SNP MP becomes first to back Stephen Flynn to replace Ian Blackford

Ian Blackford announced yesterday he was quitting as the SNP's chief in Westminster <i>(Image: Getty Images)</i>
Ian Blackford announced yesterday he was quitting as the SNP's chief in Westminster (Image: Getty Images)

AN SNP MP has become the first to publicly back Stephen Flynn replacing Ian Blackford as the leader of the party in Westminster, saying there is an "emerging consensus" on the issue.

Richard Thomson, the MP for Gordon, said he would be “astonished” if any of his colleagues tried to challenge Flynn for the job.

In a clear show of support for the Aberdeen South MP, Thomson told the BBC Flynn had the “talent and ability” to lead the group in Westminster.

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It comes after it emerged last month Flynn was seeking to oust Blackford, who announced on Wednesday he was quitting the role.

READ MORE: The inside story of Ian Blackford's resignation

Thomson said: “I haven’t seen any hard and fast numbers but I think it’s been clear that he’s been growing in stature, he is somebody who is held in very high regard by the group and I would be astonished now that there’s a vacancy to see anyone else putting their name forward.

“Of course, they’d be perfectly entitled to, they’d have every right to under our constitution and rules.

“But there is an emerging consensus, shall we say that Stephen is somebody with the talent and ability to move us forward over the next period and I think that’s who most people in the group would be looking to.”

It is understood to be the first intervention from any SNP MP on the question of who will succeed Blackford.

Flynn has not formally announced he is in the running – though it is not thought anyone else will put themselves forward.