UnNews:SNP MPs quickly become a headache

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SNP MPs quickly become a headache

Straight talk, from straight faces

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29 May 2015

Angus Robertson

Mr Robertson was wearing a white rose. Not shown: the Scottish skirt thing that made his delegation's outburst especially easy.

WESTMINSTER, England -- The delegation of 56 new Members of the new Parliament from the Scottish National Party (SNP) promptly committed a faux pas on their first day on the job.

SNP leader Angus Robertson was rebutting a fierce attack by Labour's Ian Austin when the highlanders burst into applause. This was too much for Speaker John Bercow. "The convention that we do not clap in this Chamber is very, very long established and I would invite them to show some respect for the traditions of this Chamber of the House of Commons."

Parliamentary etiquette states, "Members must not disturb a Member who is speaking by clapping, booing, exclamations or other interruption." Obviously, Mr Bercow is not consistent on the point, hypocritically allowing sustained ovations on trivial events such as the farewell speech of Tony Blair.

Blair's own government had pressed to abandon the rule against clapping, but a Modernisation Committee ruled that a change could lead to abuse.

Thwarted in their first attempt at self-expression, the SNP delegation fell back on the thing Scots do second-best: All 56 turned around and mooned the Labour Member. Speaker Bercow frantically thumbed through the procedure manual, but wound up throwing up his hands in resignation.

The outburst by the MPs is seen as a giant step forward in inducing support for the concept of Scottish independence.

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