Nicola Sturgeon resignation: Here are 9 contenders for who could be chosen as SNP leader

SNP members will vote next month

Nicola Sturgeon shocked everyone when she announced on Wednesday she was stepping down as First Minister. So who will step into her shoes?

Although Ms Sturgeon was the natural successor when Alex Salmond bowed out more than eight years ago, there is no obvious single candidate to take over from her. Deputy First Minister John Swinney has ruled himself out, but there are many others whose names have been mentioned in connection with the biggest job in the country.

It falls to SNP members to make the choice. They will pick a new leader for the party and that leader will then be endorsed by the Scottish Parliament as First Minister. Nominations for the leadership have already opened and those considering throwing their hats in the ring have until next Friday (24 February) to do so. The postal ballot of members will open on 13 March and close at noon on 27 March.

Edinburgh Central MSP Angus Robertson is the early favourite in the contest, but if Finance Secretary Kate Forbes decides to stand she will also be a frontrunner to succeed Ms Sturgeon. And after Edinburgh South West MP Joanna Cherry ruled herself out – she could not become First Minister as an MP – there is speculation that Edinburgh Eastern MSP Ash Regan could stand as the candidate of those unhappy about the gender reform agenda.

Here’s the run-down on some of the potential contenders with the odds from Betfair.