NICOLA Sturgeon has said she is “confident” the SNP’s Westminster leader will hold his seat in the general election after reports of an electoral pact to oust him.

The Times reported Labour and the Tories intended to soft-pedal in Ross, Skye and Lochaber in order to help the Liberal Democrats topple Ian Blackford.

The seat was held by former LibDem leader Charles Kennedy until Mr Blackford won it in 2015 in one of the most bitter campaigns of recent memory. Mr Kennedy died three weeks later.

LibDem Craig Harrow is now trying to regain it for the party.

In 2017, Labour and Tories won 14,436 votes combined, more than double Mr Blackford’s majority of 5,919.

The LibDems came third, but are seen as the main challengers next month after the party’s revival under Jo Swinson.

At First Minister’s Questions, Ms Sturgeon said of the reported Labour-Tory pact: “I am confident that Ian Blackford will see that off without too much difficulty.”

In 2017, Ms Sturgeon also said she was confident that the SNP’s then Westminster leader, Angus Robertson, would see off a Tory challenge in Moray.

He lost by 4,159 votes.