AN MP who reclaimed her seat at last year’s general election has put herself forward to become the party’s deputy leader at Westminster.

Kirsty Blackman has announced that she will stand down as Ian Blackford’s second in command to concentrate on her family and constituency work – after openly speaking about the effect of the lockdown on her mental health.

The party’s MP for East Renfrewshire, Kirsten Oswald, has now declared she is hoping to take on the vacant position.

Writing on Twitter, Ms Oswald said that following Ms Blackman’s decision to step down “and having spoken to a number of colleagues over the past 24 hours”, she is seeking to become the depute leader of the party at Westminster.

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She added: “Kirsty Blackman may have small feet but she has left big shoes to fill.”

SNP MPs including Drew Hendry and Stewart McDonald have declared their support for Ms Oswald.

Ms Oswald was first elected to Westminster in 2015 before losing her seat to Tory candidate Paul Masterton in 2017. But at last year’s poll, Ms Oswald won her job back - with a larger majority than her 2015 victory.

A decision on the replacement is likely to be made by the party next week. No other candidate is yet to declare they are seeking to take on the position.

Nicola Sturgeon has praised Ms Blackman for speaking openly about her mental health.

The First Minister said: “Very bravely, and I think it is to her immense credit, she was very open about the pressures on her mental health that she had experienced during lockdown.

“I would pay tribute to her – she's a fantastic, talented politician but I think it’s really good that politicians do speak out about the trials and tribulations that we all have.

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“I know sometimes it’s difficult for people to accept that we are all human beings, suffering from the same stresses and strains as others. I think it’s important at this time that people understand that this is difficult for everybody – cut yourself some slack, don’t be hard on yourself, there are sources of support out there if you need them.

“While we are all experiencing this differently because we all live in different circumstances, we’re all going through this thing together at the same time and we will get through it and the support that people need will be there as we go.”