PMQs: Blackford tells PM to resign in wake of Sue Gray report
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Ian Blackford will grill Boris Johnson in the House of Commons today at Prime Minister’s Questions. The SNP’s Westminster leader will renew his calls for the Prime Minister to resign following the so-called Partygate scandal over social gatherings held in Downing Street that broke COVID-19 lockdown rules. Mr Johnson survived a confidence vote on Monday night, securing the backing of 211 Conservative MPs, while 148 voted to get rid of him, a larger rebellion than had been expected.
The Tory leader is now reported to be focusing on tax cuts in a bid to win over his own MPs, a move that some think could help ease the cost of living crisis.
Ahead of Mr Blackford’s clash with the Prime Minister at PMQs, unearthed posts show that he was caught in his own controversy over snubbing the Queen in the Commons.
The SNP’s Westminster leader and most of his MPs did not attend the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Address at the House of Commons last month.
The sitting saw Mr Johnson make a “humble address” in the run-up to Her Majesty’s milestone to mark her 70 years as monarch.
GB News host Alastair Stewart picked up on the absence of Mr Blackford and most of his fellow Nats from the chamber.
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On Twitter, he wrote: “The SNP, who say they would retain HM the Queen as their head of state if they secured independence, absent themselves from the House of Commons Jubilee Address.”
Other online users also commented on the SNP’s snub, making reference to Mr Blackford recently saying that Scotland would keep the Queen as its head of state if it voted to leave the UK.
Writing on Twitter, Nikki Payne said: “Have I got this right? They want to keep the currency. They want to keep the monarchy.
“But they want independence? How do they square that hole? Oh yes, devolution. They have that already.”
However, some defended the SNP, by pointing out that a couple of its members did attend the Commons address.
Among them were former Labour veteran MP Mike Gapes, who simply wrote: “They are there.”
The only SNP members that did attend were Mr Blackford’s deputy Kirsten Oswald and Joanna Cherry.
In a tribute to the Queen, Ms Oswald said: “I am sure I can speak for…my colleagues on the SNP benches, when I say that this is indeed a notable occasion.
“I congratulate Her Majesty the Queen on the extraordinary occasion of her Platinum Jubilee and send all best wishes.”
Speaker Lindsay Hoyle also did not attend the address and instead sent his Deputy Speaker Eleanor Laing.
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The Commons address came after Mr Blackford poured cold water on claims that the Scottish government would hold a referendum on whether to keep the Queen as head of state in an independent Scotland.
His clarification came after controversial comments made by the SNP MP for Glasgow North Patrick Grady.
Speaking at an event at King’s College London in 2020, Mr Grady had said “it would be for the people of Scotland to decide this eventually”.
Mr Blackford was asked about the prospect of a public vote on the issue in March of this year.
He told the PA news agency: “The Queen will remain head of state in an independent Scotland.”
The SNP’s Westminster leader was also asked about the Queen’s son Prince Andrew.
He said: He said: “I think it has been a challenging time for the Queen, hasn’t it?
“I don’t want to get into issues of individuals within the Royal Family. I think all of us have got to be responsible for our own obligations and responsibilities.”
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