Ian Blackford

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The Right Honourable
Ian Blackford
Official portrait of Ian Blackford crop 2.jpg
Official Parliamentary photo, 2017
Leader of the Scottish National Party in the House of Commons
Assumed office
14 June 2017
Deputy Kirsty Blackman
Preceded by Angus Robertson
Member of Parliament
for Ross, Skye and Lochaber
Assumed office
8 May 2015
Preceded by Charles Kennedy
Majority 5,919 (15.4%)
Personal details
Born (1961-05-14) 14 May 1961 (age 57)
Edinburgh, Scotland
Political party Scottish National Party
Website Official website

Ian Blackford MP (born 14 May 1961) is a Scottish National Party (SNP) politician who, since May 2015, has been the Member of Parliament (MP) for Ross, Skye and Lochaber. Originally from Edinburgh, he previously worked as an investment banker and has been involved with various business ventures since. He was the party's National Treasurer from 1999 to 2000. Since 14 June 2017 Blackford has been the leader of the SNP Westminster Group.

Early life[edit]

Blackford was educated at the Royal High School in Edinburgh.[1]

Early and political career[edit]

Banking and business[edit]

Blackford worked as an analyst with NatWest Securities,[2] before moving to a managerial role. The company was bought by BT Alex. Brown, and Blackford became the managing director.[3] After further integration into Deutsche Bank AG in 1999, Blackford ran Deutsche Bank's equity operations in Scotland and the Netherlands.[4] Following 20 years in the financial industry, he left to do independent consultancy work, forming an investor relations company called First Seer in 2002.[5]

In 2005, Blackford joined the Dutch baking products company CSM as an investor relations manager.[6] He was appointed non-executive chairman of the Edinburgh-based telecommunications firm Commsworld in 2006,[7] having joined the board as a non-executive director in 2005.[5][8] He is a trustee at the Golden Charter Trust.[9] In 2013, he helped explain the business case for not closing a primary school in Milngavie when East Dunbartonshire Council had proposed closure.[10]

He is a prominent supporter of Hibernian football club.[11]

Glendale Trust[edit]

He was previously the chairman of the Glendale Trust, an organisation responsible for a community-owned estate on Skye, which made an approach to Highland Council to bring a historic pier under community control.[12] Under his chairmanship, support was secured for establishing a heritage centre in 2010.[13] He had also been a member of the FlySkye group, campaigning to bring commercial air services back to Skye.[14][15]

Political career[edit]

Blackford stood as the SNP candidate for the Ayr constituency at the 1997 general election, but was not elected.

Later in the year, he stood as the Scottish National Party (SNP) candidate in the Paisley 1997 by-election[16] but yet again, he was unsuccessful; with the contest having had the lowest turnout at a by-election in Scotland for thirty years.

Blackford had been treasurer of the SNP and during this time he began to be viewed as a critic of the party leader, Alex Salmond.[17] Blackford was removed from the post in 2000, after he had tried to impose financial controls to tackle the party's overdraft.[18] However, the limits for expenditure which he set were not adhered to.[19] Blackford's reputedly hard line over financial matters had led to a breakdown of trust between the national executive and him.[20]

Blackford has argued for better telecommunication infrastructure for rural areas, noting that video-conferencing is one way of overcoming travel time and in the absence of air links.[21] Following the financial crisis of 2007–08 he has made calls for Scotland to have its own financial regulator, to protect society from irresponsible practices.[22][23] Blackford has also suggested that a zero rate of capital gains tax could help Scotland to attract investment.[24]

Following the independence referendum in September 2014, Blackford argued that Scotland should consider the constitutional change offered by the Westminster parties.[25] He was the author of a report which had explored options for the banking sector in Scotland, had the country voted to become independent.[26]

In January 2015, it was announced that Blackford would be the SNP candidate for Ross, Skye and Lochaber at the 2015 general election.[27] He received 20,119 votes and 48.1% of the vote, defeating the former Liberal Democrat party leader and incumbent MP, Charles Kennedy; by 5,124 votes.[28] Kennedy died less than a month later.

SNP Westminister leader[edit]

He was re-elected at the 2017 general election. On 14 June 2017, he was elected as leader of the SNP Westminster Group, succeeding Angus Robertson who had lost his seat.[29] On 19 July he was appointed a member of the Privy Council.[30] Additionally, he serves as a member of the secret Intelligence and Security Committee, which scrutinises the work of the UK intelligence agencies.

PMQs walkout[edit]

During the 13 June, 2018 session of Prime Minister's Questions, Blackford, along with almost all sitting Scottish National Party MPs, walked out of the House of Commons after Blackford raised a question to Prime Minister Theresa May regarding both no Scottish MP being given time to debate the Scotland-related areas of the EU Withdrawal Bill the previous night (when an English MP filibustered to prevent Scottish MPs from speaking) and wanting the chamber to immediately have a vote on the motion to sit in private. Blackford was irate in asking the question and was instructed numerous times by Speaker John Bercow to resume his seat so the Prime Minister could answer his question. Blackford refused to do this as a protest to "Scotland's voice not being heard". Eventually, Bercow used Standing Order 42 to eject Blackford from the chamber, which Blackford complied with, followed by almost every SNP MP. This was the first time that any such incident as this had ever occurred during Prime Minister's Questions as well as the House of Commons. The incident was broadcast on live television on the BBC and Sky News due to the publicity PMQs regularly brings.


