SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford defends PMQs protest

The SNP's Westminister leader has defended his protest at Prime Minister's Questions that saw him being kicked out of the chamber.

Ian Blackford repeatedly challenged Speaker John Bercow and defied numerous demands to retake his seat after he claimed Scotland was being sidelined in Brexit debates.

After Mr Bercow ordered the MP to leave, Mr Blackford's SNP colleagues walked out in solidarity.

Mr Blackford is the ninth MP to be asked to withdraw for the remainder of the day over that period. The Speaker can kick out MPs who “disregard” his authority.

Labour’s Dennis Skinner has been ordered out for the day four times since 1992.

After their mass walkout, the SNP MPs gathered on College Green outside Westminister for a selfie taken by Chris Law who wrote "this is what standing up for Scotland looks like."

Conservatives accused Mr Blackford of orchestrating a publicity stunt because Mr Bercow had agreed to hear his motion for the House to sit in private – which would have required a vote and disrupted PMQs – at the end of the session instead.

Mr Blackford dismissed the suggestions and insisted he had a right to highlight the “outrageous” actions of Theresa May’s government over Brexit.

SNP MPs walk out of the House of Commons during Prime Minister's Questions. Credit: PA

He told the Press Association: “It is quite outrageous what has happened.”

The government “railroaded through amendments” without the SNP being able to have its say in the Commons, Mr Blackford said.

“Not one single Scottish MP was able to speak in a debate that lasted less than 20 minutes,” he continued.

“That’s undemocratic, that is a slight to the Scottish Parliament and to the people of Scotland.”

SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon said she was “right behind” Mr Blackford and accused Westminster of treating Scotland with “contempt”.

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.”