ONE of the SNP's main casualties in the party's election defeat in May has put his political ambitions on hold after landing a new job with Scotland's biggest company.

Andrew Wilson, 32, is to join the Royal Bank of Scotland's media relations team, probably starting in September, at an undisclosed salary.

Mr Wilson, former SNP enterprise spokesman and list MSP for Central Scotland, will be returning to familiar surroundings as he used to work for the bank as an economist.

In the May Scottish parliamentary elections, he came within a whisker of defeating Labour's Cathie Craigie in Cumbernauld and Kilsyth, and then failed to find his way back to Holyrood through the regional list because he had been demoted in the rankings after internal party wrangling.

At the time, Mr Wilson, who was regarded as one of the SNP's brightest MSPs and a potential future leader, was coy about his job prospects but remained philosophical about his political future and said he would continue to fight for the SNP.

However, he has now put his political ambitions on hold.

After losing his seat he said: ''I'm obviously disappointed, more for the party than for me personally. I'm 32. It's not a tragedy. I've got my whole life ahead of me.''

Mr Wilson will work in Edinburgh for Carolyn McAdam who is second in charge in the banking group's communications department, headed by Howard Moody. Confirmation of the appointment came yesterday from the bank a day after Labour was attacked by opposition parties for giving Iain Gray, the former Labour enterprise minister who also lost his seat in Edinburgh Pentlands, a job advising Alistair Darling, secretary of state for Scotland.

Mr Gray will earn a public salary of (pounds) 60,000 a year, a move which the SNP and Tories said was another example of Labour's ''jobs-for-the-boys'' attitude.

Another election casualty, Michael Russell, former MSP for south of Scotland, made his first public reappearance since May last week. He said he had gone back to freelance writing and broadcasting.

Mr Wilson recently criticised the SNP leadership challenge from Dr Bill Wilson, an SNP grassroots activist.

After using his newspaper column to denounce those around Alex Neil, a prominent Swinney critic, as ''hyenas'' waiting for a weakened leader to fall before hunting the scraps, Mr Wilson said: ''Bill Wilson's position seems to be - and he has said it himself - that he does not expect to win and he does not really wish to

be leader. It is simply not


Bill Wilson yesterday called on John Swinney to scrap the centrepiece of his reform


He claimed Mr Swinney's plans for a central membership structure were designed to keep him in power and had not been shared with the rank and file through a consultation procedure and should be dropped. Collecting memberships centrally and establishing a direct debit system for subscriptions is seen as crucial to Mr Swinney's bid to streamline the party organisation while improving its finances.

Mr Swinney and his bride, Elizabeth Quigley, are back in Scotland from their honeymoon and the leader is expected to launch his campaign to retain his post with a statement in Glasgow this morning. He will first attend a memorial service for Jim Yuill, the veteran Nationalist campaigner in Clydebank and Milngavie.

As Mr Swinney and his challenger prepared for an argument which will reach its climax with a vote at the SNP conference in Inverness next month, Dr Wilson said: ''Firstly there must be an open and transparent procedure within the party that engages its ordinary members from an early stage.

''Secondly, once proposals are drawn up there must be real consultation with members, allowing them to not just be heard but also listened to.''