Boris Johnson mocked Ian Blackford’s weight in the House of Commons on Wednesday after the Prime Minister was quizzed about eating birthday cake at a party that allegedly breached lockdown rules.
The SNP’s Westminster leader used his time at Prime Minister’s Questions to quiz Johnson on alleged Covid rule breaches at Downing Street.
He said: “Every moment that the Prime Minister lingers, every nick in this death by a thousand cuts is sucking attention from the real issues facing the public.
“Tory cuts, Brexit and the soaring cost of living have pushed millions of families into poverty – the impending national insurance tax hike hangs like a guillotine while they eat cake. This is nothing short of a crisis.
“And the only route out, the only route to restore public trust is for the Prime Minister to go.
“How much longer will Tory MPs let this go on for? How much more damage are they willing to do? It is time to get this over with. Show the Prime Minister the door.”
Johnson responded: “Well, Mr Speaker, I don’t know who’s been eating more cake. Behind the scenes, people don’t get this, but actually we co-operate well and I want to continue to do so.”
SNP equalities spokesperson Kirsten Oswald, who is also Blackford’s deputy at Westminster, condemned Johnson’s “body shaming comments”.
She said: “Boris Johnson has proven, yet again, that he is completely unfit for office. Whether it’s his body shaming jokes, his racism, his homophobia, or his wider misconduct in public office, Mr Johnson is giving people another telling insight into his odious character.
“The Prime Minister’s frequently offensive remarks will have a damaging impact on many young people and need to be called out. He is sending an appalling message to society, that the most powerful person in the UK government thinks it’s ok to mock people because of their bodies, race, sexual orientation and religion.
“The longer Tory MPs allow Mr Johnson to cling onto power, the more damage they will do to any remaining public trust in this discredited government.”
Eating disorder charity Beat also criticised Johnson’s comment to Blackford.
Its director of external affairs Tom Quinn said: “It is completely unacceptable that the Prime Minister should resort to making fatphobic comments.
“It shows a clear lack of regard for, or understanding of, the 1.25 million people in the UK affected by eating disorders, and we are extremely disappointed that he has deemed this to be an appropriate response.
“We would urge the Prime Minister to educate himself on the seriousness of these mental illnesses, and limit his comments of other MPs to their actions, not their appearances.”
The exchange between Johnson and Blackford comes as civil servant Sue Gray is expected to submit the findings of her inquiry into parties held in No 10 and Whitehall during the coronavirus lockdowns.
The senior civil servant’s inquiry had been expected to be finalised this week with widespread expectation it will be made public on Wednesday or Thursday.
An indication of how damaging the report could be for the Government came when Scotland Yard chief Dame Cressida Dick announced a police inquiry was being carried out, based in part on evidence obtained by the Gray investigation.
The Met’s involvement comes after Johnson faced new allegations that a birthday party was held for him in Downing Street during the first Covid lockdown.
ITV News reported that up to 30 people attended a gathering on June 19, 2020, with Johnson’s wife, Carrie, serving him cake while those present sang “Happy Birthday”.
Many Tory MPs have said they will wait to see the findings before deciding whether to push for a vote of confidence which could see him forced out.