Conservative MSPs reprimanded by Nicola Sturgeon for laughing during FMQs

MSPs were heard laughing during the First Minister’s response to a question from Neil Bibby on job losses.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon during First Ministers Questions at the Scottish Parliament, Edinburgh.First Minister Nicola Sturgeon during First Ministers Questions at the Scottish Parliament, Edinburgh.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon during First Ministers Questions at the Scottish Parliament, Edinburgh.

Conservative MSPs were reprimanded by Nicola Sturgeon after they were heard laughing while the First Minister answered a question on the potential loss of up to 800 jobs at aviation company Swissport.

Neil Bibby had raised the potential job losses at Swissport which could affect workers at several Scottish airports including Edinburgh and Glasgow.

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The threat to jobs was described as “absolutely devastating news” for the industry by Unite the Union, with Mr Bibby challenging the First Minister for “urgent actions”.

The Scottish Labour MSP said: “I have asked the First Minister three times now about aviation jobs, I welcome talks on the future of airspace but we also need urgent actions now to save airport jobs in my constituency.

“Doing nothing, First Minister, is not an option, so what work will be done to stop more workers being abandoned?”

Nicola Sturgeon rejected the suggestion the Scottish Government was doing nothing, and said businesses were facing a “multitude” of challenges due to the coronavirus pandemic.She said: “Do nothing on any aspect of this crisis is not just not an option, it is not in any way shape or form what this government has been doing and I think even our sternest critics would recognise that reality.

“I will never criticise anybody in this chamber and across this chamber standing up for jobs in their constituency, in fact I welcome and praise that.

“We’ve got to make sure we are focusing on the actions that we need to take and I hope he will join me as well, not in a party political way, but in a recognition of the reality.”

During the First Minister’s response, laughter from the Conservative benches could be heard, with MSPs later being reprimanded by Ms Sturgeon in the chamber.

After laughter was heard from several MSPs, the First Minister responded with a rebuke.

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She said: “The Tories clearly think all of this is funny but I don’t think it is funny. I think this is really really serious stuff.

“What I was going to say to Neil Bibby was that I also hope we will be able to join together to make a case to the UK government to make sure the right support is in place for businesses and sectors as we go forward.”

Earlier, Pat McIlvogue, the Unite regional industrial officer, said the job losses were the result of a “domino effect”.

He said: “The announcement by Swissport is absolutely devastating news with more than 800 jobs being potentially lost at all three major Scottish airports. We are now witnessing the domino effect cascading throughout the civil aviation industry from cabin crew to airport workers through to baggage handlers and security staff. The industry is so integrated that if one domino falls - they all do.

“It’s an imperative that the Scottish and UK Governments bring forward a tailored supportive package for the industry because if we don’t then thousands of jobs will be lost and when we come out of lockdown there will be no workers in any major Scottish airports left to support the industry getting back off the ground.”

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