STEPHEN Flynn has said the SNP are “not interested” in becoming the official opposition at Westminster after a poll suggested they could return more MPs than the Tories.

At a Q&A event at the Bay Hotel in Kinghorn, Fife, Flynn was asked what the SNP’s role at Westminster should be and how they balance that with the expectations of the party and the public.

Hosted by SNP Inchkeith, the event saw over 100 independence supporters pack a conference room to question Flynn, deputy leader Mhairi Black and fellow SNP MP Stewart Hosie.

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The three MPs fielded questions from the public on the party’s tactics at Westminster, the impact of the gender reform row on independence support, and technical questions on the details of how a de-facto referendum will work and the preferred route ahead of the party’s special conference next month.

Earlier this week a poll for The Telegraph of 28,000 people found that if a General Election was called the Tories would have less seats in the House of Commons than the SNP.

If the poll was accurate, the Tories would win 45 MPs, while the SNP would win 50 and Flynn would become the leader of the opposition.

Speaking ahead of the event, Flynn told The National he had “no interest” in leading the official opposition.

He said: “We are not interested in being MPs, the opposition, or the leader of the opposition.

“Our focus is on Scotland becoming independent. That's our focus now, that's our focus tomorrow and it will be our focus going into a General Election campaign and on the other side of that General Election campaign.”

Asked what the party would do in that hypothetical situation, Flynn added: “Let's get out of there. Let's not focus or think about what we could or couldn't be doing in terms of our role either as a third party or potentially the second largest party, because our focus should be on making sure that we're not and that's the main thing.”

A similar question was asked at the beginning of the event, with the MPs asked to detail what they saw their role as in the House of Commons in the pursuit of independence.

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Flynn said: “I saw a newspaper article which said we’re going to be the second largest party at Westminster, who could have ever imagined that?

“I’m not interested in that, I don’t think any Scottish nationalist is interested in that.

“We want to make sure there are no Scottish MPs and Scotland becomes a successful independent country.”

Deputy SNP group leader Black added: “We are there to leave the UK, there is no doubt about that.”

The Paisley MP said the group's job is to “expose how ridiculous the system of Westminster is” while attempting to strike a “healthy balance” of disruption and “playing them at their own game”.

The National: SNP MP Stewart Hosie was also on the panelSNP MP Stewart Hosie was also on the panel

One member of the audience later asked the panel if there were internal party plans for the event of a de facto referendum win and Westminster still says no.

Hosie replied: “That’s where discussion is with many people now when we win, I’ve got no doubt we will win.

“How do we take this mandate to the world and recognise this?

“It’s hard to go beyond that because we don’t know what Westminster's response will be but yes there’s a lot of discussion about that right now.”

More to follow...