Sue Gray report: Ian Blackford kicked out of Commons after Boris Johnson criticism
IAN Blackford has been kicked out of the House of Commons after Boris Johnson made a statement on Sue Gray’s report after accusing the Prime Minister of misleading the House and lying.
SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford found himself in a tense back-and-forth with Speaker Lindsay Hoyle after making the statement.
When he refused to withdraw his comments, Lindsay Hoyle announced he would remove the SNP MP from the House – but Blackford had already left before he could complete the process.
READ MORE: Here are the 12 lockdown nights at Number 10 and Whitehall under police investigation
Blackford had strongly criticized the findings of Sue Gray’s report, calling it “an investigative exercise without any facts”.
He pointed out that Johnson told the House that all guidelines were followed and that he believed he had attended a business event. “No one believed him then and no one believes you now Prime Minister…he deliberately misled Parliament.”
Initially, Hoyle asked Blackford to confirm he had retracted claims the Prime Minister had misled the House.
Blackford replied, “That the Prime Minister may have inadvertently misled the House.”
Hoyle replied, “To help me help the House, you inadvertently removed your previous comment and replaced it?”
Blackford said: “It’s not my fault the Prime Minister can’t be trusted to tell the truth.”
READ MORE: Boris Johnson faces criminal investigation as he gives statement to MPs on Sue Gray report
Amid hoarse cries from the Tory benches, the Speaker said: ‘By virtue of the authority vested in me by Standing Order Number 43, I order the honorable Member to retire forthwith from the House.’
Blackford left the chamber before the President had finished, with Sir Lindsay noting: “It’s okay, we needn’t bother.”
Afterwards, Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon tweeted: “The #Gray report may be heavily constrained, but it nonetheless excoriates Boris Johnson.
‘He is guilty of serial failures of leadership and judgment (and has clearly misled Parliament).
“If the Tories allow him to continue as Prime Minister, they will all be complicit.”
And Blackford commented: “This is what truth in power looks like in Westminster. A liar is allowed to keep his place – I am forced to leave for telling the truth. He has misled the house, he must go. Conservatives need to look in the mirror and ask them if they can let this go on longer?
In her report, Sue Gray criticized ‘failures of leadership and judgement’ in No 10 and the Cabinet Office as England was under coronavirus restrictions in 2020 and 2021.
But Johnson has repeatedly refused to rule out calls, including senior Tory MPs, to release the senior civil servant’s full unredacted report after admitting she had to cut it while the Metropolitan Police investigate.
The dozen events examined by officers include a “gathering in the flat at 10 Downing Street” on November 13, 2020, the night Johnson’s former aides Dominic Cummings and Lee Cain left office.
Labor leader Sir Keir Starmer has called on Johnson to publish a full inquiry into Gray in future as he said the British people believe the PM should ‘do the decent thing and step down’ but won’t because he’s “a man without shame”.
Johnson insisted he was “making changes” to Downing Street and the Cabinet Office, including creating a Prime Minister’s Office with a permanent secretary to lead Number 10.
The Prime Minister did not directly respond to Starmer’s call to release the Gray Inquiry “in full when it becomes available”.
During a chaotic debate, former Cabinet minister Andrew Mitchell told Johnson he “no longer has my support”.
It was the first major signal that concern among Tory backbenchers was growing, with the Prime Minister facing the threat of a vote of no confidence.