Jim Sillars backs Keith Brown for Depute Leader of SNP

Keith Brown's campaign for Depute Leader of the SNP has received a huge boost with an endorsement from SNP legend Jim Sillars. Sillars, who came out of political retirement to play a starring role in the referendum campaign, said Brown is "clearly the best candidate to take us in the direction we need to go".

Mr Sillars said:

"The No campaign in the referendum thought they would have us fleeing the political field but they underestimated the calibre of the Yes campaigners who emerged in that campaign. The soaring memberships of the Yes parties show that it isn't over - round one may have gone but there are other rounds to come. You can't just go charging at it and hoping for the best; you have to plan and you have to be thinking clearly and aiming at the 2016 Scottish Parliament election to get the next mandate. You've got to use the UK General Election next year to build a base but we have to be looking at 2016 as the election that matters most for independence and for taking Scotland forward.

"Between now and then we need the SNP to show leadership, we need to see good government, and we need to see them keep the 45% engaged while making sure that we keep speaking to the 55%. This isn't a question of carrying on the referendum debate and hoping for a different result, it's a case of being being serious about the job in hand and knuckling down to do it. We need serious people for a serious task, the SNP's leaders have to be all over Scotland engaging with the people and building a larger consensus for independence.

"If you look around the candidates for Depute Leader you can make a case for each of them but at the end of the day you have to come down on Keith Brown's side. He is clearly the best candidate to take us in the direction we need to go and it's a simple choice for every SNP member; are you serious about doing the work to get to independence and do you want a Depute Leader who will make that happen? Keith Brown has made plans for engaging the large new membership of the party and he's the only one talking about speaking to the 55% - the people we have to convince to make independence happen.

"It's a simple question and Keith Brown's the obvious answer."

Mr Brown said:

"Jim Sillars was a fantastic asset to the Yes campaign in the referendum, just as he's been for the SNP for many years, and his analysis of where we have to go is spot on. Like Jim I say we have to govern effectively and fight Scotland's corner while we keep the pressure on to bring all of the powers home to Scotland.

"We have to reach out beyond the 45% who voted Yes, we have to speak to the 55% who voted No and we have to find common ground to take them with us. We've got to go into this with nae fear and we're going to have to work hard just to get the powers that Scotland was promised, never mind moving on to independence. We can't rerun last month's vote, we have to be looking forward and moving forward and that takes planning, engagement and vision. We've got to aim at 2016.

"I'm delighted to have Jim's backing for my campaign and I'm looking forward to welcoming more people on board."