The speaker has urged SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford to withdraw a remark at Prime Minister’s Questions which called Boris Johnson a ‘charlatan’ and liar over his Brexit plans.
Blackford originally led on attacks about the prime minister proposing to break international law to override the Withdrawal Agreement bill agreed in the House of Commons.
He said that the UK Internal Market Bill proposals are ‘nothing short of an attack on Scotland’s Parliament and an affront to the people of Scotland’.
He told the Commons: ‘This legislation breaks international law, but it also breaks domestic law. The prime minister and his friends… 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?’
Johnson denied the allegations, saying that his bill should protect the ‘prosperity across the United Kingdom’.
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‘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.’
Blackford said Johnson was ‘talking rubbish’, and that his ‘own white paper was clear’ about the Westminster powergrab there would be as a result of the Brexit bill.
‘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 prime minister insisted it was a ‘massive devolutionary act’ and a ‘very substantial transfer of powers to Scotland and Wales’.
The SNP Westminster leader could then be heard calling Johnson a lying ‘charlatan’, promoting Tory backbenchers to urge him to ‘withdraw’.
It led to the speaker to intervene and to also ask him to withdraw the remark.
Hoyle said: ‘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.’
But Blackford doubled down on his comments, saying: ‘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.’
In a bizarre scene in the Commons, Hoyle then said he had accepted his reply. ‘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.’