Joanna Cherry could challenge Nicola Sturgeon for SNP leadership

Nicola Sturgeon on a panel at an SNP conference

Nicola Sturgeon on a panel at an SNP conference - Credit: PA

Supporters of sacked SNP frontbencher Joanna Cherry have suggested she could challenge Nicola Sturgeon for party leadership.

The MP for Edinburgh South West was 'sacked' from her post as home affairs and justice spokesperson by Westminster leader Ian Blackford on Monday.

But an SNP parliamentarian has suggested the sacking could work to her advantage.

“It’s been well known that Jo and Nicola have not been getting on well for a long time,” they told The National.

“Ian Blackford was the willing stooge to wield the knife. There is no way this would have happened without Nicola Sturgeon. Not a chance.”

He added: "Jo will be in a prime position. She will be the obvious candidate. Nicola has perhaps anointed her successor today.”

Cherry has made no secret of her leadership ambitions.

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Back in 2019, she said: “I’d love to play a leadership role in a future independent Scotland, but leadership doesn’t necessarily mean being the leader of the party or being the first minister.”

She added: “There’s lots of leadership roles, and I want to play my part, but no woman should ever write herself off as a potential leader. I’ve worked very hard in my role and I know I’ve got quite a big public profile now and I’m popular with the party membership, but there isn’t a vacancy for an SNP leader. We have a very strong and effective leader and there’s no vacancy.”

Cherry has previously called for the SNP to consider a "Plan B" route for independence which would bypass the need for a referendum.

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