Former Deputy First Minister John Swinney is poised to become the new leader of the SNP, after a potential challenger withdrew his bid at the 11th hour.

Last night veteran SNP activist Graeme McCormick announced that although he had the support to go ahead with his nomination, he’d decided not to proceed.

Nominations close at midday. Prof Nicola McEwan of the University of Glasgow told the Good Morning Scotland programme that the party is hoping no last minute challengers to Swinney emerge.

“If we get to midday and there are no other people putting themselves forward, I think that the SNP headquarters will be breathing a sigh of relief.”

The SNP does not want a leadership contest to succeed Humza Yousaf, she said.

Prof McEwan added: “I expect some conversations were had.

“There was a piece in the National that seemed to suggest that Mr McCormick’s concerns were not about the leadership election at all, but about the party’s path to independence.”