Thewliss: 'People see politics as men in suits shouting at one another'

Thewliss has announced her intention to succeed Ian Blackford.

SNP MP Alison Thewliss: ‘People see politics as men in suits shouting at one another’ STV News

Alison Thewliss has said she hopes to bring a “different perspective” as SNP Westminster leader, after announcing her candidacy to succeed Ian Blackford in the role.

The Glasgow Central MP announced on Saturday evening that she would be throwing her hat in the ring for the position.

It comes after it was confirmed that Blackford will stand down, having held the job since 2017.

Stephen Flynn, the SNP MP for Aberdeen South, had been widely tipped to replace Blackford.

However, Thewliss has stated her intention to ensure that a contest is held for the position.

“I should say that I had no intention of putting my name forward as Westminster leader,” she told STV News.

“Ian Blackford has been there for five years and working very hard to make Scotland’s case at Westminster.

“But in the sudden news that he was stepping down, and after chatting to my family and colleagues, I thought I would put my name forward.”

Thewliss has worked as the party’s spokesperson on matters relating to the Treasury since 2020, taking on the job ahead of the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

The MP pointed to her stance in challenging the UK Government over Covid support as she said she would be “well placed” to continue scrutiny of ministers.

She said: “Over the past few years, I’ve been doing a huge amount in my shadow Treasury role – holding the government to account all through the course of the pandemic in terms of the Covid support that was available, or not available to people, and issues around the current cost of living crisis as well.

“So, I think I’d be well placed to continue that scrutiny and continue to raise issues of importance to the people of Scotland.”

The SNP MP explained that she is keen to bring her experience to the group at Westminster.

“Stephen’s a good colleague and a good friend, and has worked very hard in his frontbench spokesperson role,” she said.

“But I’m very keen to bring my experience to the group and to make sure that we have a contest.”

Thewliss acknowledged the work conducted by Blackford in his five years serving in the role.

She said: “I think Ian has been doing this for five years, that takes a huge toll on people, and that’s very, very intense – lots of travelling up and down from Skye to Westminster – it’s a huge job.

“And I think Ian has decided that his focus is better to go and look at the business case for independence and use the extensive networks that he has from his background in business to make sure that we’ve got as many people onside for that.”

The SNP MP for Glasgow Central suggested that many view politics as “men in suits shouting at one another”.

She is keen, therefore, to bring a “slightly different perspective” to the job.

“I think I bring a slightly different perspective to it, I would also be the first woman to do this as the SNP lead person at Westminster,” she said.

“And I think when a lot of people watch politics, it looks like men in suits shouting at one another, particularly at PMQs, which is the focus of the parliamentary week.

“But, often that’s all people see of it and I want to bring that slightly different perspective to show what else matters, rather than just scoring points at PMQs.”

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