DEBATE in the House of Commons was punctuated by the sound of SNP MP Angus MacNeil roaring today as Labour mocked the party’s efforts to shake things up at Westminster in the new parliament.
Former first minister Alex Salmond announced after the general election that the Scottish lion had roared, but shadow Commons leader Angela Eagle claimed it had been more of a “whimper” so far.
During the business statement, she said: “The then gloriously self-styled 56 have now been in Parliament for nearly a month. They promised to make the Scottish lion roar at Westminster.”
As she spoke, Mr MacNeil (Na h-Eileanan an Iar) attempted a half-hearted roar from his seat, causing much laughter around the chamber.
She continued: “So far it has been more of a whimper, as we hear...
“As of Friday, out of the 1,300 oral questions asked of Government, as far as I can see they have barely managed one each.
“They put down what they thought was a reasoned amendment to the second reading of the Scotland Bill, but it was so badly drafted it was ruled out of scope and not called so they couldn’t even vote on it.
“They tried to amend the EU Referendum Bill but forgot to put their leader’s name (Angus Robertson) on it. I’m sure it was just a coincidence that Alex Salmond’s name appeared at the top instead.”
She concluded by mocking Mr MacNeil, who locked himself in the toilet earlier this week to avoid voting for the EU referendum after finding himself in the wrong lobby.
Ms Eagle said: “To cap it all off, one of their most senior members who has been here since 2005... most long-standing anyway... failed to vote on the second reading of the EU Referendum Bill because he was cowering in the toilet in the wrong lobby.
“In the light of all this, the SNP’s grand plan to shake up Westminster appear to be going rapidly down the pan.”
The SNP’s Pete Wishart joked that Mr MacNeil had been “practising his roar”, at which point MPs were treated to a more convincing effort.
Mr Wishart added: “And a very impressive roar it is too. As one can hear.”