The Tory leadership candidates hoping to replace Boris Johnson make “Genghis Khan look like a moderate”, according to the SNP’s Westminster leader.
The SNP’s Westminster leader took aim at the “awful” contenders vying to become the next prime minister as he asked why Johnson has yet to endorse one of them in a fiery Prime Minister’s Questions that saw two Scottish MPs dismissed by the speaker.
Alba pair Kenny MacAskill and Neale Hanvey, who represent East Lothian and Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath respectively, were ordered to leave the chamber by Sir Lindsay Hoyle in furious scenes at the start of the session.
Hoyle ordered the serjeant at arms to “escort them out” after demanding a second referendum on Scottish independence.
The session was Johnson’s first since he resigned as Conservative Party leader and Prime Minister following a mutiny from his own party.
The number of candidates running to replace him, including former chancellor Rishi Sunak and his replacement Nadhim Zahawi, is due to be whittled down on Wednesday.
Blackford told the Commons: “The Tory leadership contest is quickly descending into a toxic race to the right and it’s clear that whoever wins that race, Scotland loses.
“The former chancellor has pledged to govern like Margaret Thatcher, the current chancellor is threatening 20% cuts to the NHS and public services, and they’re all trying to out do each other on an extreme Brexit costing the economy billions.
“Is the real reason that the Prime Minister won’t endorse any of these awful candidates because whoever becomes the next Tory leader will make Genghis Khan look like a moderate?”
Johnson replied: “Well, I feel a real twinge that this is probably or virtually the last time I’ll have the opportunity to answer a question to him – perhaps because he’s going or I’m going, I don’t know.
“All I would say to him is that I think that the next leader of my party will want to make sure that we do everything we can to work with the Scottish Government in the way I’ve been able to do, and proud to have done over the past few years, to protect and secure our union.”
The outgoing PM later added: “I think the last thing the people of Scotland need now is…,” before SNP MPs could be heard shouting “you”.
It came after a farcical start in which MacAskill could be heard trying to raise a point of order and appeared to say “we need a referendum,” before he was drowned out by other MPs.
He then refused to sit down and continued to speak, prompting Sir Lindsay to act.
The speaker said: “I will not tolerate such behaviour. If you want to go out, go out now.
“If you stand again, I will order you out. Make your mind up.”
MacAskill rose to his feet again before Hanvey also stood up and started speaking, but he could not be heard over the heckling from Tory MPs.
Sir Lindsay then named the pair, meaning they are suspended from the House.
He said: “Neale Hanvey, I’m now naming you and Kenny MacAskill to leave this chamber. Serjeant, deal with them.
“Out now, serjeant-at-arms escort them out.”
STV News is now on WhatsApp
Get all the latest news from around the countryFollow STV News
Follow STV News on WhatsApp
Scan the QR code on your mobile device for all the latest news from around the country