SNP membership soars by 5,000 following MPs' walkout over Brexit bill

Posted On: 
14th June 2018

Membership of the SNP jumped by more than 5000 in the 24 hours after the party's MPs dramatically stormed out of the Commons in protest over the Brexit bill.

SNP MPs posed for photos after walking out of Prime Minister's Questions
Credit: 
PA Images

The irate Nationalists left in unison during Prime Minister’s Questions yesterday after their Westminster leader was kicked out for refusing to accept the Speaker’s order for him to sit down.

Ian Blackford had tried to use parliamentary procedure to force a vote halfway through the weekly setpiece.

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The move came amid anger at the UK government for providing just 15 minutes to debate how devolution will be affected by the Britain quitting the European Union.

The SNP say powers returning from Brussels which affect devolved areas should go directly to the Scottish Parliament, but the UK government say some should temporarily rest with Westminster before permanent arrangements are agreed.

UK ministers are now pushing ahead with the EU Withdrawal Bill despite the Scottish Parliament refusing to give its consent to the legislation, a move which Mr Blackford said has sparked a "constitutional crisis".

Addressing MSPs at First Minister’s Questions at Holyrood today, Nicola Sturgeon said people were “angry” at the Government’s move, before confirming 5,085 new members had joined the SNP since yesterday.

The latest figures on party membership from the House of Commons library show the Tories have 124,000 members as of March, while the SNP had 118,200 in January, meaning they could be within a whisker of becoming Britain's second largest party.

SCOTLAND 'SHAFTED'

Mr Blackford today returned to the Commons, with a call for Scottish Secretary David Mundell to resign after accusing him and ministers of having “totally shafted Scotland”.

“The UK government should not legislate on devolved matters without the consent of the Scottish parliament," he said. "The Scottish Parliament denied that consent - not the Scottish government, the Scottish Parliament. The Scottish National Party, the Labour Party, the Liberal Democrats and the Greens.

"We have all said that we do not give consent to what the UK government is seeking to do, yet the Secretary of State comes with excuses, attempting to save his own skin, knowing he has totally shafted Scotland and the people of Scotland."

Mr Mundell said the UK government could not accept the Scottish Parliament’s position after failing to find a compromise, but said talks would continue.

“We are now faced with the reality that the Scottish Parliament has not given consent for this critically important legislation that provides certainty across the UK," he told MPs.

“That is not a situation that any of us would have chosen. It is not however a crisis, nor is it unforeseen.

"While devolution settlements did not predict EU exit, it did explicitly provide that in situations of disagreement, that the UK parliament may be required to legislate without the consent of devolved legislatures."