Ian Blackford denies rumours he is due to quit as SNP Westminster leader

Ian Blackford has denied rumours he is preparing to quit as the SNP’s Westminster leader.

The MP for Ross, Skye and Lochaber said the claims were “utter nonsense” and “total c**p”.

He said: ”I have got a job to do leading the group. I am fully focused on doing so and I intend to lead us through all the challenges we face and to stand by the side of the First Minister ready for the campaign ahead.”

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

It comes amid reports of a row between Mr Blackford and senior MPs Alyn Smith and Stewart McDonald, the party’s foreign affairs and defence spokesmen, over concerns they were freelancing in their portfolios.

SNP Westminster leader Ian BlackfordSNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford
SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford
Read More
Nicola Sturgeon rejects call to ‘deal a blow to Putin’ by maximising North Sea o...

Mr Smith has rejected claims of a confrontation as “total garbage”.

Mr McDonald wrote on Twitter: “All of this is literally made up by people with the luxury of too much time on their hands.”

Politico reported Mr Blackford “may be preparing to ditch his role as the SNP’s chief at Westminster”, but furious insiders said there was no truth to this.

Mr Blackford has been the SNP’s Westminster leader since 2017, after Angus Robertson, who is now an SNP minister in Holyrood, lost his seat as an MP.

However, rumours about his future have grown in recent months.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon recently reiterated her desire to hold a second independence referendum before the end of 2023.

The UK Government is unlikely to agree to this, paving the way for a constitutional clash that could end up in the courts.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Mr Blackford recently sparked controversy after insisting pension obligations in Scotland will be met by the UK Government should the country become independent.

Labour’s shadow Scottish secretary Ian Murray said the SNP are in “total disarray at Westminster”.

He said: “Ian Blackford’s ridiculous claims on pensions in an independent Scotland have been thoroughly debunked, and now even his own MPs can see that he was wrong.

“The SNP has refused to back Labour’s plan for a windfall tax on the enormous profits of oil companies, and it now seems they are entering a civil war.

“At the next general election, Scots can choose MPs who can do so much more than just oppose the Tories while fighting amongst themselves. By voting Labour, we can replace the Tories altogether.”



Want to join the conversation? Please or to comment on this article.