IAN Blackford has slammed claims that he is set to quit as SNP Westminster leader as “total crap”.

The party’s Westminster chief was asked about a report on Politico on Thursday morning, suggesting he will “imminently” be departing the role he has held since 2017.

According to the report, officials said Blackford had clashed with senior SNP MPs Alyn Smith and Stewart McDonald earlier this year – and it was hinted that the pair may be looking to take on the top job themselves. However, Stirling MP Smith said this claim was “total garbage” from people with “too much time on their hands”.

Another source alleged that Blackford “can’t be f*****” with the travelling between London and his Ross, Skye and Lochaber constituency.

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In total, four party officials said they believed Blackford would be quitting his position before the May elections.

But the MP wasn’t having it when he addressed the suggestions from Heathrow airport on Thursday.

He branded the claims “utter nonsense” and added: ”I have got a job to do leading the group I am fully focused on doing so and I intend to lead us through all the challenges we face and to stand by the side of the First Minister ready for the campaign ahead.

“I am relaxed about things, I have no intention of going anywhere."

Asked if there was any truth in the claims, Blackford told The National: "None whatsoever."

The report comes after First Minister Nicola Sturgeon confirmed her intention to go ahead with indyref2 next year.

The National:

It was in the party’s 2021 manifesto to have a vote in this parliamentary term, and Sturgeon told LBC on Wednesday that her thinking and plans haven’t changed.

Her comments followed Blackford’s suggestion that the indyref timetable should be flexible due to the invasion of Ukraine.

Sturgeon said: “We, right now, should be reminded, above all else, how lucky we are to live in a free democracy where we can put forward our case for political constitutional change, argue that case passionately, whatever our views on that might be, and trust people to decide.”