A TORY MP has suggested the SNP tried to prosecute Alex Salmond while knowing there was no evidence to do so, and claimed this was worse than Boris Johnson’s birthday party.

Richard Bacon MP said that compared to apparent misdeeds by other parties including Labour and the SNP, the Prime Minister “eating a piece of birthday cake” was a “relatively minor offence”.

Speaking during an Urgent Question on the Metropolitan Police probe into the Downing Street parties, Mr Bacon asked if Michael Ellis, the paymaster general who was responding for the government, agreed that “compared with being interviewed under caution for flogging peerages as Tony Blair was, compared with trying to prosecute a former First Minister of Scotland when they were told there was no evidence to do so, and compared to taking money from Chinese spies, eating a piece of birthday cake is a relatively minor offence.”

The Crown Office prosecuted Mr Salmond over allegations of sexual assault before a jury found him not guilty on 12 charges and not proven on a 13th. 

As he mentioned the prosecution of Alex Salmond, Mr Bacon pointed towards the SNP benches.

He also referenced the scandal of Chirstine Lee, a solicitor who is believed to be an agent of the Chinese Government and who has donated vast sums of money to Labour MP Barry Gardiner in the past. Ms Lee is also thought to have donated to the Conservative party, which Mr Bacon did not mention.

Mr Ellis responded that he had made the point “powerfully and eloquently”.

The exchange came during a tense session in the Commons, where Labour’s Angela Rayner quizzed the Paymaster General over the latest development in the Downing Street party saga.

The Labour deputy asked for clarity about whether a decision to delay Sue Gray inquiry’s was made by Downing Street or the police.

Ms Rayner asked: “Can he assure the House that the Sue Gray report will be published in full, not just the summary? And will the accompanying evidence be provided?

“Can he clarify for the House what Sue Gray and her team will be doing while the police conduct their investigation?

“Can the minister confirm whether the decision to delay the publication of the Sue Gray report was made by the Metropolitan Police or the Government?”

She added: “Given this Government’s record of lost phones, missing messages and minutes, can he assure the House that all evidence from the Gray inquiry will be properly held by the Cabinet Office?”

Mr Ellis replied: “The Prime Minister right now is working on cost of living, he’s working on Russia, Ukraine. He is doing those jobs, the Prime Minister is focused on those areas.”

He added: “I think she also, in her second point, forgets that the word potentially was used. The reality of the matter is that the fact that the police are investigating the matter does not draw any conclusions.”

Conservative Sir Edward Leigh (Gainsborough) said: “When European stands on the brink of war and there is cost of living crisis can we please have a sense of proportion over the Prime Minister being given a piece of cake in his own office by his own staff.”

Mr Ellis replied: “I completely agree.”

SNP MP Pete Wishart suggested that the Met set up a special unit in Downing Street to investigate “general Tory badness”, saying that once they had finished probing the parties they could “perhaps look at cash for honours, cash for access, PPE for pals, paid advocacy and breaking the ministerial code, and just all the other general Tory badness.”

However the Cabinet Office minister responded that a “quick Google analysis of the SNP would not be particularly edifying” and said the Prime Minister was concentrating on delivering for the country.