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Fri, 10 July 2020

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WATCH Chaos erupts in the Commons as SNP leader thrown out over Brexit demands

WATCH Chaos erupts in the Commons as SNP leader thrown out over Brexit demands

Liz Bates

3 min read

The SNP's Westminster leader was booted out of Prime Minister's Questions today after clashing with Speaker John Bercow - prompting a mass walkout by the party's MPs.

In extraordinary Commons scenes, Mr Blackford clashed with the Speaker after demanding an emergency debate on the impact of Brexit on Scottish devolution.

The Westminster leader said: "It is a democratic outrage. The people of Scotland will not be disrespected by this Parliament. Mr Speaker - under the circumstances, given the disrespect that it shows I have got no option but to ask that this House now sits in private."

MPs were given just 15 minutes to debate the devolution impacts of Brexit last night following a day dominated by Conservative party wrangling over the process.

But the SNP chief's insistence that it be addressed immediately - and repeated refusal to sit back down - caused him to be thrown out by Mr Bercow, and suspended from the House for the rest of the day.

Mr Bercow said: "In light of the persistent and repeated refusal of the Rt Hon Gentleman to resume his seat when so instructed, I order the Rt Hon Gentleman to withdraw immediately from the House for the remainder of this day’s sitting."

Chaotic scenes followed as Mr Blackford left the chamber followed by all of his SNP colleagues.  



Speaking afterwards, Mr Blackford told the BBC: “I asked the Prime Minister today to bring in emergency legislation so we can conduct a proper debate, with respect, on the powers of the Scottish Parliament…

“We are now giving a message to the Government that we will take them on. We are not prepared to sit back and see powers taken from the Scottish Parliament.”

Westminster and Holyrood have been at loggerheads over the Government’s Brexit legislation, which the SNP has claimed unfairly repatriates powers from Scotland back to Westminster, undermining the devolution settlement.    

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon today tweeted in support of her Westminster colleagues, saying she was “right behind” them.



However, Tory MP Alberto Costa blasted the SNP, saying they had “shown their true colours”.

He told Sky News: “They have let down the people of Scotland by this ridiculous stunt. And that’s all it was - it was a stunt. Let me be clear… the SNP government in Scotland have had every opportunity to discuss the matter with Theresa May and her government."

Downing Street also piled in, with Theresa May's spokesperson saying: "That sort of stunt means that the SNP members who were down on the order paper to ask the Prime Minister a question can't represent their constituents. We've said on a number of occasions that the politics of independence can be divisive and I think that's probably an illustration of that."

Speaking in the Chamber later, Mr Bercow took a fresh swipe at the SNP "stunt".

"If people absent themselves when they have the opportunity to make these applications they cannot then complain - and I really do think it would be a good thing if we brought perhaps a close to stunts and focused instead on the proper discharge of our responsibilities in this place," he said.

Read the most recent article written by Liz Bates - Jeremy Corbyn admits he would rather see a Brexit deal than a second referendum


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