Angus RobertsonWENN

SNP deputy leader Angus Robertson

He said the party must start campaigning now to win over those who voted No in the 2014 referendum after a landslide victory in the race to become Nicola Sturgeon’s number two.

The Moray MP replaces Stewart Hosie who stood down after having an affair with a journalist who previously had a fling with Commons colleague Angus MacNeil.

Mr Robertson, who is already the party’s leader at Westminster, defeated Edinburgh East MP Tommy Sheppard, Alyn Smith MEP and Inverclyde councillor Chris McEleny with 52.5 per cent of the votes cast.

Stewart Hosie Angus RobertsonSWNS

Former SNP deputy leader Stewart Hosie (left) and new SNP deputy leader Angus Robertson (right)

About 120,000 SNP members were entitled to vote in the contest, with the winner announced at the start of the party’s conference.

We are very, very close to independence and we must start campaigning right now

Angus Robertson

Mr Sheppard took 25.5 per cent of the votes, while Mr Smith received 18.6 per cent and Chris McEleny 3.3 per cent.

Sources close to Mr Sheppard, who promised to give more power to members, had previously claimed Ms Sturgeon had given her tacit support to Mr Robertson seen as an “establishment” figure.

Angus RobertsonWENN

Angus Robertson already holds the position as the party’s leader at Westminster

Mr Robertson said he was “absolutely bowled over adding the party faced “big challenges” and “opportunities”.

He said: “We are very, very close to independence and we must start campaigning right now to persuade people who did not vote Yes in 2014.

“I believe that the SNP depute leader has a big job to make this happen and I will work with Nicola Sturgeon to make this happen.”