SNP MSP calls for backbenchers to take on Holyrood government

A senior SNP MSP has said fellow backbenchers at the Scottish Parliament should be more prepared to take on the government.

Christine Grahame warns of political tribalism. Picture: Contributed

Deputy presiding officer Christine Grahame said too few colleagues are willing to do so as party whips are “too good at their job”.

She responded to a speech to international economists at Holyrood by Alice Rivlin, first director of the US Congressional Budget Office, on challenges faced by independent fiscal bodies with the advent of President Donald Trump and the era of “fake news”.

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Ms Grahame said “What you said about the Republicans in Congress not always working en bloc, I have to say I’d like to see more of that in Scotland.”

She said the possibility of a second independence referendum is likely to lead to “political tribalism and fewer examples of being able to work together” in Scotland.

In her speech to the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) network of parliamentary budget officials and independent fiscal institutions, Ms Rivlin warned they face “trying times” at a time of “falsehood, fake news and high tolerance for unverified claims”.

She said: “Independent budget officials and parliamentary budgeteers are caught in the middle of this trying to do their jobs, produce accurate, relevant estimates and projections and keep the nation’s fiscal house in order.”