Political row over allegations MPs on Armistice Day trip to Gibraltar were drunk is a new low – Scotsman comment

If politics in Britain has been reduced to arguing about which parties’ MPs got drunk – or more drunk than others – we are truly in a sorry state.

A group of MPs when to Gibraltar to take part in Armistice Day events (Picture: Jorge Guerrero/AFP via Getty Images)

The accusation by Defence Secretary Ben Wallace that two SNP MPs on a trip to Gibraltar to attend an Armistice Day service became inebriated on the flight over was met with claims it was a “bizarre Tory smear campaign” and “a shameless attempt to divert attention from the Tory corruption scandal” by the politicians concerned.

And then a source hit back further, claiming that two Conservative MPs had been “out on the lash in Gibraltar until the early hours” and turned up “hungover to official events with service personnel on the eve of Armistice Day”.

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Another MP on the trip, Labour’s Charlotte Nichols, who allegedly had to be taken out of the airport in a wheelchair, told the Sun newspaper that “everyone had had a few drinks on the flight”. She said she had “less than five”, adding that the alcohol had reacted badly with medication she was taking.

The Scotsman cannot say who is telling the truth and who is not. But, if some allowed their drinking to get out of hand, then those MPs should be ashamed of themselves, particularly given the reason they were going to Gibraltar was to honour service personnel who lost their lives in war.

And if they did not, then those who are making mischief are almost as bad.

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Britain’s political class as a whole has been haemorrhaging respect and not just because of the Owen Paterson lobbying affair.

Deputy Labour leader Angela Rayner's description of Conservatives as “scum” and then her repeated defence of those comments was a defiant debasement of the national debate. Thankfully, after a month of reflection, Rayner finally did apologise “unreservedly”, saying “abuse… now seems to feature all too often” in that debate and she would be “more careful” in future.

Hurling abusive remarks, public drunkenness and spreading malicious half-truths are the actions of misguided youths as they struggle to grow up.

So some of our elected representatives need to take a good look at themselves and, like Rayner, reflect on their words and actions because anyone guilty of such behaviour does not deserve to hold public office.

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