SNP Westminster group leader Ian Blackford has ruled himself out of the depute leadership race.

The MP for Ross, Skye and Lochaber had been considered the favourite to replace the position left vacant by Angus Robertson. Some SNP figures had even been concerned that Blackford would effectively be crowned the depute leader without challenge.

However, speaking to the Press and Journal, Blackford revealed he would not running for the position, stating that he was focused entirely on his constituents and leading the group of SNP MPs in the Westminster parliament.

Black said: “First and foremost for me it is an absolute privilege to be the MP for Ross, Skye and Lochaber. I think there is something special that comes from being a Highland MP.

“I am the Westminster leader and that is not something I anticipated. I am very much enjoying leading the group and I think there is an immense task over the coming period getting through the morass of Brexit.

“I take quite seriously the responsibilities I’ve got as leader in Westminster and supporting the government in Holyrood.

“If I was depute leader as well, something would have to give. I think it is maybe simply too much to ask.”

Blackford confirmed that he is looking forward to working with whoever becomes depute leader, and has no intention of leaving his position as SNP group leader in the UK parliament.

Glasgow MSP James Dornan is still the only candidate to have officially announced their intention to run for the position, though there is much speculation over other potential candidates such as Edinburgh MP Tommy Sheppard, Perth MP Pete Wishart and Aberdeen North MP Kirsty Blackman.

The results of the leadership race are expected to be announced at the SNP party conference in June.