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Robertson backed for SNP group post

SNP MP Angus Robertson has secured the backing of Alex Salmond and the nationalists' most senior MP to continue as group leader at Westminster.

The re-elected Moray MP confirmed that he is to stand again for the position that he has held since 2007 when the record 56 SNP MPs meet for the first time tomorrow to select their group leader and other positions.

Mr Salmond, former SNP leader and Scottish first minister, has stated his support for Mr Robertson along with SNP deputy leader Stewart Hosie MP.

Mr Robertson said: "It has been an honour to lead the Westminster SNP group for the last eight years and it would be an honour to continue as group leader of the record-sized SNP parliamentary party.

"I am grateful to have the support of deputy SNP leader Stewart Hosie MP, former first minister Alex Salmond MP and the encouragement from colleagues across the newly-elected SNP group.

"The SNP is now the third party at Westminster and we have a huge responsibility to stand up for Scotland.

"As third party we will be called every Prime Minister's Questions (PMQs), every debate and also serve on a wide range of committees.

"We will use these opportunities to oppose the Tory austerity agenda, press for the delivery of more powers for Scotland and seek to block the renewal of Trident renewal."

Mr Hosie said: "I'm delighted to be supporting Angus Robertson and will formally propose him to the SNP parliamentary party as our new group leader.

"Angus has been a successful Westminster SNP group leader since 2007 and he is highly thought of and respected, not just within the SNP but across the House of Commons.

"A hallmark of the leadership of Angus Robertson has been his team approach, working with colleagues across the parliamentary group and I know this will continue with his re-election."

Conservative former Scotland Secretary Lord Forsyth said Ms Sturgeon had made "a big mistake" in committing herself to fiscal autonomy, which he said would leave a black hole of £8-9 billion in Scotland's finances, depending on the oil price.

"It would mean either massive increases in taxes or massive cuts in public services," said Lord Forsyth. "It is simply undeliverable."

Nonetheless, he told a post-election conference in Westminster that the Union was "in mortal danger" and urged David Cameron to produce a White Paper setting out the economic risks of fiscal autonomy.

"We should fight the Scottish election next year on a platform that says 'These people have sold you a pig in a poke, their arguments are not credible, they threaten our public services, they threaten our United Kingdom and we Conservatives are the only people now who carry the banner for free market capitalism and also for unionism and progress in Scotland'," said Lord Forsyth.


From Belfast Telegraph