SNP Make Changes After Michelle Thomson Suspended

20 October 2015, 06:27 | Updated: 20 October 2015, 06:28

A former oil and gas worker who managed Alex Salmond's constituency office has been appointed to replace suspended MP Michelle Thomson as the SNP's business spokeswoman.

Hannah Bardell, MP for Livingston, is the SNP's new business, innovation and skills spokeswoman, taking on the role vacated by Ms Thomson when she was suspended following the launch of a police investigation into transactions involving her property firm.

Ms Bardell's former fair work and employment portfolio has been handed to Neil Gray, a former BBC journalist and MP for Airdrie and Shotts.

Commenting on the new appointments, SNP Westminster leader Angus Robertson said: "I am delighted to confirm that Hannah Bardell MP for Livingston is the SNP Westminster business, innovation and skills spokesperson.

"Congratulations to her - and also to Neil Gray MP for Airdrie and Shotts, who becomes fair work and employment spokesperson at Westminster.''

Ms Thomson has denied any wrongdoing in the transactions which saw her solicitor Christopher Hales struck off following a Scottish Solicitors' Discipline Tribunal judgment that concluded he "must have been aware that there was a possibility that he was facilitating mortgage fraud''.

She has expressed her desire to have SNP membership reinstated once the investigation has concluded.

Ms Bardell took her seat from Labour's Graeme Morrice, who had held it since 2010, winning from him it with a majority of more than 16,000.

She worked with the SNP as part of their 2007 central campaign team producing and presenting SNPtv online, and for the next three years managed Alex Salmond's constituency office.

Her career has also included spells outside politics, working in broadcasting and in the oil and gas sector.

Mr Gray was born and brought up in the Orkney Isles, worked as journalist for the BBC and local newspaper titles before moving to the SNP's press and research office in Holyrood.

He was employed by Scotland's Communities Secretary Alex Neil in his constituency office in 2008 and became his office manager in 2011.