Alex Salmond appointed as SNP's foreign affairs spokesman in Westminster

Former First Minister will voice party's strong support for the EU

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Indy Politics

Alex Salmond has been appointed as the SNP’s foreign affairs spokesman in Westminster.

The former First Minister of Scotland, who returned to Parliament as an MP in last week’s election after winning the Liberal Democrat seat of Gordon, will use his role to voice the SNP’s strong support for the European Union.

It is a sign of the SNP’s priorities in Parliament that they have put such an influential figure in charge of foreign affairs, a role he will also use to oppose the renewal of Trident – Britain’s nuclear deterrent.

His new role means he is in the strange position of being a foreign affairs spokesman for a party that wants to become foreigners themselves.

Mr Salmond and the other 55 SNP MPs will play a much more influential role than in the previous Parliament, when the party held just six seats in the House of Commons.

The SNP is now the second largest opposition party, overtaking the Liberal Democrats. This means the party will be guaranteed a set number of questions when government ministers take departmental answers in the Commons.

At the weekly Prime Minister’s Questions sessions on Wednesdays, the SNP’s Westminster leader Angus Robertson will be given two questions – a privilege that Nick Clegg used was entitled to when the Liberal Democrats were in opposition.

Other perks that the SNP’s landslide victory in Scotland entitles them to include a £6 million windfall in “short money” over the five year Parliament – public money given to opposition parties to hire staff and the costs of running its parliamentary functions.

Opposition parties are given £33.33 for every 200 votes it receives at the general election and an extra £16,689.13 for every seat won.

The SNP will receive more than £1.2 million per, a substantial increase on the £187,000 it received over the last financial year.