Revealed: The Scottish petitions rejected by Westminster

E-petitions that arract 100,000 signatures can be considered for a debate in parliament. Picture: PA
E-petitions that arract 100,000 signatures can be considered for a debate in parliament. Picture: PA
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A petition calling on MPs to be more considerate in their language when discussing Scottish affairs was one of almost 6,000 to be rejected by parliamentary authorities in 2018.

The published list of thwarted requests from members of the public to Westminster offers an insight into the mood of the country and the issues people are preoccupied with.

While Brexit was unsurprisingly the subject of the majority of petitions, other demands included a call to knight the actor Danny Dyer and a plea for popular video game Fortnite to be banned.

The public has been able to submit electronic petitions to Westminster since 2015. If a petition attracts more than 10,000 signatures, the UK Government must respond. Those with 100,000 signatures may be considered for a debate in the House of Commons. But many do not pass the criteria set by the authorities.

Among the rejected list was a petition titled: “I want MPs to recognise that anti Scottish racial prejudice is unacceptable”.

The petitioner explained: “I want MPs in the House of Commons to be more considerate with their language. There have been a few occasions of late where I have watched debates and seen MPs (usually Conservative MPs) using language that could easily be construed as racist towards the people of Scotland.”

But the petition was rejected on the grounds it was “about something that the UK Government or Parliament is not responsible for”. The rejection statement added: “We can’t accept your petition because this would be the responsibility of individual MPs and not the UK Government or House of Commons as a whole.”

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Other Scottish matters raised in rejected petitions included a call for MEP David Coburn to resign from the European Parliament after he quit UKIP earlier this month.

A newspaper story that the Scottish Parliament had allegedly banned gingerbread men from the Holyrood canteen on the grounds of sexism prompted one petitioner to claim that “political correctness has gone too far”. The parliamentary authorities responded that it was “not clear what the petition is asking the UK Government or Parliament to do.”

Several other rejected petitions demanded a second referendum on Scottish independence, while another called for Paul Gascoigne to be inducted into the SFA Hall of Fame.

Of the more bizarre requests, one petitioner called in June this year for Scottish footballer Alan Hutton to be offered a new contract by his club Aston Villa.

While the petition was rejected, Hutton is still on the books at Villa Park and recently scored a memorable goal in the Birmingham derby.

Perhaps the most ambitious of the rejected petitions, certainly in terms of sheer scale, was a call for the Scottish border to be extended to “include the entire UK except London”.