SNP defends Alex Salmond and Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh's Strasbourg trip

The SNP has claimed it is 'standard practice' for its former MPs Alex Salmond and Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh to continue taking taxpayers' cash to represent the UK parliament in Europe.

Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh and Alex Salmond both lost their seats in June's general election. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

A party spokeswoman defended Mr Salmond and Mrs Ahmed-Sheikh’s decision to attend Council of Europe Assembly meetings in Strasbourg after they lost their Westminster seats.

According to reports, Mrs Ahmed-Sheikh was at the Assembly on June 26 and 27 – two weeks after losing Ochilo and and South Perthshire to the Tories.

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Mr Salmond was there on June 27 after losing Gordon earlier in the month. Mr Salmond and Mrs Ahmed-Sheikh were chosen by the SNP to represent the UK parliament in the Council of Europe in November 2015.

Both former MPs will be eligible for costs worth up to £1,600 for the June 26 and 27 sessions, which can be claimed from the House of Commons.

Scottish Conservative deputy leader Jackson Carlaw said: “The SNP is forever moaning about the House of Lords and other so-called undemocratic outcomes. Both of these candidates were booted out by the electorate yet still they pocket taxpayers’ cash when they should be moving on. In Nicola Sturgeon’s own words, that is a `democratic abomination’.”

A SNP spokeswoman said: “The existing UK delegation remains in place until replaced by the Speaker’s nomination within a six month period of the election. This is the standard practice for all national delegations and necessary to ensure continuity of representation as confirmed by by Tory UK permanent representative Sir Roger Gale.

“The Council of Europe is indirectly elected and includes unelected peers.”

Ms Ahmed-Sheikh is reportedly part of Mr Salmond’s production team for his upcoming Edinburgh Fringe show, ‘Alex Salmond Unleased’.