Flynn reshuffles frontbench amid third resignation
New SNP Westminster Leader, Stephen Flynn has announced a reshuffle of his frontbench team after again denying he plotted to bring down his predecessor.
Stewart Hosie, who last week dismissed talk of division in the party, becomes Economy spokesperson; David Linden is appointed to Social Justice, while Dave Doogan takes the Defence portfolio and Chris Stephens takes on Levelling Up.
The appointments follow the resignation of a third of Ian Blackford’s shadow ministerial team. Chris Law yesterday said he was standing down as shadow international development secretary. His SNP colleagues Pete Wishart and Stewart McDonald resigned shortly after Mr Flynn’s election.
Mr Flynn, the MP for Aberdeen South, was chosen to replace Mr Blackford last week ahead of Alison Thewliss amid claims he was instrumental in bringing down his predecessor.
In an interview last night he said: “What we’ve seen over the course of recent days and recent weeks is that some folk have been watching a little bit too much House of Cards. There’s been some very uninformed opinion in the public domain.”
Despite Mr Flynn’s denials, Mr Wishart said in his resignation letter that he was “bemused” that Mr Flynn felt it necessary for a change in leadership.
Today Mr Flynn MP said: “With three consecutive polls in two weeks showing majority support for independence, momentum is growing and we are at a key point in Scottish politics.
“The SNP Westminster group are on the front foot and ready to harness that momentum, and entirely focussed on standing up for Scotland’s interests and our democratic right to decide our future.
“We have a new dynamic front bench team and within the whole group we have a wealth of talent, experience and expertise. We are in the best position to hold Westminster to account and support our Scottish Government and Holyrood colleagues in delivering independence for Scotland.
“Scotland continues to face the cost-of-living crisis, made worse by Tory ‘wreckonomics’, and we are still being hit with the disastrous impacts of leaving the EU. That is why we now have a spokesperson for EU Accession, and I welcome Alyn Smith MP to that important role.
“I would also like to welcome those who are new to the front bench, congratulate those with new positions, and thank the whole team for their continued, tireless work.
“With the Tories and Labour both backing Brexit and denying democracy by standing in the way of a Scottish independence referendum, only the SNP is truly standing up for the people of Scotland.
“Support for independence is growing because people know that it is the only route back to the EU, and the only way to escape the broken Westminster system. The SNP Westminster team will work hard to make it happen.”
Full list of SNP front bench positions held by MPs:
SNP Westminster Leader – Stephen Flynn MP
SNP Depute Westminster Leader – Mhairi Black MP
SNP Chief Whip – Martin Docherty-Hughes MP
Economy spokesperson – Stewart Hosie MP
Social Justice spokesperson – David Linden MP
Home Affairs spokesperson – Alison Thewliss MP
Justice and Immigration spokesperson – Stuart McDonald MP
Scotland spokesperson – Dr Philippa Whitford MP
Europe and EU Accession spokesperson – Alyn Smith MP
Foreign Affairs spokesperson – Drew Hendry MP
Environment, Farming, Agriculture and Rural Affairs spokesperson – Patricia Gibson MP
Women and Equalities – Kirsten Oswald MP
International Trade, Northern Ireland and Wales spokesperson – Richard Thomson MP
Energy and Industrial Strategy spokesperson – Alan Brown MP
Digital, Culture, Media and Sport spokesperson – John Nicolson MP
Defence spokesperson – Dave Doogan MP
House of Commons Business spokesperson – Deidre Brock MP
Levelling Up spokesperson – Chris Stephens MP
Cabinet Office spokesperson – Kirsty Blackman MP
Transport spokesperson – Gavin Newlands MP
Health spokesperson – Martyn Day MP
International Development – Brendan O’Hara MP
Education spokesperson – Carol Monaghan MP