Keith Brown elected SNP depute leader
Keith Brown MSP has won the SNP depute leadership election, defating his more fundamentalist opponents activist Julie Hepburn, and Councillor Christopher McEleny.
Brown promised SNP conference a 'national debate' on the Growth Commission, a nod to its widespread unpopularity among party activists, but in an interview with Alasdair Clark at Commonspace, he stopped short of giving his own opinion on the report.
Hepburn and McEleny had given far more firm promises that they would push for an independence referendum at the earliest possible opportunity, with the former pumping for a distinct SNP Yes campaign, and the latter promising a referendum in the next eighteen months.
Brown's victory is the continuation of a pattern in the SNP. The establishment candidate, then Angus Robertson, also won the position back in 2016 by a similar percentage of the vote. The results suggest that SNP members are less fundamentalist about indendepnce than some report suggest.
Brown has been criticised for his handling of the Scottish economy, which has consistently grown more slowly than the rest of the UK. Growth per capita has been especially weak over the last few years, exhibiting almost no change at all.
Reacting to Brown's election, Scottish Labour’s economy spokesperson Jackie Baillie said:
“The people of Scotland will be dismayed to see the country’s hapless SNP Economy minister promising to spend even more time campaigning for another referendum instead of fixing our ailing economy.
“Under Keith Brown’s mismanagement the Scottish economy has fallen behind the rest of the UK and real wages are stagnating.
“Only Labour will build an economy that works for the many, not the few by asking the richest to pay their fair share and delivering an industrial strategy that delivers economic growth from the foundations up."