IAN Blackford has called out Boris Johnson over his use of racist language amid a row over the vile racial abuse aimed at England players after their Euros defeat.

SNP Westminster leader Blackford asked the PM what “sanctions would be appropriate” for someone who publishes racist content - such as describing Africans as “flag waving piccaninnies with watermelon smiles”.

Johnson made the vile remarks in a Telegraph newspaper column in 2002, and Blackford pressed on what sanction should be handed down for such a statement, which the PM dodged.

Blackford slammed the PM and said his legacy of “dog whistling” followed him into No10 and is at the heart of the UK Tory government.   

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The National:

It comes as England footballer Tyrone Mings criticised Home Secretary Priti Patel for condemning the racist abuse of the team's players after she dubbed them taking the knee “gesture politics”. 

Mings said: “You don’t get to stoke the fire at the beginning of the tournament by labelling our anti-racism message as ‘Gesture Politics’ & then pretend to be disgusted when the very thing we’re campaigning against happens.”

And now, Blackford took the PM to task over his history of racist comments and the impact they have had on discourse.

Blackford said: “Let me begin by congratulating the England team for reaching the final, an incredible achievement. 

The National:

“But the tragedy of the tournament was the undercurrent of racism that was ultimately targetted at three young men, Rashford, Sancho and Saka. 

“Mr Speaker wherever there is racism it falls on all of us to face it down and to call it out, and it is shameful that it took until last night for the Prime Minister to meet with the main social media companies and finally wake up to the fact that those who publish and promote vile racist online abuse need to be faced down and sanctioned.

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“So can the Prime Minister tell us what sanctions would be appropriate for someone who publishes racist content, and it is shocking even having to say this out loud, describing Africans as flag waving piccaninnies with watermelon smiles?”

The Prime Minister replied: “Mr Speaker I’ve commented many times about the words I’ve said in the past and I think the House understands how you can take things out of context.”

Blackford could be seen in the benches shaking his head in response. 

Johnson continued: “I think people do understand that, and what they also understand is there is a chance now to hold these internet companies to account and to make sure they face fines running to 10% of their global income if they fail to take hate and racism off their platforms, and I hope the Scottish National Party will support it.”

Blackford hit out at the lack of “contrition” and apology from the Prime Minister. 

The National:

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He said: “The truth is the Tory party doesn’t sanction those who publish that kind of racist content, they promote them to be Prime Minister. The legacy of this Prime Minister’s dog whistling has followed him into 10 Downing Street and it is now at the heart of this Tory government.”

Blackford referred to Mings’s statement and asked if the PM would stand by the governments belief, as previously noted in a report, that systemic racism is not a problem in the UK. 

Johnson replied: “I do think that racism is a problem in the United Kingdom, I believe it needs to be tackled and it needs to be stamped out, with some of the means I’ve described this morning.”