Three SNP MPs resign from frontbench following leadership change

Chris Law joined Pete Wishart and Stewart McDonald in announcing his resignation from the Westminster frontbench.

Three SNP MPs resign from Commons frontbench following Stephen Flynn leadership appointment UK Parliament

Three SNP MPs have resigned from the frontbench at Westminster following the election of Stephen Flynn as group leader.

Chris Law joined DEFRA spokesperson Pete Wishart and defence spokesman Stewart McDonald in tendering their resignations to the party’s new Westminster chief after Ian Blackford announced his decision to step down.

Aberdeen South MP Flynn defeated Alison Thewliss in a vote to replace him at the SNP AGM on Tuesday, appointing Mhairi Black as his deputy.

But the appointment was not met with universal approval, with Wishart admitting he was “bemused” by the change in leadership.

Law, the party’s spokesman for international development and climate justice, told Flynn he had his “full support” in a resignation letter posted on Twitter – but did not give his reasons for standing down.

“I truly believe we have never been closer to independence,” the Dundee West MP wrote.

“I look forward to working with you and others in our party to develop our strategy as we continue to build a winning campaign.”

Flynn had previously denied reports of an attempted “coup” against Blackford weeks before he stood down.

Blackford, who led the party in the Commons from 2017, told TalkTV he “could have won” a leadership contest if he chose to fight it, but felt the time was right to step away.

He will continue to sit in Westminster as the representative for Ross, Skye and Lochaber, but takes up a new role helping to build the business case for independence.

Following the leadership change, Owen Thompson was replaced by Martin Docherty-Hughes as the party’s chief whip at Westminster.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon described her relationship with Flynn as “great, fantastic,” when quizzed on the leadership change.

But Wishart, who was first elected as an MP in 2001, said he could not understand “the need to change leadership at this stage” following the publication of an STV News poll showing increased support for leaving the UK.

In his resignation letter, he wrote: “Usually change of this significance accompanies failure, whereas we are looking only at sustained and growing success as a movement and party.

“I am sure that this is something that will become apparent to me during the course of your leadership.

“I also look forward to learning first-hand what you hope to do differently in the day-to-day management of the group.”

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