Membership of the SNP in Na h-Eileanan an Iar has risen by 15% in the last two weeks.

This follows the Westminster power-grab protest which saw SNP MPs walk-out of Prime Minister’s Questions in protest.

Meanwhile, ministerial responsibility for the Islands and for Gaelic has been confirmed following the recent reshuffle.

This significant rise in Isles SNP membership, which follows the national trend, is welcomed by the local Constituency Association together with Na h-Eileanan an Iar’s MSP Alasdair Allan, MP Angus B MacNeil and the SNP Group at Comhairle nan Eilean Siar.

Alasdair Allan MSP said: “The rise in membership in the SNP locally and nationally in recent days reflects a growing realisation that Westminster has no respect for the Scottish Parliament and its powers, or for the views of Scotland’s MPs in the Commons.  More and more people realise this situation can’t continue.”

Angus MacNeil MP added: “I am delighted to see that even more people in Na h-Eileanan an Iar are joining Scotland’s Party.

“The wants and needs of Scotland continue to be ignored by Westminster and this reality is hitting home in our islands and across Scotland.  I will continue to stand up for our islands and Scotland.

“We would warmly welcome even more people to join us in the SNP.”

Councillor Gordon Murray, SNP Group Leader at Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, said: “I am hugely encouraged by the rise of membership and it is evidence indeed that the SNP are the party fighting for social justice.

"Our group at CnES will continue to fight for our communities and protect the services they value alongside like-minded independent councillors."

Margaret Martin, Convenor of the local SNP Constituency Association said: “There is much frustration that Scotland is being ignored and a growing SNP membership locally and nationally will help ensure Scotland’s voice is heard.  It is really easy to join you can sign up online at https://join.snp.org/#/join or call 0131 525 8925.”

Following the recent Ministerial shake-up, the new Scottish Government minister with responsibility for the Islands is Paul Wheelhouse - whose full title is Minister for Energy, Connectivity and the Islands.

His specific responsibilities are:

  • energy and energy consents
  • renewable energy industries
  • connectivity including 100% broadband
  • cross government co-ordination on islands

Born in Belfast, Paul was raised in Edinburgh, attending Stewart's Melville College. He has an Honours degree in Economics from the University of Aberdeen and an MBA from the University of Edinburgh. He has lived in Berwickshire since 2000‬.

‪Paul is a professional economist and, since 1992, had specialised in higher and further education markets, policy evaluation and economic appraisal and impact assessment of capital projects.‬

Between May 2011 and September 2012 Paul served on the Scottish Parliament's Finance Committee, and the Standards, Procedures and Public Appointments Committee. And was the Parliamentary Liaison Officer to the Cabinet Secretary for Parliamentary Business and Government Strategy of the Scottish Government. Previously, between May 2011 and Feb 2012, Paul served as Parliamentary Liaison Officer for the Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and Environment and the Minister for Climate Change.‬

Prior to taking his Ministerial position Paul was a member of cross-party groups on Epilepsy, Rural Policy, Armed forces Veterans, Funerals and Bereavement, Boating and Marine Tourism and deputy convener of Sport. Paul Wheelhouse was appointed Minister for Business, Innovation and Energy in May 2016.

Meanwhile Deputy First Minister John Swinney confirmed on Twitter: "It has been my privilege to have responsibility for Gaelic since 2016 and that has not changed."