The SNP’s newly elected Westminster leader has described the prospect of a second independence referendum as an “insurance policy.”
The Ross, Skye and Lochaber MP Ian Blackford beat off competition from Joanna Cherry and Drew Hendry to become leader of the party’s 35-strong group in the Commons yesterday.
He will replace Angus Robertson who lost his Moray seat in last week’s election.
Mr Blackford says he will be speaking with Nicola Sturgeon as she considers her plans for a second referendum after the party suffered major losses in last week’s vote.
“We also always said that we wanted to compromise, that we wanted to protect Scotland’s position,” he told STV News last night.
“Any independence referendum – if it were to happen – is an insurance policy on the future of Scotland being impacted by a hard Tory Brexit that damages our interests.”
It marks a return to the party hierarchy for Mr Blackford who was suspended as SNP Treasurer 17 years ago after a fall-out with Alex Salmond in a row over claims of leaked documents. The pair are said to have clashed after Mr Blackford set out plans to sign off all expenses claims, including Mr Salmond’s, exceeding £200.