Boris Johnson was cut off mid-sentence by the Commons speaker after he “teased” the SNP’s Westminster leader during Prime Minister’s Questions.
Sir Lindsay Hoyle interrupted Johnson half-way through his response to Ian Blackford about a £20 uplift to Universal Credit.
Blackford asked the prime minister to make the uplift – brought in at outset of the pandemic – permanent in order to tackle child poverty but Johnson refused to commit, saying the country ought to be proud of the way the Tories have handled welfare support.
He then accused the SNP of becoming more left-wing, adding: “There is a profound philosophical difference between him and me because the SNP is morphing to ever more left-wing party that believes fundamentally that it is the duty of the taxpayer to pay for more and more and more.”
Johnson said his government wanted to get people into jobs but the SNP was failing to do this before Sir Lindsay cut him off.
The Speaker said: “We both know you’re teasing him and trying to wind up the leader of the SNP, please let’s drop it.”
Blackford had urged the prime minister to tackle child poverty saying research from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation and the baby bank charity, Little Village, had revealed 1.3 million children under five are living in poverty in the UK.
He said: “This is a truly shocking figure that should make this Tory government utterly ashamed.
“The Scottish National Party has repeatedly called for a financial package to boost household incomes and reverse this Tory child poverty crisis.
Blackford added: “The Tory government’s been stalling on this for months, will the prime minister finally act or will he leave millions of children out in the cold?”
Johnson responded: “I think that the whole House and this country should be proud of the way we’ve tried to look after people, the poorest and neediest families, throughout the country, not just with Universal Credit which the party opposite would actually abolish but by helping vulnerable people with their food and their heating bills, the £170 million winter grant scheme, looking after people with the free school meal vouchers.
“And as I’ve said before, we will put our arms around the people of this entire country throughout the pandemic.”