BORIS Johnson deserves to have the label “Pinocchio Prime Minister” stick to him for the rest of his time in office whether it is deemed “unparliamentary” or not, the SNP’s Richard Thomson has said.

Thomson, the MP for Gordon, was admonished by the Speaker on Wednesday after he told Prime Minister’s Questions that Johnson’s “fundamental political problem at the moment isn’t about parties or fixed penalty notices or cake”.

He went on: “It is about the lack of trust, integrity and credibility at the heart of government which he now personifies.

“When is the Prime Minister going to realise that people don’t want to hear any more glib, half-hearted non-apologies or hear him witter on about getting on with the job? They just want this Pinocchio Prime Minister to pack his bags and go.”

UPDATE: Tory MPs 'will have free vote' on sending Boris Johnson to lying probe committee

The Prime Minister had told the House of Commons he “bitterly regrets” ­breaking the law and receiving a fixed-penalty notice (FPN) from police who are investigating further allegations of coronavirus lockdown breaches in No 10.

As Johnson began to answer Thomson’s ­question, Commons Speaker Lindsay Hoyle interrupted and called on the SNP MP to withdraw the remark and “be more moderate” in his language.

Thomson said he would withdraw it “when he packs his bags and goes”.

The Gordon MP later told The National: “Pinocchio has been used a few times before in Westminster according to Hansard, but clearly the Speaker took the view that it wasn’t an acceptable label to attach to the Prime Minister in the context of the debate.

“MPs shouldn’t routinely describe each other as being dishonest, but frankly, there’s a growing gulf between what people say about the Prime Minister’s conduct and what we’re able to say about him inside Parliament.

“Whether it’s deemed ‘Parliamentary language’ or not, I think it’s a description that people will recognise for this Prime Minister and it’s one which thoroughly deserves to stick to him for the remainder of his time in office.”

The National: Chris Bryant

MPs were scheduled to vote on Thursday to ­decide if Johnson should be investigated further by a parliamentary ­committee on whether he misled Parliament over his assurances Covid rules were followed.

Labour's Chris Bryant (above) said he will recuse himself as chair of the Committee of Privileges if the motion passes which would allow the body to investigate if Johnson misled parliament.

However, The Tory government has ordered its MPs to vote for a motion which will put off any vote on an investigation into misleading parliament until both Sue Gray and the Met Police have concluded their own probes into partygate.

The move came after some Tory backbenchers reportedly threatened to vote with Labour to allow a probe into the Prime Minister's lies about his criminal behaviour.

Bryant responded on Twitter, posting: "The government amendment today would mean the House would make no decision on whether to refer the PM to the Committee of Privileges. It’s the opposite of the motion. I know some Tories are frightened of having another Owen Paterson moment hung round their neck but this is it. 

"However the only reason the whips have tabled it is because they know time is up for Johnson because so many Tory MPs told them they wouldn’t back the PM. They’re trying to buy time but lashing themselves to the Johnson mast when they don’t know what waters lie ahead is folly."

It was initially reported that all Tory MPs are being whipped to support the amendment. But the Government later confirmed that Tory MPs will be given a free vote on Labour’s motion. 

Plaid Cymru’s Westminster ­leader Liz Saville Roberts also asked ­Johnson whether he will support a “lying in politics bill”.

She said: “Plaid Cymru have been calling for 15 years for a law to ban politicians from being ­wilfully ­misleading. New polling by ­Compassion in Politics shows that 73% of people support such a law.

“Will the Prime Minister support a lying in politics bill?”

Johnson, who will miss Thursday's vote while on a trip to India, replied: “It is well known that the rules of this House demand that we tell the truth in this House and that’s what we try to do.”

When asked if he will commit to making public every FPN he receives Johnson said: “I have been transparent with the House” and “will be”.

The National:

Labour have tabled a motion calling for the PM to be referred to the ­Commons Privileges ­Committee over allegations he was untruthful when he ­assured the ­Commons that coronavirus ­regulations were followed in ­Downing Street during the pandemic.

The party is calling on Conservative MPs to back its call for a Privileges Committee probe during a vote on Thursday, threatening to make those who support Johnson the subject of campaign advertising.

Without Tory votes, the motion, which was published yesterday, looks certain to fail, despite being backed by figures from six other opposition parties.

Speaking to reporters after PMQs, Labour leader Keir Starmer’s spokesperson said: “This is a clear example where ­Conservative MPs should vote with their ­conscience.

“Denying the reference to the ­Privileges Committee isn’t going to sway the public that there wasn’t widespread rule-breaking in No 10. It is simply going to confirm the impression that Conservative MPs believe there is one rule for the ­Government and another rule for ­everyone else.”

Speaking during a trade visit to India, Johnson insisted he welcomed scrutiny of his conduct but defended his Government’s effort to delay any parliamentary investigation into claims he lied to MPs about the partygate scandal.

The Prime Minister said MPs should have the “full facts” before deciding whether a Commons committee should look into allegation that he misled the House with his denials about Downing Street parties during the coronavirus lockdown.

Johnson denied misleading MPs but said the Commons should wait for the conclusion of the police investigation and the publication of senior official Sue Gray’s report into the parties before deciding whether the Privileges Committee should launch an inquiry.