BBC Breakfast was offered an interview with the SNP’s Westminster leader ahead of his urgent Commons question on the UK Government spending Covid cash on pro-Union campaigning – but it was rejected, the SNP say.

Ian Blackford has been granted time in the House of Commons this afternoon to press the UK Government over how polling on the Union was paid for with emergency coronavirus funds.

Last week it was revealed that Michael Gove instructed civil servants to commission polls on attitudes towards the Union using an emergency contract given to a firm run by two of his associates.

The National:

Gove has refused to back an inquiry into the issue, suggesting on Good Morning Scotland that he wouldn’t do so due to Holyrood’s own record on conducting inquiries.

Appearing on Sky News this morning, Blackford explained why his party is so keen to push the Government further on the matter.

“What we know is the Government has spent £560,000 of our money, UK Government has spent taxpayers’ funds on campaigning for the Union in the middle of a Covid crisis. Money that should have been spent on Covid. The only reason that we know this is it’s come out through court papers, so this is really a rather serious matter.

READ MORE: Michael Gove has bizarre excuse for rejecting inquiry into Covid cash scandal

“I’ve asked for an investigation, I’ve asked for the Government to reveal the details of their own polling. £560,000 on polling on the Union is really quite a sum of money to spend, so I think the Government’s got to come clean, the Prime Minister’s got to come clean, and Michael Gove of course who is responsible for this.

"This is not a good look, a government who’s doing things in a sleekit way, an underhand way. Let’s have some transparency. Let’s have some openness and have some honesty in politics.”

The National:

The story first emerged in The Herald last week, but was swept to the side of the news agenda following the revelations about former health secretary Matt Hancock.

The SNP’s head of broadcast media questioned why BBC Breakfast turned down an interview with Blackford on the issue.

“Oddly they don’t seem keen reporting on the revelation the UK gov have used £half a mil + of public (dedicated emergency Covid funds) money on pro-Union campaigning,” he wrote.

A spokesperson for the BBC said: “As BBC Breakfast is the leading Breakfast news programme in the UK we receive many interview offers on a daily basis, it would not be possible to feature them all.”