TWO SNP MPs are considering throwing their hats in the ring to become their party’s next deputy leader.

Tommy Sheppard, the party’s spokesman on Scotland and the House of Lords, and QC Joanna Cherry, its spokeswoman on justice and home affairs, are mulling over whether or not to stand for a post left open following the resignation of Angus Robertson.

Eight months after losing his seat in the snap 2017 General Election, the former MP for Moray announced last weekend that he was relinquishing the role he had held since October 2016.

In a letter to Nicola Sturgeon, Mr Robertson, 48, said: “I believe I am no longer able to fully discharge my mandate, which was to partner you as Westminster SNP leader and as a parliamentarian representing a rural constituency.

“While it would be my greatest privilege to continue as deputy leader, I know you understand that I have to focus now on pursuing new career opportunities.”

Mr Sheppard, 58, who became the MP for Edinburgh East in 2015, told The Herald: “I am giving the idea some consideration but am in no particular hurry to decide.”

Ms Cherry, 51, who represents Edinburgh South West, asked about whether or not she would stand, replied: “Yes, I’m considering my position.”

Highland MP Ian Blackford, who succeeded Mr Robertson as the party’s leader at Westminster, brushed aside questions about whether or not he would be a candidate, saying that at present he was focusing on his leadership role in the House of Commons and would make his decision known in due course.

MSP James Dornan has already announced he is seeking nominations for the depute leader position.

There is now a debate within the party as to whether or not it would be most appropriate to have the party leader’s deputy at Westminster rather than Holyrood; opinion appears divided.

However, last weekend, Alex Neil, the former Scottish Cabinet Minister, suggested it would be “sensible” to have the deputy leader based in London, where there are 35 MPs, pointing out how decades ago there were ructions between Nationalist politicians north and south of the border.

He noted: “If you look at the history of the party, we got into a fankle in the 1970s. It caused real ruptions."

The MSP for Airdrie and Shotts said a Westminster-based deputy would ensure the party was "singing from the same hymn sheet" north and south of the Border but made clear an open competition would be best.

Nominations are expected to open next month.