Boris Johnson ‘has demonstrated himself to be liar’, SNP’s Ian Blackford claims

The Prime Minister should be ‘censured’ for ‘scandal after scandal’ on his watch, Ian Blackford told the Commons.

David Lynch
Tuesday 30 November 2021 17:57 GMT
Ian Blackford (UK Parliament)
Ian Blackford (UK Parliament) (PA Media)

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Louise Thomas

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Boris Johnson “has demonstrated himself to be liar”, according to SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford

The Prime Minister should be “censured” for “scandal after scandal” on his watch, he told the Commons.

Mr Blackford called for Conservative MPs to join opposition parties in criticising Boris Johnson’s conduct, otherwise it would show there is “one rule for them and one rule for everybody else”.

Speaking during the SNP’s Opposition Day debate on the conduct of Mr Johnson, Mr Blackford said: “Month after month, scandal after scandal – the charge sheet gets longer and longer, but not one single person is ever held to account. If the public is to have any confidence in this place then that needs to change today.

“Because unless the Prime Minister faces consequences – unless he is censured – he won’t just think he’s gotten away with the mess he has made of the last few months, he will think he can do it all over again.

“And let’s be very clear – if the Prime Minister isn’t properly censured today, it will also be final proof that the Tories really do believe that it’s one rule for them and one rule for everybody else.

I can only conclude that the Prime Minister has demonstrated himself to be a liar.

Ian Blackford

“They might want to forget, but the public definitely haven’t. The Tories marched through the lobbies to undermine our parliamentary standards process, to tear up the rule books – all in order to protect a friend of the Prime Minister who was found to have broken the rules.”

He added: “And on the basis of all the evidence, I can only conclude that the Prime Minister has repeatedly broken the sixth principle of public life. I can only conclude that the Prime Minister has demonstrated himself to be a liar.”

He went on: “The difference between this Prime Minister and John Major was that Major took action to address the sleaze and corruption. This Prime Minister is at the centre of the sleaze and corruption – he is orchestrating much of it.”

Deputy Commons Speaker Dame Eleanor Laing had warned Mr Blackford and other MPs taking part in the debate to use “temperate” and “parliamentary” language, saying: “Those speaking in favour of the motion should set out their arguments clearly. Intemperate abuse is as out of order on this motion as much as on any other.”

However, she said a relaxation of the rules would be allowed because the debate was about Boris Johnson’s conduct specifically, adding: “In this particular case, because it is a substantive motion of this kind, arguments intended to criticise or defend that conduct are in order, therefore things may be said which the chair would not normally permit in other proceedings.”

Mr Blackford said: “The Prime Minster has to respect democracy. He denies democracy when he stuffs the Lords with his Tory donor friends.

“But he must respect democracy when people in Scotland have voted for a parliament that has a right to call a referendum, to take us out of this toxic union.”

Responding, Cabinet Office minister Michael Ellis said Mr Blackford “opts to launch pantomime season in the month of November, complete with an over-the-top characterisation of the Prime Minster, who clearly he wishes would disappear in a puff of smoke”.

Mr Johnson, he added, was a “hugely popular Prime Minister of this country, who returned this House with an 80-seat majority and is getting on with the job of building back better”.

He emphasised that the UK Government was “committed to levelling-up across Scotland”, and that Scotland was receiving £41 billion a year in Barnett Formula-based funding.

Mr Johnson faced a censure motion in the Commons for “frequently violating” the principle of honesty in public office.

The SNP motion also highlights Mr Johnson’s attempts to “undermine” the Commons Standards Committee in the case of former minister Owen Paterson.

The motion, which calls for Mr Johnson to have his ministerial salary reduced by £41,567, refers to the Prime Minister “regularly ignoring independent advice” on issues including international law and the ministerial code.

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