SNP to demand MPs be allowed on influential Defence Select Committee

Despite winning 56 out of 59 seats north of the border, the SNP is only allotted one member on the select committees

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The Scottish National Party is set to flex its newly-won Westminster muscles by demanding that two of its MPs are allowed on the influential Defence Select Committee.

Despite winning 56 out of 59 seats north of the border, the SNP is only allotted one member on the 11 or 12 person select committees that broadly mirror departmental lines. This is the same as the Liberal Democrats were allowed in the last Parliament, when they had 57 MPs.

But the SNP believes that it should be entitled to at least two members of the defence committee because of how much of the industry is based north of the border. For example, the UK’s nuclear deterrent, Trident, is based at Faslane in Argyll & Bute, while the latest Royal Navy aircraft carriers are being built and assembled in Glasgow and Rosyth.

SNP defence spokesman Brendan O’Hara told The Independent on Sunday online: “Given how important the defence industry is to Scotland, it would be good to get two members of the defence select committee.”

It is understood that the SNP would be willing to give up having slots on select committees that focus on largely English, Welsh or Northern Irish issues in exchange for an extra seat at defence. However, the major parties would have to agree.

The SNP is also given two select committee chairmanships, one of which is energy. The other is Scottish Affairs and it is thought that there will have to be a deal to also allow the SNP more members of this committee, given that they have all but three of the country’s MPs.

Nominations for committee chairmen close on 10 June, with elections scheduled for the following week. No SNP MPs have put their names forward as yet, though rumours that Westminster leader Angus Robertson wanted the energy role have been dismissed by party insiders.

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