ALBA Depute Leader Kenny MacAskill MP has launched a scathing attack on SNP MPs at Westminster Following the passage of the deadline (Thursday 4 November) for MPs to sign the Early Day Motion (EDM) tabled by ALBA Westminster Leader Neale Hanvey MP and  supported by Mr MacAskill and SNP MPs Joanna Cherry QC MP and Douglas Chapman MP.  The purpose of the motion was to annul the secondary legislation tabled by the Home Office to transfer draconian powers to the Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body (SPCB) to limit demonstrations and protests at the Scottish Parliament building and grounds.

In a statement Mr MacAskill said:

“We have really do have to ask what these powers are for?  COP26 has shown these powers to be completely unnecessary. The Police were more than able to deal with a March of 100,000 through the streets of Glasgow, at the weekend, without requiring any additional powers.

“While Joanna Cherry and Douglas Chapman deserve credit for supporting this important initiative, to revoke these powers, the vast bulk of SNP MPs have sat on their hands and refused to support a motion to secure a debate and vote to revoke Home Office legislation  which limits protest at the Scottish Parliament, despite the SNP Conference voting against these powers.

“Neale Hanvey reached out to all of the parties at Westminster offering to work with them, as part of a united front, to defeat this draconian law and said that if the SNP and ALBA worked together we could at the very least secure a debate and vote on the legislation.

“Even after these powers came into force on 1 October there was still a realistic chance, under Westminster procedures, for this law to be revoked.  But for that to happen it required SNP MPs to sign up to the motion and use their numerical clout to force a debate. SNP MPs refused to do that and that opportunity has now gone.

You have to ask what the purpose of SNP MPs is if it is not to seize the opportunity to stand up for Scotland and defeat this right wing Conservative Government from imposing draconian laws which have been condemned by Amnesty International and their own party Conference.

“Stronger for Scotland ? SNP MPs have failed to stand up for Scotland, they have treated the decision of their own party conference with contempt and they are now taking the Scottish people for fools. 

“SNP MPs are colluding with Pritti Patel, the most right wing Home Secretary in living memory, in open defiance of their own SNP membership and SNP Conference which made its concerns clear about this attack on civil liberties and legitimate protest at our national Parliament.  This is a dark day and one I never thought I would ever see.  SNP MPs should hang their heads in shame.”