Ian Blackford thrown out of Commons after refusing to retract claim PM 'misled Parliament'

31 January 2022, 16:03 | Updated: 31 January 2022, 17:58

By Emma Soteriou

SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford has been thrown out of the Commons for refusing to retract his comments claiming that Boris Johnson "misled the House" in the wake of Sue Gray's report.

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Speaker of the House Sir Lindsay Hoyle asked Mr Blackford to retract his comments several times, which he refused.

Mr Blackford replied: "That the Prime Minister may have inadvertently misled the House."

Sir Lindsay countered: "To help me help the House, you've withdrawn your earlier comment and replaced it with inadvertently?"

Mr Blackford said: "It's not my fault if the Prime Minister can't be trusted to tell the truth."

Read more: Boris says sorry as Partygate report slams No10's 'failures of leadership'

Read more: Read it in full: Sue Gray's much-anticipated partygate report

Amid raucous shouting from the Tory benches, the Speaker said: "Under the power given to me by standing order number 43 I order the honourable member to withdraw immediately from the House."

As he was being thrown out, Mr Blackford made the decision to walk out himself.

Sir Lindsay noted: "It's all right, we don't need to bother."

Before making the controversial comment, Mr Blackford claimed Sue Gray's report was a "farce" with "no facts".

He instead said the PM "wilfully misled Parliament", after previously telling the House that all guidance had been followed and there was no party.

Despite being asked to withdraw the word "misled", Mr Blackford stood by what he had said.

Speaking to LBC's Eddie Mair after the debate, Mr Blackford said he refused to retract his remarks because it would have made him a hypocrite.

"I would've done the very thing that I've accused the Prime Minister of doing - and that would've been lying - because it's absolutely irrefutable that this man has misled the House of Commons," he said.

He added: "This is a man - in my opinion, and I think, in the opinion of many, many people - that is no longer fit for office.

"On the back of the Sue Gray report today, as much as it is, he ultimately should have gone."

It comes as senior civil servant Sue Gray found that a series of "partygate" events should not have been allowed to take place or "develop in the way that they did".

However, she was forced to redact parts of her report after the Met asked for "minimal references" to the gatherings in her findings from the investigation.

She said it is "not possible at present to provide a meaningful report" until their investigation is over, but speaking in the Commons, the PM refused to commit to publishing it in full.