Tory MP defends ‘woofing’ at Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh

Mid Sussex MP Sir Nicholas Soames drew criticism from the SNP after "woofing" at Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh during a Westminster debate
Mid Sussex MP Sir Nicholas Soames drew criticism from the SNP after "woofing" at Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh during a Westminster debate
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Tory MP Nicholas Soames has said that the “woof” sound he made at the SNP’s Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh during a Westminster debate was a “friendly canine salute”.

Sir Nicholas has been criticised by SNP politicians over the incident, which occurred while Ms Ahmed-Sheikh was responding to a statement by Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson about President Donald Trump’s new US travel restrictions.

He later apologised for making the sound, saying he thought Ms Ahmed-Sheikh had “snapped” at Mr Johnson.

After hearing the sound, Ms Ahmed-Sheikh raised a point of order with Commons Speaker John Bercow and called upon Sir Nicholas to “set the record straight”.

She said: “During my response from the SNP benches to the Foreign Secretary’s statement I understand that Sir Nicholas, who has always afforded me courtesy and respect, was making sort of woof woof-sounding noises to what I was saying, which I find of course extremely disrespectful.”

Sir Nicholas said he had not intended to cause offence and apologised. “I thought that in her question to the Foreign Secretary, she snapped at him a bit at the end, so I offered her a friendly canine salute in return,” he added.

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