While SNP members may be busy deciding who the party’s next leader is, they were also able to pack out Renfrew Town Hall on Thursday night and hear from three of the party’s big hitters.

Stephen Flynn, the party’s Westminster Leader, Mhairi Black, MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire South and the group’s Depute Leader, and Gavin Newlands, MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North, were hosts for the special event, held at Renfrew Town Hall on Thursday night.

The evening attracted a capacity crowd not put off by the snow drifting outside or the televised leadership hustings broadcast at the same time.

And attendees heard from all three parliamentarians on the road ahead to independence and had their say.

A range of issues were brought up by members, including the UK’s hard Brexit, tackling child poverty, and the impact of UK Government policies on EU citizens.

Mhairi Black said: “It was a pleasure to get together with SNP members from across Renfrewshire. The UK Government continues to deny Scotland its right to choose our own path and it is for us as a party and as a wider movement to get together in settings such as this, to discuss the steps we take next.

“Renfrewshire has been hit hard by a generation of Tory austerity cuts, a global pandemic, leaving the European Union and now the cost of living crisis. The SNP Scottish Government can only do so much to mitigate Tory cuts and it is only with independence that we will truly see a prosperous, fairer, and more equal Scotland. While we are under the control of the UK establishment people will continue to suffer.

It was heartening to see so many local members come out to the event with over 200 local SNP members coming along to add to that conversation and make sure their voices shape where our movement is going.”

Gavin Newlands added: “It was good of Stephen to join us here in Renfrew, especially given the train home to Aberdeen he had through the snowy night.

“Above all else, despite what sections of the media and opposition might want to believe, we are a party united behind our programme of social democracy and independence for Scotland, and every single member who attended is committed to making that happen.

“Whoever takes over as leader of our party will head an organisation and a movement that is enthused and ready to take the positive message of Scottish independence to every door in Renfrewshire and beyond.

“With a UK economy in permanent disaster mode, the cost of living crisis hammering households, and a UK government hell-bent on adopting the policies of the far right, it’s more vital than ever that Scotland has the opportunity to choose a better future sooner rather than later.”

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