Ian Blackford has been ordered to leave the House of Commons for failing to withdraw claims that Boris Johnson had misled MPs.
The SNP Westminster leader walked out of the chamber following exchanges with the Prime Minister over alleged lockdown-busting parties in Downing Street and Whitehall.
Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle asked Blackford to confirm he had withdrawn his claims. 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Sir Lindsay countered: “To help me help the House, you’ve withdrawn your earlier comment and replaced it with ‘inadvertently’?”
Blackford said: “It’s not my fault if the Prime Minister can’t be trusted to tell the truth.”
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.”
Blackford walked out the chamber before the Speaker had finished, with Sir Lindsay noting: “It’s all right, we don’t need to bother.”
Earlier, Blackford had said: “So here we have it. The long-awaited Sue Gray report, what a farce.
“It was carefully engineered to be a fact-finding exercise, with no conclusions. Now we find it’s a fact-finding exercise with no facts.
“So let’s talk facts. The Prime Minister has told the House that all guidance was completely followed, there was no party, Covid rules were followed and that ‘I believed it was a work event’.
“Nobody, nobody believed it then. And nobody, nobody believes you now, Prime Minister. That is the crux, no ifs, no buts, he has wilfully misled Parliament.”
A report by senior civil servant Sue Gray catalogued a series of “failures of leadership and judgment” within No 10 and the Cabinet Office while the UK was under coronavirus restrictions in 2020 and 2021.
But she was unable to provide meaningful findings because the police were now investigating at least 12 gatherings linked to government properties.
Johnson had apologised for “things we didn’t get right” shortly before the exchange with Blackford.
The Gray report looked at 16 individual gatherings in Whitehall, including a gathering in the Downing Street garden on May 20, 2020 – during the first coronavirus lockdown when people were only allowed to meet outdoors in pairs.
The report also looked at the Prime Minister’s birthday party on June 19, 2020, when rules in place at the time prohibited most indoor gatherings of more than two people.
Timeline: The 16 parties Gray investigated
• May 15, 2020; a photograph showing a number of groups in the garden of No 10 Downing Street;
• May 20, 2020: a gathering in the garden of No 10 Downing Street for No 10 staff;
• June 18, 2020: a gathering in the Cabinet Office, 70 Whitehall, on the departure of a No 10 private secretary;
• June 19, 2020: a gathering in the Cabinet room in No 10 Downing Street on the Prime Minister’s birthday;
• November 13, 2020: a gathering in the No 10 Downing Street flat; AND a gathering in No 10 Downing Street on the departure of a special adviser;
• November 27, 2020: a gathering in No 10 Downing Street on the departure of a special adviser;
• December 10, 2020: a gathering in the Department for Education ahead of the Christmas break;
• December 15, 2020: a gathering in No 10 Downing Street for an online Christmas quiz;
• December 17, 2020: a gathering in Cabinet Office, 70 Whitehall, to hold an online Christmas quiz for the Cabinet Secretary’s private office; AND a gathering in Cabinet Office, 70 Whitehall, on the departure of a senior Cabinet Office official; AND a gathering in No 10 Downing Street on the departure of a No 10 official;
• December 18, 2020: a gathering in No 10 Downing Street ahead of the Christmas break;
• January 14, 2021; a gathering in No 10 Downing Street on the departure of two No 10 private secretaries;
• April 16, 2021; A gathering in No 10 Downing Street on the departure of a senior No 10 official; AND a gathering in No 10 Downing Street on the departure of another No 10 official.