-19 crisis and look to build a fairer Scotland.

“With the threat of a Tory Brexit growing, and crucial decisions over the economic emergency, Kirsten will play a key role as we hold the Tory Government to account.”

Fellow SNP MP Kirsty Blackman had been the SNP’s deputy leader at Westminster, but stepped down from the role after three years last week, saying she had “struggled” with the impact of lockdown on her mental health.

Ms Oswald was first elected as MP for East Renfrewshire in 2015, ousting the then Scottish Labour leader Jim Murphy from the seat.

She lost the constituency to the Tories in 2017, but then won it back in the December 2019 general election.

She said: “I’m delighted to have been elected SNP Westminster deputy leader at this critical time, and I look forward to working in this new role with our strong team of SNP MPs.

“As we continue to tackle coronavirus, SNP MPs will press the UK Government to deliver the financial powers and support that people, public services and businesses in Scotland need to manage this unprecedented emergency and secure a strong recovery.

“This crisis has exposed the deep inequality caused by decades of Westminster cuts. There can be no return to business as normal.

“As Scotland seeks to build a fairer society and escape the growing threat of a Tory Brexit, the case for independence has never been stronger.”

PA