THE role of Depute Leader of the SNP is not really well defined in our constitution. Whoever is lucky enough to be voted into the role will have to work hard to make it their own. They’ll have the opportunity to shape it and to work alongside the existing leadership and with the NEC.

The Depute Leader will have a huge internal role, ensuring that branches and activists are given the training, help and support they need to be in the best position to win the next independence referendum.

READ MORE: Kirsty Blackman rules herself out of running for SNP depute

There is not much space for the Depute Leader to influence policy. We already have strong mechanisms for that – with conference resolutions being brought by branches, filtered through SOAC (standing orders and agenda committee) and debated on the stage at conference.

Delegates then have the opportunity to vote in order to make party policy. Nicola Sturgeon will still be the leader, Derek Mackay will still be the Business Convenor, John Swinney will still be Nicola’s Depute in Holyrood, Ian Blackford will still be the Leader at Westminster and Angus MacLeod will still be the National Secretary.

Despite all the things that the Depute Leader can’t do, I genuinely think that the choice we make here could ensure we win the next independence referendum. In many of our branches we have few people who have ever received proper campaign training. The party hasn’t run election agent training in a number of years and many of those who have had the training are now elected MPs, MSPs or councillors and therefore might struggle to find time to properly run a campaign. We need our membership to know how to create canvass sheets and survey cards; how to structure a campaign; how to design and print leaflets.

We need a situation where every branch is ready to hit the ground running as soon as the referendum is called and where every branch can be getting voter ID from a high proportion of folk in their patch. We’ll struggle to win anything if we don’t accurately know where our vote is. The Depute Leader is in the perfect position to work hand in hand with the National Organiser to roll out improved training and engagement with members.

Although I’ve been in the party for a long time and have been involved in running a lot of campaigns, inputting (so much) canvassing data and designing many, many leaflets, I’m not the right person to be Depute Leader. It is an honour to be mentioned for this role, but I have a job to do in Westminster.

I need to support Ian Blackford and the Westminster group and I need to represent my constituents and my city. I could not dedicate the time to the role that it needs. I wish all the candidates the best of luck. I know we can select a Depute Leader who will ensure that across Scotland we are ready to work to win our independence.

Kirsty Blackman is the SNP’s deputy leader at Westminster.