SNP brand Boris Johnson ‘a liar’ but fail in bid to censure Prime Minister

Boris Johnson has survived a bid to reduce his salary and censure him over his conduct, amid claims from the SNP he has “demonstrated himself to be a liar”.

SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford called for the Prime Minister to be censured
SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford called for the Prime Minister to be censured

The SNP Westminster leader urged Conservative MPs on Tuesday to start calling out Mr Johnson, warning otherwise it would show there was “one rule for them and one rule for everybody else”.

But after a tetchy three-hour debate, described at one stage by Deputy Speaker Dame Rosie Winterton as a “slanging match”, MPs rejected the SNP motion by 321 votes to 214, majority 107.Mr Blackford claimed Mr Johnson had lied repeatedly and told a half-empty Commons it was time for him to go.

He 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.

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“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.

“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.”

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The Ross, Skye and Lochaber MP pointed to Mr Johnson’s language and accused him of repeatedly deceiving the house.

He said: “On March 4, 2020, the Prime Minister said ‘we have restored the nurses’ bursary’ – completely and factually untrue.

On June 17, 2020, the Prime Minister said there were 400,000 ‘fewer families living in poverty now than there were in 2010’ – both Office for National Statistics and the Children’s Commissioner have confirmed that is false.

“On November 7, 2019, the Prime Minister told Northern Ireland businesses – in person – that the protocol would mean ‘no forms, no checks, no barriers of any kind’ – once again, clearly not true.

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“It is right to be careful in terms of the language we use in this house, but when it comes to language it is also right to be accurate and honest.

“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.”

Mr Blackford added: "This Prime Minister is at the centre of the sleaze and corruption – he is orchestrating much of it.”

The debate also saw the Deputy Commons Speaker Dame Eleanor Laing warn MPs taking part in the debate to use “temperate” and “parliamentary” language.

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She said: “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.”

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”.

Conservative former health minister Matt Hancock said the SNP motion was “pitiful politicking” but SNP MP Steven Bonnar condemned Mr Johnson for “institutional sleaze”.

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Conservative MP Andrew Bowie said he was “angry” the House was debating the motion while “Scots are freezing in their homes, have no access to services” because of Storm Arwen.

The MP for West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine said the SNP was “playing politics” while people in Scotland were “dealing with a catastrophe and a crisis”.

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