Boris Johnson is facing more calls to resign immediately as prime minister after video footage emerged showing senior No 10 staff laughing and joking about a Christmas party held during the coronavirus restrictions.
Ian Blackford MP, leader of the SNP at Westminster, says the prime minister lost the trust of the people and now needs to “do the right thing” and resign before Prime Minister’s Questions this afternoon.
Labour’s Shadow Scotland Secretary Ian Murray MP has also urged the prime minister to consider his position, saying he is the “worst prime minister the country has ever had”.
The video, which was leaked to ITV, shows the prime minister’s then press secretary Allegra Stratton and adviser Ed Oldfield, along with other aides, joking about a Downing Street Christmas party during a mock press conference.
The footage shows Ms Stratton answering questions about the alleged party.
It shows senior aides laughing about a “cheese and wine” evening, including reports it included alcohol and a Secret Santa present-giving.
‘No one can trust this prime minister’
Speaking on BBC Radio Scotland on Wednesday morning, Mr Blackford joined a new round of condemnation after a furious backlash overnight.
He said: “I think people are appalled by the video as it confirms what everyone believed anyway – the party took place in Downing Street.
“Seeing the staff in the prime minister’s office laughing and joking at a time when everyone was asked to adhere to Covid rules, when people were dying in hospital with no one able to visit them, demonstrates there is one rule for everybody else and another for them.”
He added: “They are sticking two fingers up to everyone else.
“No one can trust this prime minister and after behaving the way he has, he doesn’t deserve the trust of the public.
“If he had any self-respect and dignity, he would do the right thing which is to resign.”
Blackford: Resign before PMQs
Mr Blackford added the prime minister needs to take responsibility for the party regardless of whether he was there or not, because it took place in his home and office.
He added: “This video demonstrates quite clearly it was an illegal party beyond any reasonable doubt.
“He doesn’t seem to know the difference between right and wrong or the truth when it hits him in the face.
“I have had a lot of emails from constituents that are appalled because they did the right thing and watched loved ones dying in hospital, couldn’t celebrate Christmas, and couldn’t see their parents or their children.
“The prime minister needs to recognise he has lost the trust of the people and he should go today before PMQs.”
When asked if he thinks the public will not follow coronavirus rules following the revelations, Mr Blackford says he hopes the public “are above that” and recognise their responsibility to one another.
Deputy First Minister John Swinney also added the video is the “most appalling thing I have seen in my political life” and says it shows contempt for members of the public.
‘Worst PM the country has ever had’
Shadow Scotland Secretary Ian Murray MP is also calling for the prime minister to resign over the allegations.
He said: “This is another in a long line of the prime minister being economical with the truth.
“This is the worst prime minister the country has ever had at the worst possible time.
“We need a change in attitude and a change in government.
“The prime minister can’t start a sentence and get to the end of it without putting a lie in it.
“He has denied this party ever happened when this footage shows it did happen and at a time when people had to cancel Christmas with their families, spend Christmas alone, and couldn’t say goodbye to relatives as they were dying or be at the birth of their children.
“All the while the prime minister was having parties and his staff were laughing, and he can’t be statesman enough to admit it happened.
“It is rotten to the core.
“He has to consider his position and decide whether or not he is the right person to lead the country.
“We need leadership, strong and convincing leadership, to get through the pandemic and get the country back on the road to recovery.”
PMQs take place in the House of Commons at midday today (Wednesday 8 December).