SNP dismiss ‘running riot’ at Westminster claims

A MAGAZINE article claiming the SNP’s MPs are swilling champagne in Westminster bars and living it up in one of London’s late-night drinking dens has been dismissed by the party’s London-based politicians.

A Spectator article said the 56 SNP MPs were 'wreaking havoc' at Westminster. Picture: Jon Savage

Natalie McGarry MP yesterday described the article in the Spectator as “bizarre” and “pretty silly”, saying the author has misquoted interviewees and retold stories inaccurately.

Ms McGarry was reacting to a piece by Alex Wickham, headlined: “The SNP run riot at Westminster: The SNP’s Barmy Army Are Wreaking Havoc in SW1.”

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Mr Wickham claimed a Westminster barmaid left her job a couple of weeks after having a heated argument with an unruly member of the SNP’s new intake.

In his article, he also claimed that a document written by disgruntled SNP aides criticises the behaviour of the party’s representatives and refers to Alex Salmond as “Mr Terror”.

Last night SNP sources said they were unaware of the document, which was also said to accuse the Western Isles MP Angus MacNeil of child-like and arrogant behaviour.

The Spectator article claimed bar staff in the House of Commons say SNP MPs are ordering champagne rather than whisky.

It also describes MPs eating out in an expensive London restaurant and dancing the night away in the Players’ Bar in Charing Cross Theatre, which is open until 3am.

“When 20-year-old Mhairi Black is not wowing the House with her eloquence, she is impressing revellers on the dance floor, ‘A bit reserved early on, but that’s understandable,’ reports a fellow clubber. ‘She was dancing away with the rest of us by the end of the night’,” the article claimed.

After the latest edition of the Spectator was flagged up on Twitter, Ms McGarry tweeted: “Bizarre piece in the spectator about SNP MPs.

“Fact the author has misquoted and retold stories inaccurately pretty silly.”

Also on Twitter, her colleague and the former Runrig rock musician Pete Wishart joked: “It must be rubbish.

“I’m the most rock and roll in our group and I’m not even mentioned.”

While the SNP MP for Glasgow South Stewart McDonald said: “Caught up with the Spectator piece. An incredible work of fiction. No doubt one of many hatchet jobs over the next 5 years.”

In parliament’s Sports and Social Bar, Mr Wickham describes a “band of portly gentlemen”, who “bellow out Scottish folk songs”.

According to his article, there was a contretemps between an SNP politician and a barmaid, which supposedly ended with a foul-mouthed retort.

The magazine reports Labourites complaining that the bar has been “colonised” by the Scots, who have renamed it the “Rabbie Burns Bar”.

In the nearby Strangers Bar, the bar staff apparently claim that the SNP MPs order champagne rather than whisky.

As well as dancing at the Players’ Bar, Mr Wickham claims that SNP MPs took part in a “team dinner” at the Cinnamon Kitchen in the middle of London which offers red deer at £29 and Pinot Noir at £100 a bottle. The article does not say what was eaten or drunk by the MPs.

It said: “Watching them sip champagne on the Commons terrace and hearing about their fine dining and luxurious flats, one cannot help but feel the SNP’s new intake are already becoming the very metropolitan elite they claim to despise.”

Last night an SNP spokesman said: “SNP MPs are focused on representing their constituents at Westminster and presenting the real opposition to the Tories. 

“This article clearly does not reflect that reality.”