SNP MPs walk out of PMQs in protest over Brexit debate

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Prime Minister's Questions was plunged into chaos after the SNP's Westminster leader was kicked out for repeatedly challenging Speaker John Bercow.

Ian Blackford dismissed suggestions the move was a stunt and insisted he had a right to highlight the "outrageous" actions of Theresa May's Government over Brexit.

The Speaker acted after the SNP MP defied numerous demands to retake his seat after claiming Scotland was being sidelined in Brexit debates.

Mr Bercow ordered him to leave the chamber and said he could not return for the rest of the day.

SNP MPs stormed out in solidarity with their leader and shouted at the Speaker.

Tempers flared after time ran out for debate on the EU (Withdrawal) Bill on Tuesday night as MPs were set to consider what the SNP has termed a "power grab" by Westminster over responsibilities returning to the UK from Brussels.

Mr Blackford suggested that the row could make the case for independence stronger.

He told the Press Association: "It is quite outrageous what has happened."

The Government "railroaded through amendments" without the SNP being able to have its say in the Commons.

"Not one single Scottish MP was able to speak in a debate that lasted less than 20 minutes," he said.

"That's undemocratic, that is a slight to the Scottish Parliament and to the people of Scotland."

At the 2016 Scottish Parliament elections the SNP stood on a mandate of saying it could hold an independence referendum if there is a "material change in circumstances" for Scotland.

"People in Scotland will reflect very carefully on what has happened over these last 24 hours," Mr Blackford said.

"It will be the case that Brexit will be a material change in circumstances.

"When the time is right we will ask the people to come with us, to take that jump, to become a modern European nation."

Conservatives accused Mr Blackford of orchestrating a publicity stunt because Mr Bercow had agreed to hear his motion for the House to sit in private - which would have required a vote and disrupted PMQs - at the end of the session instead.