BORIS Johnson has criticised the SNP’s suggestion to chop off the bottom of classroom doors to increase ventilation.

The Prime Minister was answering a question from Ian Blackford about the cost of living crisis when he made the remarks, trying to contain laughter as he stood at the despatch box.

Mr Blackford challenged Mr Johnson over his plans to increase national insurance contributions at the same time energy bills are due to rise, in April, citing the example of nurses who he said would see a £275 cut in their wages.

READ MORE: Westminster sketch: Boris barely survives as crisps and tinsel return to haunt him

The SNP Westminster leader said: “ Yesterday Open Democracy found that as a direct result of the Chancellor's National Insurance hike nurses will on average, take £275 a year pay cut in April.

“That pay cut will hit at the very same moment that soaring energy bills land - bills that have shot up £1000 in the space of a year. It is a bill they, and the rest of the public, simply can't afford.

“So rather than the Prime Minister and the Chancellor scrapping over the Tory leadership, will they do something useful and scrap the regressive hike in National Insurance?”

However Mr Johnson rejected the claim, saying it was essential to “clear the Covid backlog” and added: “We have six million people already on the waiting list. I'm afraid that that will go up.

“We need to be recruiting the staff now. That's why we're recruiting 50,000 more nurses, there are 11,000 more this year than there were last year.

“To his point, we’ve increased the starting salary for nurses by 12.8%.”

He added: “I must say that I think it's peculiar that the Scottish nationalist party’s approach to healthcare now is to cut the bottom off doors in schools in Scotland, in order to improve ventilation.”

READ MORE: Education Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville blames 'wilful misunderstanding' for door chopping row

Energy bills

Mr Johnson was also challenged by Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer about his Chancellor's plans to give people a £200 loan for their energy bills, to be paid back over five years. The government has referred to the scheme as a "rebate" or "discount" which Labour says is misleading. 

The Leader of the Opposition said: "Isn’t it just forcing people to take out a loan?”

“The Prime Minister clearly hasn’t got the first clue what the Chancellor’s signed him up to.

“His plan is to hand billions of pounds of taxpayers’ cash to energy companies and then force families to pay it off in instalments for years to come. If it sounds like he’s forcing people to take out a loan, and it looks like he’s forcing people to take out a loan, isn’t it just forcing people to take out a loan?”

He also jokingly asked that if someone lends him money to carry out refurbishments in his flat, and he has to then repay it, would Mr Johnson describe that as a loan or a discount. 

Mr Johnson replied: “Twenty-seven million homes, we’re giving them the equivalent of £150 rebate off their council (tax). Their (Labour’s) offer is for £89, ours is faster, more generous and more effective.

“This is a global problem caused by the spike in gas prices, but what they would do is clobber the oil and gas companies right now with a tax that would deter investment in gas just when this country needs gas as we transition to green fuel, it would be totally ridiculous and it would raise prices for consumers.”

Sue Gray

The Prime Minister vowed to "immediately publish in full whatever Sue Gray gives me”.

Raising the investigation Conservative Mark Harper said: "I’m only asking this question because I asked the Prime Minister last week and I didn’t get a straight answer.

“It’s important because it’s about those who make the law obeying the law.

“The Prime Minister wants to be judged on the facts and that’s right. So can I ask him to commit at the despatch box that upon conclusion of the Metropolitan Police investigation, will he ensure that Sue Gray’s final report is published immediately and in full?”

Mr Johnson replied: “With great respect to (him), I do believe I answered that… but I’ll repeat, for the benefit of the House, that as soon as all the inquiries are concluded I will immediately publish in full whatever Sue Gray gives me."

Jimmy Savile claims

Labour MP Ruth Jones urged the Prime Minister to apologise and resign for using "careless words" against both Keir Starmer and her constituent Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who was condemned to an extended prison sentence in Iran.

Ms Jones said: “I understand the Prime Minister has been heard singing I Will Survive in recent days. I would suggest that he would be better off singing Careless Whisper instead, because in 2017, Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe ​was condemned to an extended prison sentence in Iran because of the careless words of this Prime Minister.

“Now, in 2022, this week, my friend, the Leader of the Opposition was hounded by thugs outside this Parliament because of the careless, disgraceful words of this Prime Minister. So will the Prime Minister do the decent thing, will he reconsider his words, repent and resign?”

Boris Johnson replied: “I don’t think she should either let the thugs and yobs who bullied and harassed the right honourable gentleman off the hook, because they are culpable, any more than she should let the Iranian Government off the hook, because they are culpable.”

Latest partygate revelations

As PMQs began, the Mirror published a photograph of Mr Johnson at a Christmas quiz in Downing Street on December 15, 2020. 

The quiz is one of the gatherings at Downing Street not thought to be part of the current Metropolitan police inquiry.

The image published by the newspaper shows Mr Johnson behind a No.10 staff member, who is wearing tinsel, with an open bottle of champagne and a half eaten bag of crisps on the desk beside him. 

It has prompted calls for the Met to include this in its inquiry, with critics arguing it clearly breaks lockdown rules at the time. 

Asked about the image at PMQs, Mr Johnson said: "That event already has been submitted for investigation."