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PMQs: Boris Johnson accused of ‘ducking democratic scrutiny’ as he is compared to Donald Trump

Ps in a pod? PM Johnson rejected claims he is behaving like President Trump.
Ps in a pod? PM Johnson rejected claims he is behaving like President Trump.

Boris Johnson has been likened to Donald Trump and accused of “ducking democratic scrutiny” after failing to publish a report into Russian interference in UK democracy.

The claim came at prime minister’s questions this afternoon as the SNP challenged Mr Johnson over his decision to sack the president of the Glasgow COP26 climate conference and a move to ban certain media outlets from a Number 10 briefing.

“In the first few days of Brexit Britain, this prime minister has sacked an official, taken an isolationist approach to trade and banned the press from a Downing Street briefing,” said Mr Blackford.

“Is he intentionally trying to impersonate Donald Trump?”

The prime minister rejected the suggestion that he intends to take an isolationist approach.

“I don’t think anybody listening to my speech on Monday could have mistaken it for anything but the most passionate, internationalist, globalist, open, outward-looking approach,” said Mr Johnson.

“There is only one party in this country that has nationalist in their name — that’s them; they would break up the most successful political partnership of the last 300 years.

“He (Mr Blackford) and his party should concentrate on the day job and doing a better job for the people of Scotland.”

Mr Blackford responded: “The Prime Minister doesn’t even know the name of our party.

SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford

“The Prime Minister is on a dangerous trajectory. Is it any wonder that poll after poll shows majority support for Scottish independence?

“Our former US ambassador has made clear the threat of a Tory-Trump trade deal warning that drug prices could soar. This would see increased pressure on our frontline services.

“It is clearer than ever that this Government, this Prime Minister, is a threat to our NHS.”

The prime minister told the SNP MP: “I think it’s very odd that he should denounce this country’s wish to have trade deals around the world when, as I understand it, their proposal is to try to rejoin the European Union and to have a different currency whose name they are yet to identify, to have a border at Berwick, and just after this country has taken back control of its outstanding marine wealth, to hand it back to Brussels.

“That’s their policy, I really think they the SNP should concentrate on doing a better job for the people of Scotland.”

Prime Minister Boris Johnson

SNP MP Owen Thompson later called on the prime minister to set out clearly, “without bluff and bluster” when the report on Russian interference into UK elections will be published.

Mr Johnson said the report would be released when the Intelligence and Security Committee was reconvened.

Analysis: Questions slide off Boris the Teflon PM

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn had an open goal this afternoon after a former Tory minister claimed Boris Johnson “doesn’t really get” climate change.

Claire O’Neill, who was sacked this week as the head of this year’s UN COP26 climate summit in Glasgow, was scathing in her criticism of the prime minister and Mr Corbyn used all six of his PMQs to needle Mr Johnson over the issue.

But Mr Corbyn, as has often been the case, was so scattergun that none of the blows really landed.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn speaks during Prime Minister’s Questions in the House of Commons.

Mr Johnson’s rebuttals may not have answered any of the points about Mrs O’Neill’s criticism, but he was able to effectively articulate the government’s climate change plan.

After last week’s coordinated attack, the SNP had a lot less impact this week – with Ian Blackford choosing to compare Mr Johnson to Donald Trump. An eye-catching insult, but with no real substantive to the point the prime minister was able to easily sidestep it.

Perhaps the biggest challenge came from some of the veteran Tories behind Mr Johnson, the criticism on Huawei was polite but expect that to grow if the prime minister doesn’t start to make the right noises.

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