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Thu, 16 July 2020

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WATCH: SNP’s Ian Blackford rapped by John Bercow after branding Theresa May a liar in the Commons

WATCH: SNP’s Ian Blackford rapped by John Bercow after branding Theresa May a liar in the Commons
3 min read

SNP Westminster boss Ian Blackford was today forced into a humiliating climbdown after accusing Theresa May of lying to the House of Commons.

In highly-charged scenes, the frontbencher was ordered to withdraw the remark - which is banned under longstanding parliamentary convention - by Commons Speaker John Bercow.

Mr Blackford branded the Prime Minister a "liar" after she insisted the Government had published an economic analysis of her Brexit deal.

He has previously written to Downing Street calling on ministers to publish economic modelling of the possible impact of the agreement the UK has clinched with Brussels.

He said today: “The question is simple: have you done an economic assessment of the impact of your deal on the UK economy? A simple yes or no."

But he shouted "liar" as Mrs May told the Commons ministers “did publish an economic analysis of the proposals that the Government had put forward”.

That prompted an outcry from the Tory benches, triggering an intervention from Commons Speaker John Bercow, who demanded Mr Blackford withdraw the comment.

“If that word was used, without equivocation or qualification, that word must be withdraw at once,” the Speaker said.

“If a member on the frontbench used that word - I’m sorry I’m not debating it, I’m not arguing, I’m not negotiating - that word must be withdrawn at once.”

Mr Bercow added: “I’m advised I think on good authority that that word was used by the leader of the Scottish National Party.

“If so... I simply ask the Rt Hon Gentleman to withdraw that word. He cannot accuse another member of this House of dishonesty. Withdraw.”

Mr Blackford then withdrew his remark, telling the Speaker: “In courtesy to yourself, I withdraw. For courtesy to yourself.”

Mr Blackford had earlier accused Mrs May of trying to “rewrite history” with a claim that she had wanted to resolve Brexit before Christmas - despite cancelling a vote on her deal which had been scheduled for December.

He said: “It was the Prime Minister that denied us the right to have a meaningful vote and to try and rewrite history. And she sits there laughing.

“You know, sometimes you should be honest with yourself, never mind being honest with the people of the United Kingdom.”

The SNP frontbencher was at the centre of a separate Commons storm last June as he was kicked out of the chamber after clashing with Mr Bercow over a demand for an emergency debate on the impact of Brexit on Scottish devolution.

Accusing the Government of presiding over a “democratic outrage”, Mr Blackford was booted out over what the Speaker dubbed his “persistent and repeated refusal” to resume his seat - prompting a mass walkout of SNP MPs.


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