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Ian Blackford unveils SNP front-bench team at Westminster

Drew Hendry and Ian Blackford. Pic by Sandy McCook
Drew Hendry and Ian Blackford. Pic by Sandy McCook

Highland MP Drew Hendry has been made the SNP’s energy spokesman in Ian Blackford’s front-bench team.

The party’s Westminster leader unveiled his appointments yesterday.

Most of the 35-strong group have positions, although Stewart Hosie has not been given a role in the new regime.

Kirsty Blackman, who replaced the Dundee East MP as deputy Westminster leader last week, will now lead on economic matters too.

The move underlines the changing of the guard that is underway after only three of the six MPs in post before the 2015 election – Mr Hosie, Pete Wishart and Angus MacNeil – survived this month’s snap contest.

Angus Robertson, Eilidh Whiteford and Mike Weir all lost their seats at the hands of the Tories.

Mr Hendry, who represents Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey, takes on the full business, energy and industrial strategy brief.

This was previously held by former Aberdeen South MP Callum McCaig until the general election when he was ousted by Conservative Ross Thomson.

Reacting to his appointment, Mr Hendry said: “I’m delighted to be taking up such an important role in the front bench team.

“I look forward to making sure the voice of the people of Scotland is heard loud and clear.”

Meanwhile, asked whether the SNP would use the Queen’s Speech to try to bring down the Tory government, Mr Blackford replied: “If we could bring down a Tory government, then of course we’d be very happy to do so.”

The Ross, Skye and Lochaber MP added: “We need to wait and see what’s in front of us, but the last thing we want to see – and the last thing I think the people of Scotland want to see – is a Tory government.”

Indicating he is ready to coordinate with other parties to achieve this, he said: “If we can work with other people to best effect to change the impact of damaging Tory policies, then of course we will do so.

“I think there are times in the last parliament where we demonstrated we could do that. I would give the example of what was achieved on working tax credits.”

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