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by Louise Wilson
21 April 2022
‘The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom is a liar’ says Ian Blackford

‘The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom is a liar’ says Ian Blackford

Ian Blackford has labelled Boris Johnson a “liar” on the floor of the Commons following a temporary dispensation of the rule preventing the word’s use.

The SNP Westminster leader was speaking in support of a motion to refer the Prime Minister to the Committee of Privileges after claims he has misled parliament about Downing Street parties.

Blackford said: “At the very heart of this scandal, there is one thing that needs to be said, one thing that needs to be heard, and it’s the very reason that we all need to act.

“The reason is this: that the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom is a liar.

“I genuinely don’t say that lightly, and I don’t say that loosely. I honestly believe that it’s right that we are slow to use that word, but I equally believe that it is right that we should never be slow to say it and to call it out when it is so obviously true.”

He later said Johnson was “lied to avoid getting caught” and then “lied again” once the extent of the lockdown breaches came to light, adding: “There is no other way to describe it. There is no other word for it.”

MPs are typically prevented from describing other members as “liars” due to a House of Commons rule with prevents the use of “unparliamentary expressions”.

Where such words are used, the Speaker would usually intervene and request it be withdrawn from the official record.

However, given the nature of the debate today and the motion which specifically refers to four instances in which Johnson appeared the mislead the House, Speaker Lindsay Hoyle confirmed the rule would be relaxed.

Addressing MPs before the debate, Hoyle said: “Whilst it is perfectly in order for the Honorable Members to question the veracity of the Prime Minister’s responses to the House cited in the motion, it is not in order to challenge more generally the truthfulness of the Prime Minister or any other Honorable or Right Honorable Member.”

Johnson denies the accusations that he deliberately misled the House.

On Tuesday, he told MPs: “It did not occur to me, then or subsequently, that a gathering in the Cabinet Room just before a vital meeting on Covid strategy could amount to a breach of the rules.

“I repeat: that was my mistake and I apologise for it unreservedly.”

Read the most recent article written by Louise Wilson - What is Scotland's place in the world after Russia's invasion of Ukraine?

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