The Prime Minister has “stuck two fingers up” to the public over parties held in and around Downing Street during lockdown, the SNP’s Westminster leader has said.

A gathering of around 30 people, including the interior designer Lulu Lytle, had taken place in the Cabinet Room in June 2020 to celebrate the Prime Minister’s birthday, ITV News reported on Monday.

Downing Street conceded staff “gathered briefly” after a meeting.

Ian Blackford repeated his calls for the Prime Minister to resign, adding that Tory MPs should remove him if he fails to leave of his own volition.

“This is a massive failure of leadership and somewhere along the line the Prime Minister has got to accept responsibility,” he said on the BBC’s Good Morning Scotland programme.

“He’s stuck two fingers up at the rest of us, he’s failed to accept responsibility – he has to recognise he doesn’t have the moral authority to lead and quite simply he needs to realise that the right thing for him to do is to show some dignity, show some self respect and to resign.”

While Mr Blackford said he hoped opposition parties would be able to unite, he urged Tory MPs to submit letters of no confidence to the 1922 Committee and force a vote in his leadership.

He said: “I want to see people come together across the house, it’s important that we do that, this man has to go, Parliament has to remove him from office.

Boris Johnson speaking in the Commons
Downing Street confirmed staff ‘gathered briefly’ to celebrate his birthday in June 2020 (UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor/PA)

“The people that have to exert their own responsibilities and do that are the Tory MPs.

“They need to write their letters to the 1922 Committee, there needs to be a motion of no confidence.

“Let’s have a Prime Minister who has the dignity and respect to lead.”

When asked if MPs turning against Mr Johnson could benefit the SNP and other opposition parties, Mr Blackford rejected the idea.

“The job of myself and my colleagues, the First Minister and everybody else in the SNP is to make sure that put the case for Scottish independence – that will stand on it’s own merits,” he said.

“But at the end of the day, we cannot carry on with this man who has singularly failed to show appropriate leadership.

“Let’s not forget, this is a man that illegally shut down Parliament, lied to the Queen on multiple occasions, this man is a charlatan and he simply doesn’t deserve to be left in office, nevermind one day, one minute longer.”