JOANNA Cherry has claimed that the SNP’s former leader at WestminsterIan Blackford, wants a peerage – suggesting it explains reports that he thinks the party should U-turn on its boycott of the chamber.

Cherry made the comment on social media in response to a story in the Times headlined: “Ian Blackford: Why SNP should stop opposing House of Lords membership.”

The story describes comments from the former SNP group leader made to student journalists during a meeting at Westminster, reporting that Blackford had “suggested the party should drop its opposition to membership of the House of Lords to increase nationalist influence in London”.

An SNP spokesperson strongly denied Blackford would take a seat in the House of Lords.

The Times reported that he had spoken of the possibility of an elected second chamber for Scotland after independence.

READ MORE: Yes supporters should sit in House of Lords, former chief strategist says

The SNP MP said that a change of policy would be “a question for the party, not a matter for me”, going on: “We are opposed to the House of Lords as it is constituted but if you get to the point of an independent Scotland, there is a legitimate debate about how many MSPs you need for a fully functioning parliament.

“I don’t think 129 is enough. Would you have some kind of elected senate in an independent Scotland to provide checks and balances? There would be a need to strengthen scrutiny, a need to have good governance.”

An SNP spokesperson said: “Ian is clear he would never take a seat in an unelected chamber and the unelected House of Lords should be abolished.

“The SNP does not take seats in the undemocratic Westminster institution which gives influence and power to the undeserving pals of Westminster parties like Tory peer Michelle Mone, who profited tens of millions of pounds from dodgy deals with the UK government during the pandemic.”

But Cherry, a prominent SNP MP who was demoted to the backbenches during Blackford’s time as group leader, claimed Blackford was seeking a peerage.

Responding to the story in the Times, she wrote: “Hhmmmm let me guess? [thinking emoji] Could it be because you want a peerage? [facepalm emoji]”.

The remarks come after Stephen Noon, the former chief strategist for Yes in the 2014 referendum, told The National that independence supporters should take seats in the Lords.

“I know the movement probably would react cautiously to this idea. I mean, the House of Lords is not our favourite institution – but it's there, and can we use it?” he said.

“Within the movement, we've got figures who are respected and experienced. I suppose the point I'm making is that we have this talent within the movement, wouldn't it be good to be able to deploy it?”