THE SNP’s new deputy leader at Westminster is due to be announced next Wednesday, The National understands.

One of the MPs being discussed as a likely frontrunner to succeed Kirsty Blackman has revealed she is not keen to seek election.

Philippa Whitford, the SNP’s health spokeswoman in the Commons said: “I have been approached but I am minded not to stand.”

It is expected Blackman will be replaced by a woman in order to ensure a commitment to the SNP’s objective to have a gender balance among its leadership teams.

Other possible contenders for the role include frontbenchers Mhairi Black, the shadow Scottish secretary; shadow home affairs secretary Joanna Cherry; and shadow Chancellor Alison Thewliss.

Nominations for the post have opened and will close on Tuesday, with a digital hustings to take place after nominations have closed.

A ballot is due to take place the following day with SNP MPs voting electronically for their choice of candidate.

READ MORE: Blackman quits SNP role over mental health impact

The winner is expected to be unveiled late on Wednesday afternoon or in the early evening.

Blackman has stood down from the post to focus on her family, mental health and constituency work. The Aberdeen North MP has been SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford’s deputy for the past three years.

Announcing her departure from the role, Blackman said: “I’m proud of what I’ve achieved as SNP Westminster deputy leader.

“Together with our team of SNP MPs, we have provided a strong voice for Scotland at a challenging time, won a landslide victory at the General Election, and seen support for independence rise to record levels.

“Like many others, I’ve struggled with the impact that lockdown has had on my mental health.

“In order to prioritise my constituency and my family, I have made the difficult personal decision to step down from my leadership role. I strongly believe that people must be able to talk openly about mental health issues, which affect so many of us.

“I look forward to continuing my work for Aberdeen North and standing up for Scotland at Westminster.”

Blackford thanked the north-east MP for her work, saying: “I want to express my thanks and gratitude to Kirsty.

“It has been a pleasure to work together and she has been a valued colleague and friend. She has made an important contribution to our work standing up for Scotland at Westminster and making the case for independence.

“I respect her decision to put her constituents and family first – and know she will continue to play a key role in the SNP team as the MP for Aberdeen North.”

The deputy leadership role includes supporting Blackford and working closely with the SNP’s research team based in the Commons.

All 48 SNP MPs will have a vote in the ballot which will be run under the STV system.