  1. ^ "Results of by-elections to the 52nd United Kingdom Parliament". election.demon.co.uk. Retrieved 18 April 2015. 
  2. ^ Bagli, Charles V. (24 June 1997). "Reed Elsevier Is Purchasing Disney Unit for $447 Million". The New York Times. Retrieved 18 April 2015. 
  3. ^ Bain, Simon (19 September 1998). "Defectors launch rival firm". The Herald. Retrieved 19 July 2015. 
  4. ^ "Bankers dismiss independence fears". The Courier (Dundee). 13 September 2014. Archived from the original on 22 January 2015. 
  5. ^ a b "Executive Profile: Ian Blackford". Bloomberg Business. Retrieved 17 April 2015. 
  6. ^ Human, Tim (10 January 2012). "iPad winner puts tablet to work". IR magazine. Retrieved 18 April 2015. 
  7. ^ "Commsworld heads towards expansion after turnover rise". The Scotsman. 6 February 2006. Retrieved 17 April 2015. 
  8. ^ "Telecoms company's success is more than just talk". The Scotsman. 23 August 2005. Retrieved 17 April 2015. 
  9. ^ "About us". Golden Charter Trust. Retrieved 20 January 2015. 
  10. ^ "Bearsden traders warn that schools closure could be catastrophic". Milngavie & Bearsden Herald. Johnston Press. 18 January 2013. Retrieved 18 April 2015. 
  11. ^ Brown, Anthony (13 June 2014). "Sir Tom Farmer brought Rod Petrie along to meeting with Petrie Out". The Scotsman. Retrieved 17 April 2015. 
  12. ^ "Glendale Trust may take over Meanish Pier on Skye". BBC News. BBC. 15 May 2012. 
  13. ^ "Trust aims to tell tale of crofters' victory in new heritage centre". The Scotsman. 10 January 2010. Retrieved 17 April 2015. 
  14. ^ "Flights to and from Skye could start in 2014 group says". BBC News. 6 June 2013. 
  15. ^ MacKenzie, Keith (17 April 2015). "Skye air service campaigners to meet CAA". West Highland Free Press. Archived from the original on 17 April 2015. 
  16. ^ "Special Report: Paisley by election. Low-key campaign in Paisley after Labour MP's suicide". BBC News. 4 November 1997. 
  17. ^ Ritchie, Murray (24 September 1999). "Tax and spend image attacked by treasurer". The Herald. Newsquest. Retrieved 19 July 2015. 
  18. ^ Bell, Alex; Kemp, Arnold (18 June 2000). "Rivalry rocks the SNP". The Observer. Guardian Media Group. Retrieved 17 April 2015. 
  19. ^ "Party exile attacks leadership". BBC News. 14 June 2000. Retrieved 17 April 2015. 
  20. ^ Ritchie, Murray (13 June 2000). "Bitter feud puts SNP in turmoil Treasurer threatens to sue party leader for defamation unless Salmond apologises for remarks". The Herald. Newsquest. Retrieved 19 July 2015. 
  21. ^ Fraser, Douglas (1 July 2012). "Taking flight to Skye". BBC News. 
  22. ^ "Ian Blackford: Could prompt government action have saved HBOS?". The Scotsman. Johnston Press. 1 October 2008. Retrieved 18 April 2015. 
  23. ^ Davidson, Lorraine (8 July 2012). "Scotland 'needs own regulatory regime' to tackle reckless bankers". The Sunday Times. News UK. Retrieved 21 January 2015. 
  24. ^ Allardyce, Jason (5 May 2013). "Abolish CGT, says former SNP treasurer". The Sunday Times. News UK. Retrieved 17 April 2015. 
  25. ^ Peterkin, Tom (21 September 2014). "Former treasurer suggests SNP 'go for Home Rule'". Scotland on Sunday. Johnston Press. Retrieved 17 April 2015. 
  26. ^ Wilson, Fraser (29 May 2014). "RBS should be broken up and Scottish arm nationalised in an independent Scotland, says pro-Yes group". Daily Record. Trinity Mirror. Retrieved 17 April 2015. 
  27. ^ Falconer, Lisa (20 January 2015). "Ian Blackford selected as SNP candidate for Ross, Skye and Lochaber". West Highland Free Press. Retrieved 22 January 2015. 
  28. ^ "Ross, Skye & Lochaber parliamentary constituency - Election 2017" – via www.bbc.co.uk. 
  29. ^ "Ian Blackford MP elected SNP Westminster leader". BBC News. 14 June 2017. Retrieved 15 June 2017. 
  30. ^ https://privycouncil.independent.gov.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/2017-07-19-List-of-Business-Part-1.pdf

External links[edit]

Party political offices
Preceded by
Kenny MacAskill
Treasurer of the Scottish National Party
Succeeded by
Jim Mather
Preceded by
Angus Robertson
Leader of the Scottish National Party in the House of Commons
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Charles Kennedy
Member of Parliament
for Ross, Skye and Lochaber