Keith Brown call to consider withdrawing from Westminster ‘completely crackers’, says SNP MP

Stewart McDonald launched a scathing attack on the idea floated by Keith Brown

A prominent SNP MP has launched a scathing attack on a call by the party’s deputy leader to re-examine the issue of whether to withdraw MPs from Westminster.

Keith Brown floated the idea in a newspaper column written in the wake of the Gaza vote controversy. But Stewart McDonald, the party’s former defence spokesman, insisted: “Abstentionism is, to be polite, completely crackers.”

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Mr Brown’s call followed angry scenes in the Commons after Sir Lindsay Hoyle, the Speaker, was accused of allowing Labour to “hijack” a ceasefire debate.

Keith Brown. Picture: John DevlinKeith Brown. Picture: John Devlin
Keith Brown. Picture: John Devlin
Read More
Read more: Why Keith Brown is wrong – Stewart McDonald

Writing in the Sunday National, Mr Brown said: “Given the ‘diet democracy’ of the UK and the denial of democracy to Scotland, it seems we now need to examine whether it is right to confer any legitimacy on an institution determined to deny democracy in Scotland.

“Some have believed for many years that Scotland should withdraw from Westminster while others believe it is necessary to be there, to make arguments on Scotland’s behalf, to promote and protect Scotland’s interests. I have tended to agree with this.

“But when the institution can so easily be manipulated to thwart Scotland’s representatives, the issue needs, in my view, to be re-examined.”

Writing in The Scotsman, Mr McDonald, the MP for Glasgow South, said: “I’ve known Keith for a long time and consider him a friend who has an admirable record of service to party and country.

“But his comments last week – that the SNP should re-examine its participation in the proceedings of the UK Parliament – were not only wrong and unhelpful but, if fulfilled, would be a total abdication of our party’s responsibility to Scotland.”

He added: “One Conservative MP wrote a blog last week, where he talked about the rabbit hole his party has fallen into after losing its ability to speak to the centre-ground of the country or, as he put it, the people who sit at the top of the political bell curve. ‘Political parties can work with the bell curve,’ he wrote, ‘or become the bell ends’. Those backing abstentionism would do well to consider his warning.”

Mr McDonald said abstentionism would see voters abandon the SNP “in their droves”, adding: “Some might call it a strategy; I call it an emotional spasm.”



Want to join the conversation? Please or to comment on this article.