The Prime Minister was a no-show for the debate which hoped to reprimand him for his conduct and instead Johnson was replaced by a cabinet minister at the Despatch Box.
The SNP tabled a censure motion accusing the Prime Minister of “frequently violating” the principle of honesty in public office and highlighted Johnson’s attempts to undermine the Commons Standards Committee during the Owen Paterson row.
It called for Johnson to have his ministerial salary reduced by £41,567, and refers to the Prime Minister “regularly ignoring independent advice” on issues including international law and the ministerial code.
MPs rejected the motion with a majority of 107.
The Prime Minister did not attend the debate and was instead photographed at a food and drink market which has been set up outside Downing Street.
Meanwhile, in the chamber Blackford called the charge sheet laid against the Prime Minister “damning” noting his attempts to rip up lobbying rules, attempts to restrict the right to judicial review and “seeking to undermine the independence” of the Electoral Commission.
The Prime Minister was photographed at a market pop-up in Downing Street whilst the debate was ongoing
He told the chamber: “Month after month, scandal after scandal – the charge sheet gets longer and longer but not one single person is ever held to account.
“If the public is to have any confidence in this place – then that needs to change today.
“Because unless the Prime Minister faces consequences – unless he is censured – he won’t just think he’s gotten away with the mess he has made of the last few months, he will think he can do it all over again.
Blackford opened the SNP’s opposition day debate on Tuesday
“And let’s be very clear – if the Prime Minister isn’t properly censured today – it will also be final proof that the Tories really do believe that it’s one rule for them and one rule for everybody else.”
Adding that the Prime Minister has “demonstrated himself to be a liar” he set out missed promises on nurse bursaries and the Northern Ireland Protocol.
He said: “It is right to be careful in terms of the language we use in this house, but when it comes to language it is also right to be accurate and honest.
“And on the basis of all the evidence, I can only conclude that the Prime Minister has repeatedly broken the sixth principle of public life. I can only conclude that the Prime Minister has demonstrated himself to be a liar.”
Speaking on behalf of the UK Government Cabinet Office minister Michael Ellis said the calls for censure were like pantomime season come early complete with an “over-the-top characterisation” of the Prime Minister.
Ellis added: “But the reality is, when it comes to fanciful fairy tales, the Scottish National Party are expert, and I venture that neither this House nor the people of this country will appreciate the over-the-top performance nor recognise, I have to say, the absurd depiction of the Prime Minister, a hugely popular Prime Minister of this country, who returned this House with an 80-seat majority and is getting on with the job of building back better.”
Ellis then listed the Government’s agenda since coming to office.
Ellis took to the Despatch box instead of the Prime Minister
Intervening, Blackford said that it was clear the government was making “no attempt” to defend the Prime Minister’s conduct.
Ellis replied: “The feeling is mutual, but I am defending the behaviour of the Prime Minister, the conduct of the Prime Minister: it is this achievement, it is this large litany of achievement that he has no answer for.”
Shamed former Health Secretary Matt Hancock also made an appearance in the debate, initially to defend himself over PPE contracts, and on a second occasion to accuse the SNP of “ pitiful politicking”.
The Tory MP added: “The people of Scotland frankly, deserve better, and they want to see real solutions to real problems, and unfortunately it’s part of a pattern Madam speaker with the SNP that they put ideological purity ahead of the interests of the people of Scotland.”
Fellow Tory MP Andrew Bowie also dodged discussing the Prime Minister’s conduct and instead suggested the SNP were “playing politics” during a time of crisis in Scotland, referring to his constituents in Aberdeenshire who have been left without power for days.
On the SNP’s plans to hold the PM accountable, Bowie called it a “brass neck” and criticised the party’s record in the Scottish Government.
Despite Tory attempts to avoid the point of the motion, SNP MPs kept the focus on Johnson’s conduct.
Steven Bonnar condemned the Prime Minister for “institutional sleaze” while Stewart Hosie listed a litany of scandals including the Owen Paterson row and the proroguing of Parliament.
Hosie (pictured above) said: “This is a pattern of self-serving, self-seeking behaviour. And an approach to governance which is grubby, to say the least, and smacks of dishonesty.
“The rot starts at the top. The fish rots from the head down. That’s the Prime Minister. The buck should stop with him. And the process to end this should end today with support for this resolution.”
Anum Qaisar, Airdrie and Shotts, warned: “The Prime Minister’s action has the potential to bring shame on this House.
“Scandal after scandal risks bringing this very House into disrepute, yet there has been no independent investigation to hold those responsible to account.
“The deception and dishonesty of this old boys’ network is entrenched in Government and the Lords.”
Meanwhile, Marion Fellows said she was “disappointed and angry” but not surprised by the Prime Minister’s conduct.
She said: “Given his predilection for saying what he thinks people want to hear and changing his mind and breaking promises when it suits.
“I wish Scotland were not part of this union but while we are SNP MPs like me must and should censure the current Prime Minister for dishonourable conduct which reflects badly both on the UK here and internationally.”
MPs rejected the SNP motion by 321 votes to 214, with a majority of 107.