DEREK McKay, Humza Yousaf, Tommy Sheppard, Mhairi Black and Christine Grahame are among a wide range of politicians SNP figures are talking about as possible successors to Stewart Hosie.

Sources said prospective candidates may be quietly assessing their chances of election with allies and contacts over the coming weeks before deciding whether to put their names forward.

One insider suggested with nominations for the post closing on August 5 there may be no immediate rush to announce candidacies.

The discussions were taking place at Westminster and Holyrood a day after it was announced Hosie would stand down from the role at the SNP conference in the autumn following allegations over his private life.

“No one saw this coming and to many in the party it was a huge surprise to see Stewart Hosie stand down. The last thing people were expecting was a deputy leadership contest,” he told The National.

He said his favoured candidate, if he chose to stand, would be Derek McKay, promoted last week by the First Minister to the post of Cabinet Secretary for Finance and the Constitution. The MSP for Renfrewshire North and West previously held the posts of Minister for Transport and Islands (2014-2016) and Minister for Local Government and Planning (2011-2014) in the Scottish Government.

“He has considerable experience within the party. He’s well respected, he’s just been promoted, is obviously highly regarded by the FM. I think some people were surprised he didn’t run in the last contest in 2014.

“However, I think we could see a very open field. Christine Grahame [MSP for Midlothian South, Tweeddale and Lauderdale] may be someone who comes forward from well established party figures.”

A second source said the contest could see longstanding politicians such as Westminster leader Angus Robertson face challenges from a new generation of politicians such as Mhairi Black, the MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire South, and Humza Yousaf, the MSP for Glasgow Pollok, and newly appointed Minister for Transport and the Islands.

“Mhairi Black is hugely popular with a high public profile. Humza is a very charismatic politician who would be good in the role too. The only potential drawback with Humza is that if he got the job both the FM and deputy would represent Glasgow constituencies, and that might be an issue in terms of the party leadership being too Glasgow-orientated.”

A third insider said Tommy Sheppard, MP for Edinburgh East, who played a leading role in the Yes campaign, would be another prominent politician who may come forward.

“Given that 80 per cent of the membership joined after the referendum, there is certainly a sound argument to be made for someone getting the post from the newer wing of the party,” said the source.

However, there was some doubt on whether someone relatively new to the party would be able to mobilise sufficient support to win an internal election.

“I wouldn’t want to write off any of the new people and it certainly could be seen as an advantage having joined in the wake of the Yes movement and the independence campaign, but I’m not sure whether people such as Tommy Sheppard would have enough wide-ranging contacts across the party to run a successful election campaign,” he added.

Among the deputy’s key roles are developing policy, overseeing election manifestos, and ensuring the party is an effective campaigning organisation.

His or her job would also include liaising with grassroots members and working with different parts of the independence movement.

It is also possible that cabinet secretaries Keith Brown and Angela Constance, two candidates Hosie defeated in 2014, could run.

Deputy First Minister John Swinney would be a popular choice too.

However, with his current roles as Deputy First Minister and Education Secretary, he may consider that he has already got sufficient challenges on his plate.