5 of Ian Blackford's best moments as he is to stand down as SNP MP at next election

5 of Ian Blackford's best moments as he is to stand down as SNP MP at next election
Ian Blackford resigns as SNP leader at Westminster

Ian Blackford is to stand down as an SNP MP at the next election.

The MP for Ross, Skye and Lochaber since 2015's decision came after he stepped down as SNP group leader in December.

Blackford said he had thought "long and hard" whether to stand in next year's general election and that he was "privileged and humbled that people across my home constituency have put their trust in me at three elections".

He added: "Having stood down as SNP Westminster leader, I have gone through a period of reflection as to how I can best assist the party and the cause of independence - a cause I have campaigned for since joining the SNP as a teenager in the 1970s.

"My desire to see Scotland become an independent country, and for our country and its people to achieve its full potential, remains as strong as when I first entered politics decades ago.

"Although I will not be standing for the Westminster Parliament at the next election, I look forward to playing my part in the continuing campaign for Scottish independence and supporting our first minister and the SNP as we go forward to the next election and beyond."

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Indeed during his time as leader of the SNP group in Westminster and when he was an MP he never shied away from the spotlight and frequently made headlines for his interventions in parliament, particular with Boris Johnson.

Here are some of his most memorable moments:

1. When he got kicked out of parliament over a Brexit row

In 2018, SNP MPs walked out of parliament during PMQs to protest Blackford being kicked out.

The leader was kicked out because he had refused to sit down when ordered to by John Bercow having asked for the Commons to sit in private.

This was in protest at a lack of debate on what he said was a "power grab" in the EU Withdrawal Bill.

Bercow said MPs could vote on the request for a private sitting at the end of PMQs - but when Blackford refused to sit back down he was suspended for the rest of the day's sitting.

His fellow SNP MPs followed him out of the chamber.

2. When he called Boris Johnson "racist"

In June 2019, when Johnson's premiership was in its infancy, Blackford brought up his old controversialTelegraph columns in which he made a number of dodgy comments about Muslim women, African people and homosexual men.

He said: "I ask does the prime minister realise, not only is the member racist, he is stoking division in communities, and has a record of dishonesty.

When he was challenged by the then speaker of the House John Bercow, who urged him to "be extremely careful in the language that he uses" and told him to "weigh his words", Blackford refused to withdraw his comments, saying:

"Mr Speaker I have informed the member, but the member has described Muslim women as 'letterboxes'; described African people as having 'watermelon smiles' and another disgusting slur that I would never dignify by repeating.

"If that's not racist, Mr Speaker, I don't know what is."

3. When he said workers didn't want a hug from Boris Johnson

In 2020, Johnson said the government would continue "to put our arms round the people in this country going through a very tough time" with schemes to keep people in work "and keep the economy moving" during Covid.

It was a metaphor, but the SNP leader didn't like it.

"That's so poor," Blackford said, before talking about the need to protect jobs "today". He called for the furlough scheme to be extended.

He said not doing so would put 61,000 jobs in Scotland "at risk".

"I can tell you the last thing those 61,000 Scots are looking for is a hug from you".

Savage stuff.

4. When he got kicked out of the commons for saying Boris Johnson "misled" the house

In January the SNP leader got into a spot of bother when he kept saying Johnson "misled" the house during a conversation about Partygate. Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle asked him to withdraw his comment and replace it with “inadvertently”, instead of just “misled the House”.

Blackford responded: “It’s not my fault if the prime minister can’t be trusted to tell the truth” and was booted out.

He received a lot of praise on social media, with commentators saying it was silly he had been removed.

5. When he compared Boris Johnson to 'Monty Python's Black Knight'

In June Blackford mocked Johnson over a no-confidence vote the former PM had just scraped through.

The Scottish politician compared the then PM to the Black Knight – a comedy character from the 1975 film Monty Python And The Holy Grail who gets all of his limbs chopped off in battle, before claiming that the mortal injuries are mere "flesh wounds".

He also called Johnson "a lame duck" PM.

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