STEPHEN Flynn has been the SNP’s Westminster group leader for one year today, but he is still waiting to get a straight answer from the Prime Minister.

In taking the top role in the SNP’s London group, the Aberdeen South MP says he became “Scotland's voice” in the Commons, hitting TV screens across the UK with his appearance at Prime Minister’s Questions each week.

But Flynn said that he goes into each PMQs session knowing that Rishi Sunak’s answers – or their absence – won’t be the most important thing.

“Look, you know he's not going to answer all the questions, so it's about making sure that the public are listening to what you're saying and that you're making the strongest possible case,” he said.

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“It's often important to listen to what he does say, because it can be very dismissive of what is an important issue. That doesn't do the public any favours and I don't think it does him any favours either.

“The moment I can get straight answers from the Prime Minister is one that I'll revel in. I don't think we have quite got to that point yet.”

Flynn was elected to lead the SNP group on December 6 2022, following weeks of speculation of behind-the-scenes plots to oust the incumbent Ian Blackford (below).

But Flynn insists he only thought about taking on the group leader role “when there was a vacancy” – after Blackford’s resignation on December 1.

The National: Ian Blackford Image: PA

Asked when he first heard his name linked to the position, he said: “I'll be honest with you, I have absolutely no idea.

“In politics, your name gets bandied around all the time in relation to different things. You know, sometimes that can be quite nice and other times you are wondering, how on earth did that appear in that context?”

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Asked if he felt pressure – in taking on the leadership role during his first term as a Westminster parliamentarian and in having the responsibility of questioning the Prime Minister each week – Flynn said: “I think pressure is not knowing whether you can afford to pay your bills.

“Pressure is having to work multiple jobs just to get by … Pressure is worrying to pay your mortgage or to afford the food bill or Christmas presents. That's pressure and that's daily life for people in Scotland.

“My job is just to make sure that I stand up for them the best that I can.”

Asked for his reflections on his first year in charge, Flynn said: “Things have gone so quickly over the course of the last 12 months. In general, on a personal level it's been a huge privilege. The opportunity to do what I do on a weekly basis is something which gives me immense pride and I'm grateful to my colleagues for putting their trust in me.

The National: SNP Westminster leader Stephen Flynn speaks during Prime Minister's Questions in the House of

“On a professional level, which is much more important, I very much welcome the chance to be able to talk about the biggest issues impacting the people of Scotland on a daily basis.

“To hold this corrupt Tory government to account and to be able to be Scotland's voice on the cost of living crisis, on the situation in Gaza, on the mass public sector cuts which the Tories are forcing through, on migration, and on Brexit as well.

“I often reflect upon the importance of having Scottish National Party MPs here, because if we weren’t making the arguments that we are making then nobody else would be.

“A Labour MP would simply fall in behind Keir Starmer, as we've seen in recent weeks. A Tory MP would fall in behind the government, and a LibDem would probably find themselves sat on a fence somewhere. That's no use to anyone.”

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As he moves into his second year at the helm of the SNP group at Westminster, Flynn will be tasked with leading his MPs into their first test at the ballot box since 2019.

With a General Election expected in the autumn of 2024, the polls are not being overly kind to the SNP, on average predicting a significant loss of some 20 seats.

Last week, polling expert Professor John Curtice told The National that a “crucial” group in deciding the Scottish results of the next Westminster ballot were the 15-20% of Yes supporters who backed the SNP in 2019 – but are unsure whether they will do so again.

Asked if the connection between being a Yes backer and an SNP voter had been broken, Flynn said: “I don't see any evidence to back up that statement. You know, I think it's important in politics you don't take the electorate for granted. That's what the Labour Party did for generations.

“If you simply want to say, well, because you voted for someone in the past, you should always vote for them, then I think you’re on a hiding to nothing.

The National: Too good for us: Stephen Flynn

“We need to be appealing to everyone in Scotland, making a positive case for why a vote for the SNP is so important and ultimately why independence is important. That's the challenge that's in front of us.”

Talking about the polls, Flynn went on: “We know two things. Firstly, we know that support for independence is roughly 50/50. That gives me a great deal of comfort because we all, of course, want Scotland to be an independent nation.

“In relation to the party polling, I think it's quite clear that there's all to play for in certain parts of Scotland.

“I'm very confident that once we get into the midst of that General Election, we'll be able to convince those people who may have swayed from the Scottish National Party to come back because we are best placed to be their voice in Westminster but also best placed to deliver that independent future.”