POLITICS: SNP knives are out for Westminster leader Blackford

Top of page picture: SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford (left) with First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and local MPs Martin Docherty and Brendan O’Hara.

Senior figures from the party stepped in to persuade colleagues to put the knives away

By Lucy Ashton

The SNP’s Westminster leader Ian Blackford has reportedly quashed an attempt to oust him from his role.

The Times reported that senior figures from the party had stepped in to quell a planned uprising against him.

It came after reports that Aberdeen South MP and energy spokesman Stephen Flynn, pictured RIGHT,  had informed officials of his intention to lead the group in the Commons.

The newspaper said that Flynn was confident he had the support in a divided and mutinous SNP group required to oust Blackford.

Shortly after the story was released, Flynn tweeted: “As much as I love seeing photos from the days when I was still clinging on to some hair, I can confirm I’ve no intention of standing.”

The paper added that it was understood Blackford’s allies persuaded Flynn to back down shortly before Blackford was due to appear on the BBC’s Question Time programme.

Blackford faced criticism after a leaked recording emerged, in which he urged his colleagues to “rally around” the party’s former chief whip Patrick Grady, who was found guilty by the Commons authorities of sexually harassing a young member of staff.

Scottish Conservative chairman Craig Hoy MSP, pictured left, said: “The removal of Ian Blackford by his fellow SNP MPs would be a humiliation for Nicola Sturgeon.

“Shamefully she stood by him earlier this year despite how appallingly he handled the complaints made about Patrick Grady.

“In that case Ian Blackford put the needs of the perpetrator above a complainer who had bravely come forward.

“The fact that Nicola Sturgeon was prepared to stand by him spoke volumes about her lack of judgement.

“With SNP MPs now on manoeuvres to try and remove their Westminster leader, it is clear that they are in disarray and Nicola Sturgeon is losing her grip.”

The SNP declined to comment.

SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford speaks during Prime Minister’s Questions 

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