Scottish nationalist thrown out of Parliament in Brexit protest

Wednesday , June 13, 2018 - 10:00 AM

Robert Hutton and Thomas Penny

(c) 2018, Bloomberg.

Scottish National Party leader Ian Blackford was thrown out of the House of Commons after he interrupted Prime Minister’s Questions with a protest about the way Scotland was being treated in Brexit negotiations.

Parliament has become more and more acrimonious as the process of leaving the European Union exacerbates divisions. The tension is not only between parties: After Prime Minister Theresa May saw off a rebellion on Tuesday evening by offering concessions to pro-European Union Conservative lawmakers, the warring Tory factions spent the evening at drinks parties describing each other in increasingly derogatory language.

On Wednesday, it was the Scottish Nationalists’ turn to vent. Due to time restrictions, the House of Commons had just 15 minutes the previous day to discuss amendments to May’s key Brexit bill dealing with how powers are split with the U.K.‘s regional assemblies, including the Scottish Parliament.

Blackford used his question to May on Wednesday to raise the profile of the issue.

“This is a power grab and the MPs from Scotland were not even given the courtesy of even debating it last night,” he said. “It is a democratic outrage. The people of Scotland will not be disrespected by this Parliament.”

He then demanded that the Commons “sit in private” -- a procedural maneuver that would have disrupted proceedings by clearing the public galleries. When Speaker John Bercow declined to allow an immediate vote on that, Blackford refused to sit down. “Resume your seat,” Bercow yelled repeatedly, before demanding that Blackford be thrown out.

The rest of the SNP lawmakers followed their leader.

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