Allan and Wheelhouse back Brown for Depute Leader - Majority of SNP MSPs back Brown

Alasdair Allan and Paul Wheelhouse have become the latest Scottish Government Ministers to back Keith Brown's bid for Depute Leader of the SNP, pledging their support as Brown unveiled a list of more than half of the SNP's Holyrood group as backers.

Alasdair Allan said:
"I took a look at the three candidates for Depute Leader of the SNP and thought it's a pretty impressive party that can produce three such talented candidates. Thinking about the job that will face the Depute Leader, though, it seemed clear to me that we needed someone with a certainty of touch, incredible organisational skills, huge stamina and a sense of humour to see them through.

"We need someone with a good working relationship with Nicola Sturgeon and Keith's shown he has that in the years he's been a Minister in her government team. She will need someone who can take on some of the workload while she runs her Government and the party. This party is now a mass movement and it's going to need someone with some special reserves of energy to get around the country and engage the whole membership.

"It's clear to me that Keith Brown has all of those qualities and he has proven his mettle in some serious government departments taking some serious decisions that affect people the length and breadth of the country from creating apprenticeships and building council houses to sorting out the winter response of Transport Scotland and delivering a massive capital investment programme. He's even bringing in the new Forth Bridge, the Queensferry Crossing, under budget and ahead of schedule.

"I think Keith's the man we need in that Depute Leader role."

Paul Wheelhouse said:
"The 80,000 members of the SNP are fortunate to have three great candidates for Depute Leader; we are spoiled for choice but there are good reasons to support Keith. It's a high pressure role and he is calm under pressure whether it's severe winter weather, landslides at Rest and Be Thankful or disruption to ferries or air traffic. He is unflappable; retains his sense of humour and is hugely respected.

Keith has excellent organisational and leadership skills that he demonstrates as a Minister and is an excellent performer in the Chamber and in media interviews which will be essential in deputising for Nicola. Stewart and Angela also impress, but it's a big tick in that box for Keith.

Keith's constituency has both urban and rural areas and he knows the differences which will be helpful in creating policies to satisfy both. He can reach out to all segments of society which will be vital in building a majority to push for devomax and win the argument for Independence.

Importantly, Keith also has positive proposals for engaging and reaching out to our 80,000 plus members and recognises the business model has to change. Any of the three candidates would do a grand job but the particular attributes Keith possesses are what make him the best candidate for Depute Leader. That's why I'll be voting for Keith Brown and urge my fellow party members to do so too.

Keith Brown said:
"I'm grateful to Alasdair and Paul for their support; they're part of a growing crowd of Parliamentary colleagues backing my bid for Depute. Today I'm publishing a list of MSPs from the SNP group at Holyrood who are publicly backing my campaign, representing a majority of the party's MSPs.

"There will be more in the coming days as my colleagues in Scotland's Parliament and SNP councillors across the country make their support public but we've got more than 80,000 members in the SNP now and I'm getting around the country over the next couple of weeks to answer any questions that those members have - whenever they joined the party.

"Scotland is changing now and will continue to change over the next few years and we need to be working hard to make sure that all of the change is for the better. That's a big part of the job for the SNP's new Depute Leader and it will be a job that has to continue to be done for quite some years to come."