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  1. ITV Report

SNP Westminster leader kicked out of PMQs and MPs follow after he challenges Speaker

Prime Minister’s Questions was plunged into chaos after SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford was kicked out for repeatedly challenging Speaker John Bercow.

MPs from the party walked out of the question session in protest, with many shouting "bye!" as they left.

Mr Bercow said he was suspending the party leader for the rest of the day following his “repeated refusal” to take his seat when told to do so.

Ian Blackford repeatedly refused to take his seat. Credit: House of Commons

Mr Blackford was asking for the Commons to sit in private when he was called to ask a question during the weekly PMQs session.

He said the people of Scotland had not been given the courtesy of proper debate on Brexit issues that will affect them during a debate on Tuesday night.

Mr Bercow said it would be better to deal with the issue at the end of the question session.

The SNP leader repeatedly objected and refused to return to his seat.

Mr Bercow told him "in light of the persistent and repeated refusal of the Right Honorable gentleman to resume his seat when so instructed" he was banning him for the rest of the day.

Benches in the Commons are left empty after the SNP walked out. Credit: House of Commons

Speaking to the BBC immediately after the incident, Mr Blackford said: "Scotland's voice has not been heard, we have had changes to the devolution settlement that were pushed through last night without Scottish MPs voices being heard. That is a democratic outrage.

"I asked the Prime Minister to bring in emergency legislation so we can conduct a proper debate, with respect, on the powers of the Scottish Parliament.

"Let's discuss the power grab that is coming from Westminster.

"That is not acceptable and the Speaker refused to allow a division which I rightly called for. It is an absolute disgrace.

"My job, my colleagues' job is to stand up for the powers of the Scottish Parliament. I will do that."

Asked if it was a stunt, he replied: "Under standing orders I was entitled to push for that vote today on the basis of the lack of respect that the Conservative government and Theresa May have shown. It is not acceptable.

"I have a duty on behalf of my colleagues, on behalf of the First Minister and the government of Scotland and of the Parliament of Scotland, to stand up against the betrayal that has taken place of the Scottish people with the unprecedented power grab which is taking place.

"We need to, we will and we must stand up and defend Scotland's interests."

Scottish Secretary David Mundell said the SNP was about to be granted a debate on the devolution aspects of the EU Withdrawal Bill. He added: "Disappointed, if not surprised, that if they really felt so strongly about it, they chose a stunt over holding the Government to account."

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon tweeted her support of Mr Blackford saying she was "right behind" him and the SNP MPs who walk out of the Commons, adding "Scotland and the Scottish Parliament are being treated with contempt by Westminster and it needs to be highlighted".

At the end of the stormy hour-long session, Mr Bercow pointed out that Labour MP Clive Lewis's baby, who was in the chamber throughout, had been better behaved.

He said: "For all the turbulence and discord of today's proceedings the little baby who has been observing them has been a model of impeccable behaviour from start to finish."

The comments were met by cheers and claps from across the chamber.