IAN Blackford has been told off by the Speaker of the House of Commons for pointing out the Prime Minister's history of lying. 

It came as the SNP Westminster leader urged Michael Gove to launch an independent investigation into “blatant misuse of public money for political purposes”, following revelations that emergency Covid funds were used to conduct polls on the Union.

Asking an urgent question on the Government’s use of coronavirus contracts, he said: “After the revelations and resignations of the weekend, the subject question concerns yet another scandal at the very heart of this Tory government. It seems that not even the health pandemic can do away with classic Tory cronyism.

“And the scale of this particular scandal makes it one of the biggest yet. The Secretary of State, ordered the use of a £560,000 emergency Covid contract to conduct constitutional campaigning on the Union. Instead of using an emergency Covid contract to order PPE for the NHS, the minister chose to order political polling.

“This isn't media speculation and isn't even a political accusation. It is a plain fact. It comes directly from official evidence that has been published in the High Court.”

Blackford went on to demand answers to several key questions, including whether the Prime Minister knew about the polling and who the results were shared with. He also questioned when the results would be published in full and how many other pieces of political research were ordered during the pandemic – and at what cost the public purse.

The SNP MP then cited a report in The National.

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

He said: “These are just some of the questions that the Secretary State needs to answer. There are many, many more.

“The Secretary of State was in Scotland yesterday. He held a press conference. He told Greg Russell of The National newspaper that ‘we don't use taxpayers’ funds for party political opponents’. He went on to claim that the contract was assigned by others.

“We know from the witness statement that these things are not true. The truth and this government are distant strangers, and that should come as no surprise that we remember the Prime Minister has been sacked, not once but twice, for lying.”

His comments led to an intervention from Commons speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle, who said he was "not convinced" of Blackford's assertion. 

Asked to withdraw his claim, the SNP Westminster leader did not back down, insisting he was "relying on matters of fact".

Blackford's urgent question came after it was revealed Gove instructed civil servants to commission polls on “attitudes to the UK Union” using an emergency contract given to a firm run by two of his associates.

The Cabinet Office minister has denied allegations of a misuse of public funds from a coronavirus contract used to carry out opinion polling on Scottish independence.

Junior minister Julia Lopez, who responded to Blackford, refused to commit to an inquiry and said the Cabinet Office would not publish the results of the research in full. 

She told MP that the contract “did not relate to constitutional campaigning and any suggestion government carries out party political research is entirely false".

That prompted Blackford to shout "that's a lie, that's a lie".

Lopez continued: “Government regularly conducts research in every part of the UK to support policy development. In this case we're testing public attitudes related to the Covid-19 pandemic and this became very particularly relevant as different regions of the UK began diverging their approach to testing.”

The Tory minister added that the “non-sensitive” elements of the work would be published “in due course” and said: “Separately the Cabinet Office carries out polling on attitudes towards the Union on a regular basis but this work was paused during the coronavirus crisis.

“We are aware that the Scottish Government also conducted polling on attitudes in relation to Covid, and we did not see this research, and nor would we expect to.”