The SNP Westminster leader delivered a speech to parliament for more than 30 minutes outlining his opposition to the Prime Minister’s controversial Internal Market Bill, prior to its third reading. The MP for Ross, Skye and Lochaber, was accused by Tory MP Gary Sambrook of filibustering and not allowing any other parliamentarians to be heard. The SNP chief was also told off by the Deputy Speaker of the House, Dame Eleanor Laing, who insisted Mr Blackford had spoken twice as long as any other person in the Chamber.
Veteran Tory backbencher Sir Bill Cash also accused the SNP chief of pushing the patience of the House to “breaking point”.
During a point of order, Mr Sambrook Tory MP for Birmingham Northfield, said: “In order for the member for Ross, Skye and Lochaber to be able to filibuster, so much in order to abandon other people being able to input in this debate which is going on at the moment.
“It is surely not fair on so many people who will want to contribute.”
The Deputy Speaker then denied Mr Blackford had been filibustering or delaying a vote, but reminded him of the time he had taken up, and pointed out while he was on his feet other members could not be heard.
In response to the point of order, she said: “That is a reasonable question from the honourable gentleman to ask but if the honourable gentleman for Ross, Skye and Lochaber were to filibuster it would not be in order and I wouldn’t allow him to do it.
“The right honourable gentleman is not filibustering, he is making a very powerful argument, but I do note the honourable gentleman’s point that the honourable gentleman has spoken for more than twice as long as the other frontbenches.
“And that he will appreciate that there are great many other people who would like to make a contribution to this important debate tonight.
“However, it is not a matter for me, if the honourable gentleman has the floor and he can speak for as long as he wishes, but I know that he is both honourable and a gentleman and he will bear in mind that while he has the floor, other people do not have an opportunity to speak.”
I’m simply saying in the very few seconds I have left…”
Despite, Mr Blackford’s opposition to the legislation, the Internal Market Bill passed the third reading in the Commons.
MPs voted 340 to 256 in favour of the bill – a majority of 84.
The legislation which aims to protect trade between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK in the event Britain leaving the EU without a deal, will undergo further scrutiny in the House of Lords at a later date.