SNP Westminster leader rebuked by Speaker over ‘liar’ jibe during PMQs

SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford has been rebuked by the Speaker after being accused of calling Boris Johnson a “liar” during Prime Minister’s Questions.

The pair engaged in a heated exchange in the Commons over proposals contained in the UK Internal Market Bill.

Mr Blackford branded them “nothing short of an attack on Scotland’s Parliament and an affront to the people of Scotland”.

The Prime Minister in turn described Mr Blackford’s attacks on the legislation as “totally illogical” arguing “it is a massive devolutionary act”.

As the exchanges concluded, Tory MPs shouted “withdraw” as they accused Mr Blackford of labelling Mr Johnson a “liar”.

Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle added: “Prime Minister I’m sure that the leader of the SNP would like to withdraw that last comment of being a liar, no honourable member would do that, would you please withdraw it.”

Mr Blackford said: “It’s on the face of the Bill that the Government of the UK is going to trample over devolution, that is not a lie.”

Sir Lindsay replied: “Mr Blackford you’re a great member of this House, you do the right things by this House and I’ve accepted that you’ve withdrawn it.”

Mr Blackford earlier told MPs: “This legislation breaks international law but it also breaks domestic law.

“The Prime Minister and his friends a parcel of rogues, are creating a rogue state, one where the rule of law does not apply. Why does the PM think that he and his friends are above the law?

Prime Minister’s Questions
Prime Minister’s Questions

Mr Johnson replied: “This UK Internal Market Bill is about protecting jobs, protecting growth, ensuring the fluidity and safety of our UK internal market and prosperity throughout the UK and it should be welcomed, I believe, in Scotland, in Northern Ireland, in Wales and throughout the whole country.”

Mr Blackford dismissed Mr Johnson’s remarks as “complete rubbish”.

He said: “We saw the PM breaking the law last year with the prorogation of Parliament, we’ve seen the behaviour of Dominic Cummings and we know that this Government’s prepared to break its international obligations and what the Prime Minister said is complete rubbish and the Prime Minister knows this.”

The SNP Westminster leader added: “His own White Paper was clear that state aid is going to be grabbed back from Scotland and handed to Westminster … Scotland is speaking out and I state that the Scottish Parliament will reject this attack on devolution.

“So the question is, will the PM break domestic law, disregard the settled will of the Scottish people, ignore the concerns of Scotland’s communities and press ahead with this Bill?

“The time for Scotland’s place as an independent, international, law-abiding nation is almost here, our time has come.”

Mr Johnson replied: “The answer is that yes indeed we will press on with this Bill because I believe that his attacks on it are totally illogical, it actually represents a very substantial transfer of powers, of sovereignty, to Scotland, to Wales … it is a massive devolutionary act.”

He added: “It also ensures the integrity of the UK internal market and he speaks of a transfer of powers to the UK Government – on the contrary, what he would do is transfer powers not just over competition and state aids back to Brussels but of course over fisheries too and that is the policy of the SNP and it would be a disaster for our country.”