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13 October 2014
Lochhead considered deputy leadership bid

Lochhead considered deputy leadership bid

Richard Lochhead considered standing for deputy leader of the SNP, he has told Holyrood.
The Environment and Rural Affairs Secretary, who has been an MSP since 1999 and a member of the SNP for 30 years, said he had been approached by members of the party saying he should stand, but decided it was not the right time.
Nicola Sturgeon is unopposed in her bid to take over from Alex Salmond, who announced he was resigning in the wake of the referendum last month.
But three candidates have emerged for the post of deputy leader – Transport Minister Keith Brown, Training Youth and Women’s Employment Secretary Angela Constance and the SNP’s finance spokesman in Westminster, Stewart Hosie.
Lochhead, who worked for Alex Salmond when he was MP for Banff and Buchan, said the current First Minister was his “mentor” and said he had been approached by party members both from his constituency and further afield: “I did consider putting my name forward, I thought about it hard. I was contacted by ordinary members of the party who were encouraging me to put my hat in the ring.”
But the Moray MSP, who lives near Elgin, added: “I know what the job involves, I feel I’ve got enough on my plate at the moment. 
“I’m three and a half hours away from where I think a lot of the demand would be in terms of some of the jobs that would have to be done. So maybe one day but I don’t think the time is right for me.”
Lochhead has not backed any of the three candidates, saying they would all bring different qualities to the role.
And he backed Nicola Sturgeon as Salmond’s successor, saying: “I’m a huge fan of Nicola Sturgeon, I don’t think you can have anything but admiration and respect for her contribution, particularly since being appointed Deputy First Minister and of course, throughout the whole of the referendum campaign she was outstanding.” 

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