House of Commons empties as Ian Blackford begins speech
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The SNP’s Westminster leader was in the chamber alongside the likes of Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer following the annual State Opening of Parliament. But Ian Blackford, who has continued to campaign for a second referendum on Scottish independence, was left humiliated just as he was about to speak. House of Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle can be heard telling MPs: “I now call the leader of the SNP, Ian Blackford.”
But just as he makes that announcement, dozens of MPs stand up, leave their seats and head for the exit doors.
The majority of the departures come from the Conservative Party benches, although some MPs on the Opposition benches are also seen making for the doors.
Mr Blackford initially begins his speech, but appears rattled by the commotion of MPs leaving around him, before then taking his seat again.
The Speaker then calls for MPs to leave quietly, before reintroducing the SNP’s Westminster leader to start his speech.
But Mr Blackford has been brutally mocked on social media over the House of Commons humiliation.
Martin Daubney, the former MEP who is now deputy leader of the Reclaim Party, tweeted: “Ian Blackford couldn’t empty a room any quicker if he was a known carrier of Ebola.
“It’s an astonishing, unparalleled talent.”
The SNP Westminster leader used his speech in the Commons to tell MPs the “game is up for the union” as he called for another Scottish independence referendum following his party’s victory in last week’s local elections.
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He insisted the SNP is not looking for Mr Johnson’s permission to hold Indyref2, because the only permission it would need is the “democratic permission of the Scottish people”.
The two men have frequently exchanged heated words ion the Commons over the issue, with the Prime Minister repeatedly insisting he will not bow to the SNP’s independence referendum demands.
Elsewhere in his speech, Mr Blackford also called on the Government to get a grip on the cost of living crisis by accelerating an emergency budget following the agenda-setting Queen’s Speech.
The Ross, Skye and Lochaber MP also took a swipe at the Tories and said they had suffered a “democratic drubbing” in the local polls, adding it was the SNP’s 11th election victory in a row.
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He told the Commons: “Democracy has spoken in Scotland, it has spoken before and it will speak again and again.
“And all our democratic decisions are saying exactly the same thing: Scotland rejects this Westminster Government, we reject the Tory party and we demand the choice of an independent future.
“The Scottish people know the cost of living with Westminster.
“We know the price we pay with the Prime Minister and the price of being stuck with a Tory Government we didn’t vote for and it is price none of us in Scotland, not one of us, can afford to pay any longer.”
On Indyref2, Blackford later added: “We are not seeking the Prime Minister’s permission.
“The only permission we need, the only permission we will ever need is the democratic permission of the Scottish people.
“And let’s not forget it’s the people of Scotland who hold sovereignty.”
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