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Ian Blackford was skewered after Covid blunder: ‘Do as I say, not as I do’

Jack Straw says Ian Blackford is a 'pantomime character'

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Ian Blackford will once again be gunning for Boris Johnson as he faces him in Prime Minister’s Questions. Mr Johnson will be grilled by Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer, but the Prime Minister has also clashed with Mr Blackford in recent weeks. Yesterday, the SNP’s Westminster leader was thrown out of Parliament for saying Boris Johnson misled parliament over Number 10 parties. Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle repeatedly challenged Mr Blackford to withdraw the comments and state that Mr Johnson had only “inadvertently” misled the House of Commons.

But Mr Blackford said: “It’s not my fault if the Prime Minister can’t be trusted to tell the truth.”

Mr Blackford’s combative approach has made him a prominent figure in both Scottish and Westminster politics.

The MP for Ross, Skye and Lochaber came under fire in December, however, when he called for the Scottish League Cup final to be delayed.

Hibernian contested Celtic in a football game where nearly 50,000 fans gathered at Hampden Park.

Prior to the match, Mr Blackford called for the game to be postponed due to concerns over Omicron at the time.

The politician, who is also a Hibernian fan, tweeted: “In the meantime everyone should as far as possible restrict social contact. I do wonder whether the @spfl should be proceeding with the League Cup tomorrow.

“This game could easily have been postponed until the new year and the winter break brought forward.

“Everybody is desperate to have a family time at Christmas, particularly on Christmas Day. Folk have made enormous sacrifices over the last 21 months.

“Being cautious overall before and after Christmas still means that family gatherings can happen.”

But Mr Blackford’s comments contradicted advice given by Senior Clinical Advisor to the Scottish Government, Jason Leitch.

He said: “Once you get to the cup final, I’m actually not that worried because that’s outdoors, it’s a big space, it will be Scotland in December ‒ it will likely be windy and cold. So the virus won’t like that.

“What I am worried about is the buses, the cars, the trains getting to that event.”

Inverclyde Alba councillor Christopher McEleny pointed out that Mr Blackford and many of his colleagues have attended Parliament without masks.

He said: “Ian could’ve easily stayed on his humble croft last week but chose to stand in the packed House of Commons with his mask off to be ignored. Do as I say not as I do.”

Meanwhile, popular Scottish Football Twitter account ‘Inside The SPFL’ also criticised Mr Blackford’s comments.

They tweeted: “Three hours before you tweeted this 71k fans travelled around Scotland for SPFL games, 49k at Ibrox, 3.5 miles from Hampden, just 6 weeks ago your Government encouraged us to open our homes to anyone around the world for COP26, you can’t pick & choose when you want to be responsible.”

The Scottish League Cup final went ahead as planned, with Celtic coming back from behind to win 2-1.

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Mr Blackford didn’t attend the game, but he tweeted his support for Hibs during the game.

He tweeted prior to kick off: “Maybe not getting to the ⁦@HibernianFC @spfl⁩ cup final today but I will be there in spirit watching from home. Bring the cup back to Leith Hibs!”

During the first lockdown, when MPs were using Zoom to ask questions in Parliament, Mr Blackford took the chance to show off his football memorabilia.

Appearing on-screen from his home in his constituency of Ross, Skye and Lochaber, eagle-eyed viewers spotted a number of signed footballs, pictures and other green and white items in the background of the Edinburgh-born MP’s picture as he grilled Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab on the introduction of universal basic income.

Others noticed the poster proclaiming ‘Hibernian 3 Rangers 2’ from the Easter Road outfit’s 2016 Scottish Cup victory over the Glaswegian side.

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