Whenever the Scottish National Party does anything to bring to attention the heinous acts of the Conservatives, they seem to go into some sort of meltdown, so much so that they need a dark room. Yesterday saw several Scottish Tory MP’s frothing at the mouth and reaching for their phones. All with one aim in mind; the condemnation of the SNP’s Ian Blackford whose only crime was to expose the Prime Minister for the liar she is. During a heated exchange in the Commons yesterday, the leader of the Scottish National Party’s Westminster contingent shouted liar as Thresa May gave a statement on the latest Brexit fiasco to the House. She seemed to be mid-sentence when a lone voice was heard saying “That’s not true!” to gasps from Tory benches, all, including the Prime Minister looking to the Speaker of the House John Bercow to intervene. And intervene he did.
“Order! Order! Order! There’s plenty of scope for disagreement about what is true and what isn’t true, but in fairness I repeat the point that the person who has the floor must be heard, Prime Minister.”
The Prime Minister’s response: “I, thank you Mr Speaker, can I say to the RT Honourable gentleman that I think in his intervention from a sedentary position he may have inadvertently misled the House on this matter.” Cries of disapproval off camera from what seemed to be the SNP benches. As the Prime Minister continued, someone, called her a liar. The camera panning out to reveal the culprit which by the incessant rage coming from the Scottish Tory benches and the mere fact that Stephen Kerr was pointing at him. looked to be – Ian Blackford.
The comment being completely missed by the Speaker of the House John Bercow: “What was that? Order, order, forgive me I didn’t hear, (looks to be addressing the Prime Minister), I didn’t hear what was, I didn’t hear what was said.
I hope, I hope the word liar wasn’t used but, order! Order! I’m perfectly capable of handling this matter with alacrity and I shall do so, if that, order, if that word was used without equivocation or qualification on that word must be withdrawn at once, at once.”
If a member of the front bench (pointing towards the SNP benches) used that word, I’m sorry, I’m not debating it, I’m not arguing, I’m negotiating, that word must be withdrawn at once!”
It would seem from his demeanour, Bercow had no clue as to who had uttered the word and therefore had to consult with those seated in front of him. The name of Mr Blackford whispered, loudly.
Bercow, satisfied the culprit had been confirmed got to his feet once more.
“Order, I’m advised, I’m advised, I admit I didn’t see which member used it, I’m advised. I think on good authority that the word was used by the leader of the Scottish National Party, if so I want the debate to continue and it will, but if so…the RT honourable gentleman to withdraw the word, he cannot accuse another member in this House of dishonesty, withdraw.”
Ian Blackford obliged but did not withdraw for the sake of the Prime Minister, he withdrew in courtesy to the Speaker of the House, much to the annoyance of the Conservatives seated opposite. The Speaker: “No, no there are plenty of precedence for that, I remember doing it once myself…”
Cue the Scottish Tory meltdown, taking to twitter they began tweeting, Stephen Kerr, in his rush to tweet, actually missed out the [I] in Ian, tweeting, “an Blackford’s deliberately boorish behaviour, he lets himself down. Scotland is embarrassed by his antics, and people are getting increasingly sick and tired of the party he speaks for. Divisiveness and pettiness are all they seem to offer.”
John Lamont: “Shocking behaviour from the SNP’s Ian Blackford in #HouseOfcommons as ever, he is letting down Scotland. What a disgrace.”
And we cannot forget Kirstene Hair who tweeted: “Always a pantomime – never about policy when it comes to the SNP. What a disgrace.”
Douglas Ross: “Interesting scenes on @SNP benches just now. After a long animated conversation with the SNP chief whip, @IanBlackfordMP is now writing a note. An apology for his childish behaviour perhaps?”
And in a follow up tweet: “Shameful from @Ian Blackford, only apologising for saying the Prime Minister was lying after three requests for him to admit it. Very sleekit to only admit it when a clerk of the House confirms the Westminster @SNP leader said this. Respect goes both ways.”
Paul Masterton: “Blackford once again completely devoid of substance so goes for the am-dram outrage in the hope of getting on the telly and putting off the vultures circling in the SNP group round his hopeless leadership for another week.”
You would be forgiven in thinking this outrage was orchestrated, however not all Scottish Tories tweeted, some do not have an account therefore could not. And one is keeping a very low profile after the alleged groping incident in strangers’ bar. If they had remained in the chamber and not gone rushing off to their dark room, to tweet about how awful Mr Blackford had been to their beloved Prime Minister they would have heard Mr Blackford make his point of order.
“…I rise more in sorrow than I do in anger. You know we live through exceptional times. It’s one thing to hear the Prime Minister refer to having wanted to have this settled in December when she actually took it off the table.
If that wasn’t bad enough, when I pressed her on the issue on the economic analysis of her deal she said, and I quote. ‘The government has published economic assessments of the proposals that have been put forward.’ And furthermore, she went on to say that I had perhaps inadvertently misled the House. Mr Speaker that beggars’ belief, because if anyone has inadvertently misled the House, it is indeed the Prime Minister because the facts of the situation are; the treasury published an economic analysis of Brexit in November, before the Prime Minister’s deal that in no way refers to the Prime Minister’s deal.
This goes way beyond spinning, but perhaps more importantly is that this House is going to be asked to vote on a proposition that we haven’t been given the economic impact assessment on. So, I’m asking two things, firstly, can the Prime Minister correct the record from what she said earlier and, secondly, what options are opened to us to make sure that we go through perhaps the most important vote that this House had taken place on, that we do have the facts on the economic assessment. And finally, it is the case that any of the Brexit assessments that were made by the treasury, that will be worse off than the current deal, that the fact and the reality of the situation. The Prime Minister really has to earn some grace.”
Perhaps the gloating of Mr Ross was premature, perhaps what he saw was a consultation between Mr Blackford and the chief SNP whip on the Point of Order, perhaps the notes Mr Blackford was scribbling were not that of an apology but notes on how he was going to call out the Prime Minister for the liar she is.