A ROW has broken out in the SNP after an ally of Alex Salmond accepted a job with defeated leadership contest candidate Ash Regan.

Kirk Torrance – who played a prominent role in Regan’s campaign to be SNP leader - will now be her “senior policy adviser”.

Torrance – who was instrumental in transforming the SNP’s online offering under Salmond - joined the former first minister’s Alba Party after the Scottish Government’s unlawful investigation into sexual harassment allegations against him. He is no longer a member.

He said he would be helping Regan to “effectively represent the interests of her constituents and drive positive change”.

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But current and former SNP politicians have criticised the appointment, while many on social media have questioned why a backbench MSP needs a policy adviser.

SNP MP Gavin Newlands said on Twitter: “I have four caseworkers plus the staff member who helps with parliamentary work, spends half their time on casework.

“Not sure I'd be able to find money in staffing budget for a ‘senior policy advisor’, particularly one who's done nothing but criticise the SNP.”

Former SNP Glasgow councillor Austin Sheridan also said in response to Newlands’s post: “Absolutely. Plus, it’s worth taking into consideration that an MSP’s staffing budget is less generous than an MP’s staffing budget and I know how stretched they both are in order to provide the best service to constituents.”

Alba supporters on Twitter have hit out at Newlands for criticising a fellow party politician.

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On appointing Torrance, Regan said: “I'm thrilled to have Kirk Torrance join our team as a senior policy advisor.

“His invaluable advice during my SNP leadership campaign showcased his expertise and in-depth understanding of the party's history and core values.

“Kirk's role in our team is to support my work as an elected member for Edinburgh Eastern, ensuring that we effectively address the needs of the constituency while also promoting unity within the SNP group and working tirelessly to create a brighter future for Scotland.”

Regan came third in the leadership contest behind Kate Forbes and eventual winner Humza Yousaf.

One of her most eye-opening suggestions during her campaign was to construct a large independence “readiness” thermometer. The Scottish Government says it has no plans to go ahead with this.