IAN Blackford has not ruled out whether he will stand for election at Holyrood, saying there “is still life in the old dog yet”.

The SNP’s former leader at Westminster leader made the evasive comment as he appeared at the final of Iain Dale and Jacqui Smith’s All Talk Live shows at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe on Sunday.

Blackford had already announced he would not be running for election again in June as a member of the UK parliament but when asked whether he would stand at the Scottish Parliament election in 2026, he did not completely rule it out.

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The Ross, Skye, and Lochaber MP said: “I have no ambitions as things stand to put myself forward for the Scottish Parliament. I’m standing down from Westminster, but I’ll put it this way, there’s still life in the old dog yet.”

However, he did not completely rule out the prospect of standing as an MSP in his lifetime.

Blackford added he is “desperate” to see Scotland flourish for future generations, and cited his publishing of an independent report into growing the Scottish economy before and after a Yes vote.

He said he is “discussing with Humza [Yousaf] (below) whether it is in parliament or in another way” that he is best placed to carry out the work he is “passionate” about.

The National: Humza Yousaf

The MP also defended the Bute House Agreement in the face of calls from his constituency representative counterpart, Kate Forbes, calling for a “check in” with members on whether to continue the governing deal between the SNP and the Scottish Greens.

When asked if the agreement had made it difficult for the SNP to govern in the highlands and island difficult, he said: “No, absolutely not. The Bute House Agreement remains the right thing to do”.

He added that he was “glad” HPMAs were removed by the First Minister as “it wasn’t the right way to proceed” but was adamant a policy is needed for the fishing community.

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Blackford was also asked by an audience member for his opinion on Scotland United. He said he would “work with those across the Yes movement” but added, that when it comes to the Alba Party, “any scope for electoral alliance is, I’m afraid, for the birds”.  

He said: “Let’s just remember that we had the council elections in Scotland not that long ago where 1500 seats were up for grabs and Alba won zero, not one.”