Alex Salmond takes foreign affairs brief as SNP begins appointing roles at Westminster


Salmond will lead SNP charge against UK exit from the EU

FORMER SNP leader and First Minister Alex Salmond MP has been made foreign affairs spokesperson, as the SNP’s Westminster leader Angus Robertson begins appointing roles to some of the 56 nationalist MPs in the House of Commons.

Salmond, who returned as an MP to the House of Commons for the third time at the General Election, will lead the SNP charge against exit from the EU and will also be responsible for challenging UK foreign policy in the Middle East and beyond.

Commenting on his appointment, Salmond said: “Foreign affairs, and especially Europe, will be among the dominating issues in this parliament.

“The SNP will provide a strong, consistent voice which is pro-European, pro-developing world and against military adventurism.

“The SNP will also make it a priority to promote Scotland in the international arena.”

In other appointments, SNP deputy leader Stewart Hosie MP was made the party’s economy spokesperson, Dr Eilidh Whiteford MP was appointed work and pensions spokesperson and the justice and home affairs position went to new MP Joanna Cherry QC, with her first challenge likely to be to challenge the Tory government’s plans to abolish the human rights act.

Commenting on her appointment, Cherry said: “Now more than ever it is imperative that Scotland’s voice is heard in Westminster. This includes robustly opposing any attempt by the UK Government to repeal the Human Rights Act or to withdraw from the European Convention of Human Rights.”

Salmond made it clear on Channel 4 on Wednesday evening that he was going to take a combative role to his new post, chastising Home Secretary Theresa May for “hopefully misjudging” the migrant crisis in the Mediterranean and describing attempts to scrap the Human Rights Act as “an insane proposal”.

On the question of the EU referendum, Salmond repeated the party’s position that they weren’t in favour of a referendum, and said the fact that David Cameron was in favour of it but wanted to stay in the EU would create “confusion” and would be “damaging”.

He argued that a UK exit from the EU could be a trigger for a second independence referendum.

“As Nicola [Sturgeon] has said, if you had a situation where Scotland was dragged out of the Europe Union against the will of the Scottish people, then that would be a fundamental change in circumstances,” Salmond argued. “And she’s also proposed a solution, which is to have a lock that all the component nations would have to agree to withdraw [from the EU] before a withdrawal can be effective.”

More SNP spokespeople roles at Westminster are likely to be announced today.

Picture courtesy of Ewan McIntosh