Ian Blackford moans at Boris Johnson for not keeping him informed on India visit and urges PM to be more 'respectful'
SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford has moaned at Boris Johnson for not keeping him and other MPs informed, saying the Prime Minister treats the House with disrespect
Boris Johnson has “no respect for the office he occupies and even less respect” for the House of Commons, SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford has claimed.
Mr Blackford claims the Prime Minister has contravened parliamentary convention by making his recent trip to India.
Asking an urgent question on the Prime Minister’s visit, he said: “There is a clear convention that Prime Ministers have a duty to update this House following their attendance at major summits or following significant visits.
"This convention has been respected and followed by all prime ministers in recent years, but like on so many other matters, the only exception to that rule is the current Prime Minister.
“Following his visit last week the Prime Minister should have come to this House and given an update, he has once again failed to do so. Instead he chose to go campaigning for his party in the local elections, though I suspect that won’t do them much good.
“This Prime Minister failing to come before this House is by no means a one-off. He has failed to come before the House after the extraordinary NATO summit in March.
"There is a very clear pattern here. This is a Prime Minister who has no respect for the office he occupies and even less respect for this House."
Mr Johnson has visited Narendra Modi in India, with the pair pledging a "shared security and prosperity through national resilience" in a joint statement.
The Prime Minister faced criticism for his trip, due to it happening while he faces scrutiny over Partygate.
Mr Johnson has vowed to strengthen ties with India as the UK looks for post-Brexit trade deals.
Ministers have heard that a free trade deal with India would represent the UK “dancing on the human rights and civil liberties” of communities across India, due to human rights concerns.
Labour MP Khalid Mahmood (Birmingham Perry Barr) told MPs: “India is a human rights abuser across all of its country: for the Sikh Community, for the Muslim community, for the Christian community and particularly more strongly for the Kashmiri community.
“When she talks about signing an agreement coming up to Diwali, they will be dancing on the human rights and civil liberties of all those people who have been persecuted in India, and will she accept that is not acceptable to us as a democracy?”
Foreign Office minister Vicky Ford replied: “We do not pursue trade at the exclusion of human rights. We regard both as an important part of a deep, mature and wide-ranging relationship with our partners."