Anger over claims of "racist, fascist" VIP's Holyrood welcome

Andriy Parubiy was applauded by MSPs
Andriy Parubiy was applauded by MSPs
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Holyrood chiefs have come under fire over claims that a "racist, facist Nazi" was hosted as a VIP guest at the Parliament.

The Ukranian Parliament's speaker Andriy Parubiy was applauded by MSPs, as he was announced to the Holyrood chamber prior to First Ministers Questions today.

But his appearance later prompted an angry backlash when his far right political links emerged.

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Labour backbencher Neil Findlay is now calling for a review of the system of inviting VIPs to Holyrood.

"Members do not know who we are being asked to acknowledge in this Parliament," the Lothians MSP said as he raised the issue with Holyrood Presiding Officer Ken Macintosh.

"And this is a very dangerous precedent to set because who knows who the next person to come through the door is.

"We do not have prior knowledge of who these individuals are. We do not know, we cannot research their history before the moment that you ask us to welcome them into a democratic institution.

"I would like to know the next time I am invited to welcome a racist, fascist, Nazi to this Parliament."

Mr Findlay had earlier said that Mr Parubiy was a founding member of the social national party of Ukraine, who he claimed are far right fascists which based its formation on "Hitlers's Nazis."

"It only accepted ethnic Ukranians as members," Findlay said.

"It was a party practising social nationalism and used Nazis symbols to promote its ideology ."

It merged with other parties to form a new organisation, said by the European Union to be a racist party, according to Mr Findlay.

"He controlled this far right organisation's para-military wing," the Labour MSP went on.

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Mr Findlay questioned whether Holyrood officials "research and vet" VIP guests to the Parliament and suggested MSPs should have information about who they are being invited acknowledge in advance.

He also questioned whether any foreign dignitaries seeking to visit Holyrood have been "refused"

The MSP added: "Will you look at the processes around the invitation and reception of guests so that members of this Parliament know who they are being asked to welcome into this democratic institution?"

Mr Macintosh invited Mr Findlay to pursue the issue with Holyrood business managers.

He added: "It is my role to welcome speakers, heads of Government, commissioners and ambassadors to the Scottish Parliament on your behalf."

The Presiding Officer added it is "detailed in advance" when visitors attend the Parliament.

"I would suggest when we have a speaker representing another Parliament it is expected that we would welcome that speaker to this Parliament - or somebody representing that country."