Blackford ejected – SNP follow
Members protest at Westminster
SNP leaders have signalled that the gloves are off in their bid to win the best deal for Scotland on the devolution settlement.
Dramatic scenes saw SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford expelled from the House of Commons, followed by all his MPs, after Prime Minister Theresa May refused to alter her EU Withdrawal Bill.
Mr Blackford had used a little-known parliamentary procedure to call for an immediate vote in the middle of PMQs, leading to a stand-up row with the Speaker John Bercow.
The P&J can reveal the brains behind the move as Aberdeen North MP and SNP Westminster deputy leader Kirsty Blackman, who dug out the procedure in the parliamentary bible Erskine May.
She said her party had played by the rules without success and was now running out of options to be heard.
“We have to do everything we can to stand up for the people of Scotland,” she said. “We have tried at every opportunity to say ‘we don’t agree with what you’re doing’ to the UK Government. Today we have taken a different tactic, although still within the rules, in order to make sure it is clear quite how unhappy we are.”
Ross, Skye and Lochaber MP Mr Blackford said the “outrageous treatment” of Scottish MPs being unable to debate the devolution aspects of the bill justified his actions yesterday.
“This is a serious situation and a constitutional crisis,” he said.
Scottish Secretary David Mundell said the walkout was not justified as the EU Withdrawal Bill reflected the Sewel Convention governing the devolution settlement.
“My job is not to roll over to Nicola Sturgeon, even if that is Mr Blackford’s role.”
ALTOGETHER NOW: MP Chris Law takes a selfie alongtside SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford, centre, surrounded by the party’s MPs