BORIS Johnson has been accused of failing to “even listen” after he attacked the SNP for not mentioning Storm Arwen at PMQs - just seconds after Ian Blackford had spoken about it.

The fiery exchange followed the SNP tabling an opposition day debate on the Prime Minister’s conduct - in which the deputy speaker conceded she could not prevent the use of the word “liar”, contrary to normal Commons rules.

At PMQs on Wednesday, Johnson first faced questions from Labour leader Keir Starmer. He highlighted a report that the Prime Minister and his staff had held several festive parties on Downing Street in 2020 - despite the UK being under coronavirus restrictions. 

“I’ve got the rules that were in place at the time,” Starmer told the Commons. “They’re very clear: you must not have a work Christmas lunch or party.”

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He went on: “The Prime Minister doesn’t deny there was a Downing Street Christmas party last year, he’s not denied it. He says no rules were broken. Both of those things can’t be true.”

In his response, Johnson hit out at Starmer for focusing on “the events of 12 months ago”, claiming that current Covid regulations were a “more relevant consideration”.

The Prime Minister declined three separate opportunities to categorically deny the report about Christmas parties on Downing Street last year.

In his contribution, Blackford, the SNP’s Westminster, also brought up the issue of the Prime Minister’s lockdown partying - saying it was more evidence of one rule for him and another for everyone else.

Standing up to speak amid loud jeers from the Tory backbenches, Blackford started by commemorating World AIDs Day and saying that “of course our thoughts are very much with all of those recovering from Storm Arwen”.

READ MORE: Scots face week-long power cut due to Storm Arwen chaos

Raising the issue of the festive parties during lockdown, the SNP MP said it was “deeply regrettable that once again we’re forced to spend so much time in this house discussing the Prime Minister’s misconduct”.

In his response, Johnson said Blackford would “have been better off frankly saying something about the victims of Storm Arwen”.

This caused Blackford to tug his ear and shout “listen” at the Prime Minister, as Johnson said the Scottish and UK governments should work together to help those still cut off after the devastating storm.

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Blackford called it a “disgraceful answer”, adding: “Clearly the Prime Minister can’t even listen.”

He then proceeded to press the Tory leader on his government’s rejection of calls from Holyrood, the Senedd and Sage experts to tighten travel restrictions to protect the people of the UK from the Omicron variant.

“Will the Prime Minister finally convene a four-nations Cobra meeting to tighten travel restrictions, or will he continue to … imperil the health of the public of these islands?”

In his answer, Johnson said Blackford was “simply wrong” about the steps that had been taken to prevent the spread of the Omicron variant.

The Prime Minister said the current testing system and the travel red list were “balanced and proportionate measures”, ignoring shouts from the SNP benches that appeared to say he was ignoring the advice of experts.

The exchange came after the Energy Networks Association (ENA) confirmed that 97% of the homes cut off by Storm Arwen have been reconnected.

However, the remaining 3% represents a total of 30,000 Scots homes which remain without power - down by 15,000 on Tuesday.

The ENA said that the “vast majority” of those still without power are “in remote locations where access remains difficult”.

A reported 100 teams have been dispatched from the south of England, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Wales and the Isle of Man to help in places where “the damage has been catastrophic”

Politicians across the spectrum, including SNP MSP Karen Adam and Tory MP Andrew Bowie, have urged constituents to get in touch if they require any help.

PMQs also saw the Prime Minister pressed on promises made in the 2019 Tory manifesto to build 40 new hospitals and complete 20 hospital upgrades.

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Labour leader Starmer (above) said it was a “very important commitment”, but highlighted a report from the Treasury and Cabinet Office which warned the project was “unachievable”.

He claimed the Prime Minister was on the brink of breaking “yet another promise”.

He said: “You might think that everyone knows what a new hospital is … but this [government-issued] guide instructs everybody to describe refurbishments and alterations on existing hospitals as new hospitals.

“We can all agree that refurbishments are a very good thing, but they’re not new hospitals.”

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He asked the Prime Minister to make clear how many genuine new hospitals were to be built.

Johnson claimed the Treasury and Cabinet Office report’s conclusions were not true, saying that Starmer had been asking “frivolous questions”.

He added: “You obviously don’t go around building on green-field sites.”

The Prime Minister claimed his government was embarking on the “biggest programme of hospital building this country has ever undertaken” and accused Starmer of “playing politics”.