Scotland politics

Ian Blackford MP elected SNP Westminster leader

Ian Blackford Image copyright SNP
Image caption Ian Blackford was elected by his SNP colleagues at Westminster

The MP for Ross, Skye and Lochaber Ian Blackford has become the SNP's new Westminster leader.

He has taken over from Angus Robertson who was defeated at last week's general election.

The party also announced that Kirsty Blackman MP has been elected as its new deputy group leader.

Mr Blackford said it was an "honour and a privilege to be elected to lead the SNP's strong and talented team of MPs during such a crucial period".

The new group leader will get to quiz Theresa May every week at Prime Minister's Questions, making it a high-profile role.

Two other SNP MPs, Joanna Cherry and Drew Hendy, contested the Westminster leader position. A fourth candidate, Edinburgh East MP Tommy Sheppard, withdrew from the contest on Tuesday, saying it was clear he did not have enough support to win.

Party leader Nicola Sturgeon said she was "delighted" to see Mr Blackford elected.

Former investment banker

She added: "Ian has formidable professional and political experience and has played a key role in the last two years as part of the effective opposition to the Tory government.

"Ian has led our work opposing Tory benefit cuts, and supporting the WASPI women - supporting vulnerable people across the country in the face of callous Tory policies."

A former investment banker, Mr Blackford was the party's treasurer before falling out with then-leader Alex Salmond, which resulted in him being suspended by the party in June 2000.

But it was announced in 2015 that Mr Blackford would be the SNP's candidate in Ross, Skye and Lochaber in that year's general election, which saw him defeat former Liberal Democrat leader Charles Kennedy.

He went on to hold the seat in last Thursday's election with a majority of nearly 6,000 over the Conservatives - the second largest enjoyed by any SNP MP.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Angus Robertson lost his Moray seat last week

Mr Robertson, who is also the SNP's deputy leader, had won widespread praise for his performance at PMQs, with many political opponents commending his forensic questioning of the prime minister.

But he became one of the most high-profile SNP casualties in last week's election when he lost his Moray seat to Conservative MSP Douglas Ross.

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites