Ian Blackford named SNP Westminster group leader

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Ian Blackford has been named as the new leader of the SNP group at Westminster.

The MP for Ross, Skye and Lochaber was confirmed in the roll this afternoon.

Ian Blackford, MP for Ross, Skye and Lochaber, is the new leader of the SNP group at Westminster.

Ian Blackford, MP for Ross, Skye and Lochaber, is the new leader of the SNP group at Westminster.

He replaces Angus Robertson who failed to hold the Moray constituency at last week’s general election.

The 56-year-old will be responsible for leading the third largest grouping of MPs in the House at a time when no party has an overall majority.

In a statement, he said: “It is an honour and a privilege to be elected to lead the SNP’s strong and talented team of MPs during such a crucial period.

“As Scotland’s leading party at Westminster, and the third party across the UK, the SNP has a huge opportunity in this parliament to stand up for Scotland’s interests.

“The hung parliament means that SNP MPs will have more influence than ever before, and with crucial Brexit negotiations on the horizon it has never been more important to make Scotland’s voice heard.

“SNP MPs will work hard to ensure Scotland has a seat at the Brexit negotiating table, and to protect our vital membership of the Single Market and customs union.

“We will work to bring an end to austerity and to support progressive policies in Scotland, and across the UK, at every turn.

“SNP MPs will work harder than ever to stand up for all people and parts of Scotland, and make our country the best it can be.”

Blackford, originally from Edinburgh, was first elected to the House of Commons in 2015 when he won the seat previously held by former Lib Dem leader Charles Kennedy.

He worked as an equities manager for Deutsche Bank before leaving the financial services industry to take on independent consultancy work.

Blackford twice stood as an SNP candidate in 1997, at a by-election in Paisley and in that year’s general election, but lost out to Labour candidates.

He later served as treasurer of the party from 1999-2000.