A LABOUR MSP has been suspended from Holyrood for a day after a spat with Holyrood’s Presiding Officer Tricia Marwick.
Michael McMahon was excluded after shouting “You’re out of order” at her during fiery exchanges on Wednesday night. He apologised at the time but was later suspended by Ms Marwick who insisted he had treated her with “gross discourtesy and disrespect”.
Mr McMahon hit out on Thursday at the way government ministers “consistently mislead” parliament and escape punishment.
Tempers flared in Holyrood this week when it emerged Alex Salmond had overstated the number of green energy jobs in Scotland by 7,000 during a debate last month – then had the official record changed without telling MSPs.
The Tories are calling for the Presiding Officer to step in and make a ruling on the way Holyrood’s official record was changed, warning that this undermines the “founding principles” of the parliament.
Mr McMahon insisted he had reacted in the “heat of the moment” and out of “frustration” as Ms Marwick explained the sequence of events which saw the official report changed.
“I have always believed in the Scottish Parliament,” he said. “However I believe its integrity is being called into question. Ministers are consistently misleading parliament without sanction. Now it seems that the official record can be changed at the First Minister’s whim without anyone’s knowledge.”
The MSP was reluctant to criticise Ms Marwick, an SNP MSP before becoming Presiding Officer last year, but insisted ministers could not be allowed to mislead parliament “free of any punishment”.
Tory Mid Scotland and Fife MSP Liz Smith has written to Ms Marwick calling on her to rule on whether this change in the report should have been made without Mr Salmond informing MSPs.
She said: “Clearly, if this is accepted practice, then it effectively means that any member may correct the official record as they see fit, without the openness and transparency which, I believe, are two of the founding principles of the parliament.”