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Watch: Boris Johnson aims 'despicable fat joke' at Ian Blackford during PMQs
Boris Johnson has been accused of making a “despicable fat joke” while responding to a question from SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford.
The prime minister mounted a defence of his actions over the Partygate scandal during PMQs and numerous references were made to Johnson being surprised with a birthday party – and cake – during a lockdown-busting party in 2020.
Blackford attempted to highlight “the real issues facing the public”, telling Johnson: “The impending National Insurance tax hike hangs like a guillotine while they eat cake.
“This is nothing short of a crisis and the only route out, the only route to restore public trust, is for the prime minister to go.”
Responding, the PM appeared to make fun of Blackford’s weight, telling him: “I don’t know… who has been eating more cake.”
Johnson’s apparent jibe was criticised by Labour’s Alex Davies-Jones, who tweeted: “Fat shaming to add to the long list of despicable behaviours from the prime minister.”
SNP MP Kirsty Blackman accused the PM of being “fat-phobic”, adding that it wouldn’t make the front page of newspapers as “he’s in really deep trouble”.
A spokesperson for the PM rejected accusations he was making light of the situation: “I think you’ve you’ve heard how seriously the Prime Minister takes this whole issue. But while it while the investigation is going on… we are not able to comment further.”
Labour described it as "the type of schoolboy humour that you see from Boris Johnson" saying it was an "example of his repeatedly inappropriate use of language in Parliament”.
Johnson appeared to be more energetic than in previous PMQ appearances and rejected more calls to resign as he waited for an official report into the Partygate row.
The PM insisted he was “getting on with the job”, although he acknowledged there were people who “want me out of the way” for a variety of reasons.
Johnson’s future remains in the balance as Westminster awaits the release of senior official Sue Gray’s report into alleged lockdown-busting parties in No 10 and Whitehall.
An indication of how damaging the report could be for the government came when Scotland Yard chief Dame Cressida Dick announced a police inquiry was being carried out, based in part on evidence obtained by the Gray investigation.
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer suggested Johnson had misled parliament about Downing Street parties, something which would normally require a minister to resign.
Asked if he would now quit, the prime minister said: “No.”
Starmer said: “We now have the shameful spectacle of a prime minister of the United Kingdom being subject to a police investigation, unable to lead the country, incapable of doing the right thing and every day his cabinet fail to speak out they become more and more complicit.”
He challenged the PM to publish the full Gray investigation report as he receives it – Johnson said he would “do exactly what I said”, although there has been speculation the version published could be redacted or edited.
The PM is also committed to giving a Commons statement in response to the Gray report.
Watch: PM 'can't comment' on the Met investigation into Downing Street parties