Ian Blackford: ‘Johnson has stuck two fingers up at the rest of us’

The SNP Westminster leader said Johnson does not deserve to be left in office for 'one minute longer'.

Ian Blackford: ‘Johnson has stuck two fingers up at the rest of us’ Parliament TV
Ian Blackford accused Boris Johnson of a 'massive failure of leadership'.

Boris Johnson has “stuck two fingers up at the rest of us” with parties at Downing Street during the Covid pandemic, according to Ian Blackford.

It follows fresh revelations this week that a birthday party was held for the Prime Minister in June, 2020, with up to 30 guests in attendance.

And it marks the latest in a series of reports regarding gatherings held at No 10 during the course of the pandemic.

Senior civil servant Sue Gray is shortly expected to publish the findings of her investigation into the matter.

Meanwhile on Tuesday, it was announced that Scotland Yard has launched an investigation into a ‘number of events’ at Downing Street.

Speaking on the BBC’s Good Morning Scotland programme, SNP Westminster leader Blackford said there had been a “massive failure of leadership” by Johnson as he insisted the Prime Minister must accept responsibility.

“The public reaction to all of this has been quite staggering,” said Blackford.

“It’s brought back memories to people of what happened when they couldn’t be with their loved ones.

“People of course that had significant birthdays, family birthdays, they couldn’t celebrate.

“And the man that was responsible for the rules that the rest of us were supposed to follow was breaking his own rules on multiple occasions.

“And we now know that this party took place, it wasn’t just for members of staff because we know that the Prime Minister’s interior designer was at the party as well.”

He continued: “This is a massive failure of leadership and somewhere along the line the Prime Minister’s got to accept responsibility.

“He’s stuck two fingers up at the rest of us, he’s failed to accept responsibility.

“He has to recognise he doesn’t have the moral authority to lead and quite simply, he needs to realise that the right thing for him to do is to show some dignity, show some self-respect, and to resign.”

The SNP Westminster leader explained that he would seek to work with MPs cross-party in seeking to remove the Prime Minister from office.

But, he explained that the matter lies in the hands of Conservative MPs, who must meet the threshold of 54 letters submitted to the 1922 Committee in order to trigger a vote of no confidence in Johnson.

“If the Prime Minister doesn’t go, then it is in the hands of Conservative MPs,” said the SNP MP.

“Because under our system, they have that option of moving a motion of no confidence and then removing him as prime minister, we as the opposition parties don’t, the Government has a majority.

“But, this is a man that’s undermined the Covid rules, this is a man I would argue on a more general basis, that’s undermined democracy, everything which has happened under his watch, the prorogation of Parliament and so on.”

Blackford continued: “Of course, I want to see people come together across the House, it’s important that we do that.

“This man has to go, Parliament has to remove him from office and the people that have to exert their own responsibilities in doing that are the Tory MPs.

“They need to write their letters to the 1922 Committee, there needs to be a motion of no confidence and let’s have a prime minister that has the dignity and respect to lead.”

Blackford said he has “no issue” with Sue Gray, but said that politicians have got to take responsibility for the failure of the Prime Minister.

“We don’t have to wait for this report because we know that these events took place,” he said of Gray’s report.

“As much as it’s about one party, it’s a culture of partying, it’s a culture of ignoring the rules that happened under Boris Johnson’s watch.

“We said from day one that this had to be an independent inquiry, it had to be a judge-led inquiry, I’ve got no issue with Sue Gray, she will do a job, I’ve no doubt about that.

“But politicians have got to take responsibility for the failure of the Prime Minister, a failure to follow the rules.

“And I think the fact that there is just so much anger up and down these islands at the behaviour of a prime minister that simply didn’t have what it took in order to show effective leadership, that’s continually broken his own rules.

“He needs to go and we need to accept responsibility for that as politicians.”

He added: “We cannot carry on with this man that has singularly failed to show appropriate leadership.

“Let’s not forget, this is a man that illegally shut down Parliament and lied to the Queen on multiple occasions.

“This man is a charlatan and he simply doesn’t deserve to be left in office never mind one day, one minute longer.”