SNP outrage at MP’s ‘suicide’ heckle during Brexit debate

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Nationalists have reacted with outrage after an MP was overheard shouting “suicide” in response to a question from SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford during a stormy Commons debate on Brexit.

The incident took place after post-­Brexit plans were approved by MPs last night, sparking anger from opposition parties after the devolution provisions of the EU Withdrawal Bill were passed with little discussion.

READ MORE: PMQs: SNP MPs walk out of Commons after Ian Blackford ordered to leave

Several SNP MPs have named the member responsible as Ian Liddell-Grainger, the Tory MP for Bridgwater and West Somerset.

Scottish secretary David Mundell described the comment as “inappropriate”.

Speaking in the Commons, Mr Blackford said: “Mr Speaker, what options are available to us in this house to ensure that the government understands real concern among people in Scotland at this unprecedented power grab, and how can we make sure that our voices are heard?”

Immediately after the question on options was asked, an MP could be heard shouting “suicide”.

Edinburgh West MP Joanna Cherry said: “On a point of order, Mr Speaker. When my right hon. friend the Member for Ross, Skye and Lochaber was asking you what options were open to Scottish parliamentarians to raise their concern about what has just occurred today, the hon. Member for Bridgwater and West Somerset shouted, “Suicide”. Is that in order, Mr Speaker?”

Speaker John Bercow replied: “I would say to the hon. and learned lady that I did not hear that. I am not disputing it; I am simply saying that I did not hear it. If I had heard it, I would not have approved of it.”

Mr Liddell-Grainger was first elected in 2001. Last year the former army major was described in Private Eye magazine as “Somerset’s answer to Donald Trump”.

When asked about the incident by the BBC, Scottish secretary David Mundell said it was right that Mr Liddell-Grainger had been “slapped down”.

“I didn’t hear those remarks, but of course it’s not appropriate,” he said.

“Ian Blackford and others raised the issue with the Speaker and the Speaker made it quite clear that that was something that was inappropriate to say in a debate like that.

“It shows inappropriate behaviour in the House of Commons. Unfortunately members across the House occasionally indulge in such behaviour and when it happens, as was the case yesterday, it should be slapped down.”

Asked whether Mr Liddell-Grainger should be reprimanded, he said: “He’s already been drawn to the attention of the Speaker and that’s the appropriate thing within the House of Commons.”

The Scotsman has asked Mr Liddell-Grainger for comment.

READ MORE: SNP threaten to pull out of ‘power grab’ talks after Brexit debate damp squib