A Week in Parliament

Unacceptable Heckling

I accept I do a bit of “Tory bashing”. It is not my intent to always do this. This week I feel obliged to comment on what I saw as unacceptable heckling and behaviour. And by coincidence he is a Tory.

Ian Blackford raised a point of order and asked the question “what options are available to us?” and the Tory MP, Ian Liddell Granger shouted “suicide”. It was clearly picked up on the microphones for TV so there is no ambiguity of what was said. There are so many levels here – he was suggesting that Ian Blackford should consider going away and killing himself. He is also belittling the effects of suicide and making it a joke of it.

After the event, instead of contrition, he then has the gall to suggest he stated “political suicide”. A complete and utter lie. He ran out the chamber after making the remarks as he knew he had been picked up. Yet Granger now claims we are “cowards” for raising it after he left the chamber, but he knew full well we were trying to raise the matter.

I returned to the subject at Business Questions, and highlighted firstly the key work undertaken by charities but also the funerals of two suicide victims that I have attended and found harrowing. I referenced a constituent case and therefore how disgusted I was by this MP’s behaviour. There are 6000 suicides across the UK each year. It is also known that people have difficulty speaking about how they feel and it is a struggle to break down these taboos and encourage people to be open about their feelings and seek help. I worry that this man may have possibly set such campaigns back. Hopefully by highlighting our anger and belief that this behaviour is unacceptable, we can balance the scales a bit.

The Walk Out

And so we walked out of PMQs in solidarity with our Westminster leader, Ian Blackford. He had highlighted the absurd position that Westminster was planning to impose a Bill on the Scottish Parliament against its will. For the record, 2/3 of the Scottish Parliament has voted to reject the bill in its current format as it allows Westminster to legislate in devolved matters. Yet there was only 15 minutes of “debate” on the amendments relating to the offending clause. Then when Ian wasn’t granted a vote he was entitled to, he was suspended from the chamber. It certainly got the attention of the media which allowed us to explain our concerns. And to constituents who think I stopped representing them. It was only PMQs and a debate. I took part in the votes and got other vital work done. A lesson is that my time was actually more productive!

These thoughts were first published in the Kilmarnock Standard