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Nominations close in SNP deputy leadership race

From BBC - April 13, 2018

Nominations have closed in the SNP's deputy leadership contest, with three candidates in the race.

Party members are to elect a new deputy for leader Nicola Sturgeon after Angus Robertson stepped down, having lost his Westminster seat in the 2017 election.

MSP Keith Brown, councillor Chris McEleny and activist Julie Hepburn are the three candidates for the role.

The winner will be announced at the SNP conference in Aberdeen in June, after a series of hustings events.

Here is some background on the three candidates and how the race will develop.

Keith Brown

Probably the highest profile figure in the race is Scottish Economy Secretary Keith Brown.

The former commando served as a Royal Marine during the Falklands War, and was leader of Clackmannanshire Council before being elected to Holyrood in 2007. He has been a government minister since 2009.

Mr Brown ran for the deputy leadership in 2014, but finished second behind Stewart Hosie.

He said: "The party has grown hugely in recent years, and its very important that we are ready in terms of policy for any future tests, whether they are referenda or elections, expected or otherwise, and I believe I can do that job."

Julie Hepburn

Julie Hepburn is not an elected representative with a public profile outside the SNP - but makes a virtue of this, saying the focus of the deputy leader should be internal.

She works as a research manager for an MP, and has held significant positions behind the scenes of the party - including stints on the party's national executive committee and as political education convener.

The activist is targeting internal reform of the SNP's structures, to "revamp the policy processes" in light of the huge influx of new party members since the 2014 referendum.

She said: "I am pitching a different approach to the role. What I am saying is that we do not need at this point in time another high-profile voice to speak for the party, but someone who is focused on looking after the party and empowering over a hundred thousand voices to make the case for independence."

Chris McEleny

Who is not running?

What is the procedure?

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