Keith Brown has been elected as deputy leader of the SNP.

The Economy Secretary defeated activist Julie Hepburn and councilor Chris McEleny after two rounds of vote counting.

Mr Brown won 48.3% of the vote with Ms Hepburn winning 35.4% and Mr McEleny, 16.2% In the final round Mr Brown won by 55.2% to Ms Hepburn’s 44.8%.

The new deputy said the independence debate was “stirring” again. He said: “I believe passionately in independence for our country.

“Things are beginning to stir again. Tens of thousands of people are marching across the country, getting together for what is undoubtedly ahead.”

He said the recently published Growth Commission report has re-opened the debate.

He said: “Small independent countries can be more successful than their larger neighbours.”

He said he would be chairing three National Assemblies over the summer on renewing the independence campaign following the Growth Commission report.

The new Depute Leader said he would be engaging with trade unions, businesses and civic Scotland “to share their views”.

Mr Brown replaces previous Deputy leader Angus Robertson who stood down earlier this year. Mr Robertson had lost his Moray Westminster seat at the General Election last year.