Tory apologises for calling PM 'a liar'

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Indy Politics

A Tory backbencher yesterday apologised for calling the Prime Minister a liar during question time. It coincided with a warning to the Scottish Parliament that such unparliamentary language would not be allowed.

James Gray, Tory MP for North Wiltshire, admitted it was "inexcusable" he had remained silent when Betty Boothroyd, the Speaker, asked the culprit to identify himself.

Mr Gray called Tony Blair a "liar" after the Prime Minister rejected William Hague's attacks over the tax burden.

In a Commons statement, Mr Gray said: "It was I who, from a sedentary position, accused the Prime Minister of being a liar. I recognise that was unparliamentary language and I happily withdraw it. Madam Speaker, when you then asked who the culprit was, I fear that I remained silent. In retrospect, I realise that was inexcusable. I therefore apologise to you and to the House, both for my remark and for my silence after it."

Earlier, MSPs were told by Sir David Steel, the Presiding Office, that they could not call each other liars in the Parliament. Sir David was ruling on a point of order brought by SNP MSP Fergus Ewing, following a debate last week.