Ian Blackford is due to stand down as an SNP MP in the next election.
The MP for Ross, Skye and Lochaber since the 2015 ruling came after he stepped down as leader of the SNP group in December.
Blackford said he had thought ‘long and hard’ about whether to stand in next year’s general election and was ‘privileged and honored to have people in my home constituency put their faith in me when of three elections”.
He added: “Having resigned as leader of the SNP Westminster, I have gone through a period of reflection on how best to help the party and the cause of independence – a cause I have campaigned for ever since. that I joined 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 realize their full potential, remains as strong as when I entered politics decades ago.
“While I will not be standing for Parliament in Westminster at the next election, I look forward to playing my part in continuing the campaign for Scottish independence and supporting our First Minister and the SNP as we are heading into the next election and beyond.”
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Indeed, during his time as leader of the SNP group at Westminster and when he was an MP, he never shied away from being noticed and frequently made the headlines for his interventions in parliament, notably with Boris Johnson.
Here are some of his most memorable moments:
1. When he was kicked out of parliament over a Brexit row
In 2018, SNP MPs walked out of Parliament during PMQs to protest Blackford’s expulsion.
The leader was kicked out because he refused to sit down on orders from John Bercow after asking the Commons to sit in private.
This was in protest at the lack of debate on what he called a “power grab” in the EU Withdrawal Bill.
Bercow said MPs could vote on the request for a private session at the end of PMQs – but when Blackford refused to sit down he was suspended for the rest of the day’s session.
His fellow SNP MPs followed him out of the chamber.
2. When he called Boris Johnson a ‘racist’
In June 2019, when Johnson’s premiership was in its infancy, Blackford brought up his controversial former subjectTelegraph columns in which he made a number of questionable comments about Muslim women, Africans and gay men.
He said: “I ask if the Prime Minister realizes that not only is the member racist, but he is fueling division in communities and has a history of dishonesty.
When he was challenged by then-Speaker of the House John Bercow, who urged him to ‘be extremely careful in the language he uses’ and told him to ‘weigh his words’, Blackford declined to withdraw his comments, saying:
“Mr. Speaker, I informed the MP, but the MP described Muslim women as ‘letterboxes’; described Africans as having ‘watermelon smiles’ and another disgusting insult which I would not honor never repeating.
“If that’s not racist, Mr President, I don’t know what is.”
3. When he said the workers didn’t want a hug from Boris Johnson
In 2020, Johnson said the government would continue “to put our arms around the people of this country who are going through a very difficult time” with programs to keep people working “and keep the economy moving” during Covid.
It was a metaphor, but the SNP leader didn’t like it.
“It’s so bad,” Blackford said, before discussing the need to protect jobs “today.” He requested that the furlough scheme be extended.
He said failure to do so would put 61,000 jobs in Scotland “at risk”.
“I can tell you that the last thing these 61,000 Scots are looking for is a hug from you.”
4. When he was kicked out of the House of Commons for saying Boris Johnson ‘cheated’ the House
In January, the SNP leader got himself into trouble when he kept saying Johnson had ‘cheated’ the house during a Partygate conversation. Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle asked him to withdraw his comment and replace it with inadvertently, instead of simply misleading the House.
Blackford replied: It’s not my fault the prime minister can’t be trusted to tell the truth and he was kicked out.
He received a lot of praise on social media, with commenters saying it was silly that he was taken down.
5. When he compared Boris Johnson to “Monty Python’s Black Knight”
In June, Blackford mocked Johnson over a vote of no confidence the former prime minister had just passed.
The Scottish politician compared the then Prime Minister to the Dark Knight, a comedy character from the 1975 film Monty Python and the Holy Grail who has all his limbs cut off in battle, before claiming that the mortal wounds are just “flesh wounds”.
He also called Johnson a “lame duck”.
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