FMQs: Senior SNP minister admits calling Douglas Ross a 'manchild' during fiery exchange

Angus Robertson has however denied saying ‘nobody cares’ during a discussion on ambulance waiting times

A senior SNP minister has admitted calling Douglas Ross a “manchild” during a fiery First Minister’s Questions (FMQs) in Holyrood.

But constitution secretary Angus Robertson denied the Scottish Conservative leader’s claim he had said “nobody cares” while Mr Ross read out testimony from an ambulance worker.

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The Scottish Parliament’s debating chamber on Thursday erupted into shouts while Mr Ross recounted an NHS Grampian whistleblower’s concerns that 18 ambulances had been queued up outside Aberdeen Royal Infirmary.

Culture secretary Angus Robertson in the Scottish Parliament. Picture: Jane Barlow/PACulture secretary Angus Robertson in the Scottish Parliament. Picture: Jane Barlow/PA
Culture secretary Angus Robertson in the Scottish Parliament. Picture: Jane Barlow/PA

Mr Ross was then seen to shout: “What? Is that the response we are going to get from a Cabinet secretary in this Scottish Government? “I hope that is withdrawn.”

Mr Ross’s deputy Meghan Gallacher can then be heard on Mr Ross’s microphone repeating the word “manchild”.

A spokesman for the First Minister has since confirmed Mr Robertson did, in fact, use the word “manchild”.

However, after FMQs Mr Ross also accused Mr Robertson of saying “nobody cares”. The Cabinet secretary has denied using this phrase.

Presiding Officer Alison Johnstone said she “did not hear the comment” that had been made by Mr Robertson to Mr Ross. But she said: “It is absolutely essential members desist from commentary when colleagues are putting questions to one another. We are not going to continue in this vein and I remind everyone to treat one another with courtesy and respect.”

Mr Ross then stood back up and said: “I can’t believe Angus Robertson is smirking after I quoted an ambulance worker in NHS Grampian. I will continue to read out their words as they seem to be uncomfortable for this SNP Government.”

Speaking to journalists after FMQs, Mr Ross said: “This was a really important discussion today about safeguarding the NHS.

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“When I was articulating a quote from a whistleblower about their concerns about ambulances being backed up and what that means for staff on the ground who are unable to get out there and help patients, there was a comment from Angus Robertson that ‘nobody cares’.

“Now he will try and say he was meaning it about me, I’m sure that will be his excuse. But giving a voice to those who do care about their work and their patients and are worried about not being able to help people, I think that deserves a lot more respect than that from the SNP frontbench.”

A spokesman for the Scottish Conservatives said: “Given the way he behaved in the chamber, Angus Robertson calling anyone ‘manchild’ reveals a stunning lack of self-awareness.

“Douglas clearly heard the constitution secretary dismissing the words of the NHS Grampian whistleblower as he read them out, which was why he responded with anger and incredulity.”

Mr Robertson has been approached for comment.



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