PMQs: Boris Johnson says Blackford is 'getting nervous'
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Annie Wells, an MSP and the former deputy leader of Scottish Conservative, claimed Mr Blackford had committed an “embarrassing gaffe” by urging Scottish Tories leader Douglas Ross to stand down as an MP before himself seeking election to Holyrood. Speaking during Prime Minister’s Questions yesterday, Mr Blackford claimed Moray MP Mr Ross should quit Westminster before seeking election as an MSP for Highlands and Islands.
However, Mrs Wells pounced on his comments after Neil Gray, the MSP for Airdrie and Shotts, quit Westminster in a bid to represent the same area in the Scottish Parliament.
She said: “This is an utter humiliation for Ian Blackford.
“His shameless grandstanding has backfired spectacularly.
“Douglas Ross hasn’t cost taxpayers an extra penny but it turns out that Blackford’s own colleague Neil Gray will force a by-election, exposing the SNP’s outbursts as sheer short-sighted hypocrisy.
“Ian Blackford should make up for this embarrassing gaffe by going on national television to explain why his own SNP MP is costing taxpayers up to £175,000, at least according to the SNP’s own figures.”
Quizzing Prime Minister Boris Johnson yesterday, Mr Blackford said: “The Scottish Tory leader is also seeking a place in the Scottish Parliament but is refusing to step down as an MP.
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“So, as his boss, will the Prime Minister order the member for Moray to resign his seat, avoid a dual mandate and save the taxpayer £175,000, or are dual mandates one more Tory policy where they think greed is good?”
Mr Blackford added: “We know that Tory leaders in Scotland have a habit of dodging democracy.
“Baroness Davidson is fleeing the House of Lords and the current Tory leader is too feared to stand in a constituency.
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“Does the Prime Minister really have confidence in a Scottish Tory leader who doesn’t even have the courage to put himself before the voters in a Scottish constituency?”
Mr Johnson responded: “Mr Ross is doing an excellent job of holding the SNP to account for their manifold failings not least on education, failing to deliver on crime, failing, in my view, to deliver for the people of Scotland, so caught up as they are in their desire for independence and another referendum for separation.
“I’m amazed actually that he hasn’t mentioned it so far but perhaps he will now.”
Turning his attention to the SNP, he added: “He represents a party that’s so devoid of imagination that it can’t come up with any workable solutions to help the people of Scotland improve their education, improve the fight against crime, cut taxes in Scotland where they’re the highest in the whole of the UK.
“All they can talk about is a referendum to break up the UK.
“It’s twice he hasn’t mentioned it, maybe he’s getting nervous of singing that particular song.”
Mr Ross replaced Jackson Carlaw as Scottish Conservatives leader in August of last year.
He has been Member of Parliament (MP) for Moray since 2017 and was previously a Member of the Scottish Parliament (MSP) for the Highlands and Islands region from 2016 to 2017.
Express.co.uk has contacted Mr Blackford to offer him a chance to comment.
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