SNP MP Stephen Flynn has confirmed he is running to become the party’s next leader at Westminster.

The Aberdeen South MP, who was elected in 2019, is understood to already have the support of around 30 of his Westminster colleagues.

The leadership job became vacant last week when Ian Blackford suddenly announced he would not be running for re-election at Tuesday’s AGM.

Blackford was said to have been defending his position against Flynn for several weeks. Just a few weeks ago Flynn insisted that he had "no intention of standing" amid reports of a challenge.

One party insider said last week that Flynn would represent a break from "remote" control of the Westminster group from Holyrood.

Flynn will go up against Glasgow Central MP Alison Thewliss, who has the support of influential figures like Stewart McDonald and Pete Wishart, at a vote among SNP MPs this week.

READ MORE: SNP Westminster leader hopeful Alison Thewliss in 'unity' call

In his announcement, Flynn said: “Few working class folk ever make it to Parliament, fewer still run to be political leaders.

“Even fewer do so having spent almost the entirety of their teenage and adult years battling a physical disability.

“Your experiences tend to shape you, and I’m no different."

The MP put the need for independence at the centre of the pitch to his colleagues.

The National: Stephen Flynn is seen as the frontrunner to succeed Ian Blackford as the SNP's chief in Westminster

“I want to see a Scotland where opportunity exists for all, where we have the powers to combat poverty and to create a green energy revolution," he said.

“I want to see us sat the top tables in Europe and the UN.

“I want to see us make our case with positivity, energy and determination.

“We have the people, the skills and the know-how – we just need the power.

“Because the answers to the problems we face don’t lie in Westminster."

READ MORE: Who is Stephen Flynn? The MP who's favourite to replace Ian Blackford

Flynn added that "strong voices are needed" and he is "ready to stand up for Scotland".

It is understood that Flynn's bid was proposed by Stewart Hosie and seconded by Amy Callaghan.