SNP Foreign Affairs spokesman Alex Salmond rowed with House of Commons Deputy Speaker Lindsay Hoyle as tempers ran high during last night’s EU debate.
The former First Minister was repeatedly told to sit down by Mr Hoyle as he appealed against the treatment of his fellow SNP MP Joanna Cherry, who was speaking during the debate on the role of devolved administrations in Brexit negotiations.
With the time approaching midnight, Mr Hoyle called on the Edinburgh South West MP to speak, assuming she would take a couple of minutes to make her contribution.
But as Ms Cherry stated that she would ‘take as much time’ as she needed to get her point across - ‘I note that honourable members opposite were given as much time as they wanted to make their points, and I intend to take as much time, as is my right, to make my point’ - Mr Hoyle said that her speech had ended and invited Brexit minister Robin Walker to sum up for the Government, drawing furious reaction from the SNP benches.
As Mr Salmond attempted to get his point across, Mr Hoyle chastised him, saying: “Mr Salmond, you should know better.”
Raising a point of order, Mr Salmond said: “It is quite clear that the honourable lady had not resumed her seat, Sir.
“Being in the Chair accords you many privileges, but you cannot reinterpret the wishes of an honourable member who is on her feet.”
As MPs from all parties chimed in, Mr Hoyle retorted: “Mr Salmond, as the chair, I have the right to make decisions in this House. Quite rightly I wanted to bring the honourable lady in, which I did.
“When the SNP whip comes and asks me to give a couple of minutes to ensure that the SNP has another voice, which I did, I certainly don’t expect advantages to be taken of the chair on the agreement that I met.
“That is the difference. Sit down.”
The Deputy Speaker was forced to appeal for calm in the House of Commons during the exchange.
As Mr Salmond continued the argument, Mr Hoyle stepped in again to say: “Tempers are running quite high. We need to just calm it down.”