Race to replace former Moray MP Angus Robertson as SNP deputy leader gets under way as Glasgow MSP James Dornan launches bid

Former SNP Westminster Leader Angus Robertson

A Glasgow MSP has announced plans to stand for the job of SNP depute leader following Angus Robertson’s resignation.

James Dornan, who represents the city’s Cathcart area, revealed on social media that he would be launching a bid to succeed the former Moray MP.

Ross, Skye and Lochaber MP Ian Blackford, who took over from Mr Robertson as the party’s leader at Westminster, is considered by many to be the favourite for the job,

But he is yet to say whether he intends to stand in the contest.

Other names being discussed by commentators include Edinburgh East MP Tommy Shepherd, Transport Minister Humza Yousaf and MEP Alyn Smith .

Senior party supporters have warned against a “coronation” for Mr Blackford, insisting that there should be an open contest in which the future direction of the party could be debated.

Former health secretary Alex Neil has said that he would favour an assertive deputy prepared to challenge the leader, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

Mr Dornan, a former Glasgow City councillor, was elected to the Scottish Parliament in 2011 and is the convener of Holyrood’s education and skills committee.

Announcing his candidacy on social media yesterday, he said: “I will be seeking nominations for the position of Depute Leader for the Scottish National Party, when the process commences.”

He later added: “Angus Robertson was a fantastic depute leader however with a new depute comes new opportunities, now is the right time for me to unite Yes supporters, party members and the SNP as we move towards independence.”

Mr Dornan is the first SNP member to publicly announce plans to stand for the role since Mr Robertson stood down on Saturday, eight months after losing his Moray seat to Douglas Ross in the snap general election.

Mr Robertson resigned in a letter to Nicola Sturgeon, saying he wished to pursue “new career opportunities”.

He was elected to the position in October 2016, succeeding Stewart Hosie, who quit the role following claims about his personal life.

SNP leader Ms Sturgeon said Mr Robertson had been an “outstanding” depute leader and said she hoped to he would return to frontline politics in future.