Downing Street parties: Ian Blackford is ordered to leave House of Commons after saying Boris Johnson 'misled Parliament'
SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford has been ordered to leave the House of Commons for failing to withdraw claims against Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
The order from Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle came after Mr Blackford described the report by senior civil servant Sue Gray as “utterly damning”, claiming it was the “final nail in the coffin” against Johnson’s defence.
Sir Lindsay excluded Mr Blackford under standing orders after he refused to take back comments in which he accused the Prime Minister of "lying" to the House of Commons.
"It's not my fault if the Prime Minister can't be trusted to tell the truth," he said, after being asked to confirm that he had withdrawn claims the Prime Minister had misled the House.
His comments came as politicians across Scotland condemned the Prime Minister’s behaviour after civil servant Ms Gray found Downing Street gatherings during lockdown showed a “serious failure” to observe the standards expected. The report also suggested police are investigating 12 gatherings that Ms Gray had looked at as part of her inquiry.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said Mr Johnson was “guilty of serial failures of leadership and judgement”.
Mr Blackford said: “Boris Johnson' s position is now completely untenable. The Prime Minister is guilty of breaking lockdown rules and misleading parliament. He must resign – or be removed from office.
“The Sue Gray report is utterly damning. It has provided the final nail in the coffin against Boris Johnson's false claims that he would be exonerated. Instead, it has provided conclusive evidence that rule-breaking events did happen and should never have taken place.”
The SNP Westminster leader added: “It's clear the Prime Minister knew about events, attended them, and lied to Parliament. Misleading Parliament is a resignation matter in itself, but just as important is the fact that the Prime Minister and his Downing Street team were breaking the rules that they had imposed.
“There cannot be one rule for Boris Johnson and another for the rest of us. If the Prime Minister won't do the honourable thing and resign, he must be forced out of office by his own MPs.”
Ms Sturgeon posted on Twitter: "The Gray report may be heavily constrained, but it is nevertheless excoriating of Boris Johnson. He is guilty of serial failures of leadership and judgement (and has clearly misled Parliament). If the Tories allow him to continue as PM, they will all be complicit.”
SNP Livingston MP Hannah Bardell said the Government’s actions “undermined democracy”.
She said: “It actually doesn’t matter what the Met Police say, these issues, as set out by Sue Grey, show that while the whole of UK rose to the challenge, it’s clear the UK Government and those leading it, did not. Quite the opposite. Their actions have undermined and damaged faith in Government and democracy in general.”
Shadow secretary of state for Scotland and Labour MP Ian Gray said: “Damning indictment of the PM. I wonder if the PM still claims there were no parties? He must go and go now.”