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Ian Blackford denies claims he plans to quit as SNP Westminster leader

Ian Blackford has rubbished claims he will quit his role.
Ian Blackford.

SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford said claims he plans to quit his senior party role are “total crap”.

The Ross, Skye and Lochaber MP denied reports, published by Politico Europe, that he could resign from his post ahead of this May’s council elections.

It was claimed that Mr Blackford was set to quit as leader due to renewed party infighting and the heavy demands of the role.

But the SNP politician rubbished claims he is standing down and insisted he is focused on helping to push for independence.

The party Westminster chief was backed up by SNP defence spokesperson Stewart McDonald.

Quit claims ‘made up’

The Glasgow MP said the claims had been “made up” by “people with too much time on their hands”.

Ian Blackford told the Daily Record: “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.”

Politico’s Playbook report suggested discontent had been brewing with Mr Blackford’s leadership due to controversial MP Joanna Cherry’s presence in the party.

One source also told the publication Mr Blackford had grown tired in the senior role which he has now occupied for five years.

The Highland MP took up the Westminster leader post after the 2017 general election when predecessor Angus Robertson lost his seat.

Indyref2 delay

At the weekend Mr Blackford hinted a second independence referendum could be delayed beyond 2023 due to the Ukraine crisis.

Nicola Sturgeon previously said she hopes to hold another vote on leaving the UK by the end of next year.

But Mr Blackford admitted any rerun of the 2014 independence ballot would have to be held in a timely manner following Russia’s invasion.

The Westminster party chief also indicated Boris Johnson should not be expected to resign during the crisis despite the partygate scandal.

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