Ian Blackford emphatically responds to claim he 'gets on well' with Boris Johnson

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Ian Blackford also responded to Boris Johnson's 'fatphobic' jibe
Ian Blackford also responded to Boris Johnson's 'fatphobic' jibe

IAN Blackford has emphatically denied that he and Boris Johnson get along swimmingly.

The SNP Westminster leader countered claims from the Prime Minister that the pair “co-operate well”.

It came during an exchange at PMQs in which the Tory chief was accused of body-shaming Blackford with a jibe about his weight.

After making the personal remark, Johnson said: “People don’t get this, but actually we co-operate well and I want to continue to do so.”

Blackford was later asked on BBC Radio Scotland if he “gets on well” with the PM.

“No,” came his emphatic response.

Earlier, Blackford said he enjoyed a more convivial relationship with Johnson’s predecessor.

“I used to stand up against Theresa May every week at Prime Minister's Questions,” he commented. “Of course, I had differences with her when she was Prime Minister but one thing I will say is she's a woman that acted with dignity and respect. I hoped it was mutual self-respect with us.”

The SNP MP explained: “Although we’re in opposition … we do have to rub along. There are times where we have to talk together. Normal protocols have to take place.

“What would have happened with Theresa May and would have been the case with previous Prime Ministers, that senior members of the opposition, the leader of the opposition, the leaders of the third party, would be taken in and given briefings. That doesn't routinely now happen with this Prime Minister.”

He added: “I have no relationship with this Prime Minister and it grieves me that that is the case. Because we have to have an effective operation of Parliament and of government.

“We have no access to Number 10, nor to the Prime Minister. So for the Prime Minister to try to characterise the relationships that we have – as he's done now on three occasions over the recent weeks – that we rub along well together and we get along … I actually have only been in Number 10 for a meeting with him once ever since he became Prime Minister.”

WATCH: Boris Johnson makes nasty joke about Ian Blackford's weight at PMQs

Johnson sparked criticism from the SNP and an eating disorder charity over his comments about Blackford’s weight.

The SNP Westminster leader had urged the Prime Minister to resign, citing the cost-of-living crisis, Brexit and the National Insurance tax hike. He said these things "hang like a guillotine, while they eat cake" – a reference to Johnson’s birthday bash at Number 10 during lockdown.

To laughter from the Tory benches, the PM replied: “Well Mr Speaker, I don’t know who’s been eating more cake.”

Asked about the comments on BBC Radio Scotland, Blackford said: “The Prime Minister always seeks to deflect when we ask questions in the House of Commons. And what he's seeking to do is to take attention away from him.

“I don’t think it’s going to help for me to respond to the way the Prime Minister addressed me.”

He added: “We’re all responsible for the way that we act and he has to speak for himself in terms of the way he speaks at Prime Minister’s Questions.”

SNP equalities spokesperson Kirsten Oswald said Johnson had sent "an appalling message to society, that the most powerful person in the UK Government thinks it's ok to mock people because of their bodies, race, sexual orientation and religion".

Tom Quinn, of eating disorder charity Beat, commented: “It is completely unacceptable that the Prime Minister should resort to making fatphobic comments. It shows a clear lack of regard for, or understanding of, the 1.25 million people in the UK affected by eating disorders, and we are extremely disappointed that he has deemed this to be an appropriate response.

“We would urge the Prime Minister to educate himself on the seriousness of these mental illnesses, and limit his comments of other MPs to their actions, not their appearances.”

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