SNP: 6 Ways Scottish Nationalist MPs Are Defying Westminster Traditions

28/05/2015 15:17 | Updated 28 May 2015
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There's been no shortage of political stirs caused by new Scottish nationalist MPs, who seem far more preoccupied with getting stuck in, debating legislation and representing constituents, than abiding by the House of Commons' dated cultures, customs and procedures.

In a series of upsets that have shaken Westminster, SNP MPs are laying bare the musty practices of Parliament and exposing snobbery on the part of some of of their colleagues and the media, for doing things that to them - and indeed most other people - seem perfectly reasonable.

In the latest controversy, a furious Speaker rebuked SNP MPs for actually clapping in the House of Commons.

"Can I say at the start of the parliament that the convention that we don’t clap in this chamber is very, very, very long-established and widely-respected and it would be appreciated if members showed some respect for that convention,” John Bercow said bitterly.

Not letting the Speaker have the final word, SNP MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North, Gavin Newlands, later tweeted: "The speaker has asked us to respect convention & not applaud agreeable comments. Apparently we must bray 'hear hear' like it's 18th century!".

But there are plenty of other examples where SNP MPs are defying, similar "eighteenth century" traditions.

  • 1 Causing a kerfuffle: Clapping in the chamber
    While clapping is not banned, it is traditionally something members do not do, and are scolded by the Speaker for. But that certainly hasn't deterred MPs from north of the border. All 56 of them broke into "rapturous applause" after one session, according to Glasgow North West's Carol Monaghan. Simon Burns, a Tory MP, said of one recent culprit clapper that their actions had been "totally unacceptable". Oo-er!
  • 2 Shocking standards: #SNPselfie
    The Commons chamber played host to a smattering of selfies after the arrival of #Team56 (SNP MPs self-identifying twitter handle) but managed to cause quite a stir in the process. In between Roger Mullin posing for a photo "pretending to be prime minister" and snapping a quick shot with Kirsty Blackman and Neil Gray, he and other Scottish parliamentarians managed to upset a fair few of their fellow members. The picture perpetrators were allegedly told off for behaving like children. Oh dear!
  • 3 Appalingly in attendance: Those pesky debaters
    While these sorts of graphics are not always the best representation of how active or involved an MP is in fulfilling public office, you certainly can't criticise the SNP for their time given to scrutinising proposed bills. Those who decried the party for not having a mandate in Westminster should take heed of the fact that they seem the only large party left in Parliament up for a good old-fashioned verbal jousting.
  • 4 Sickening seat stealing: Skinner ousted from his perch
    One of Labour's longest serving MPs had a face-off with a rogue Scottish newbie and it certainly wasn't pretty... The SNP member Pete Wishart ousted Dennis Skinner from his space on the far-right of the so-called 'Rebels Bench', the closest an opposition MP can be to the Prime Minister without being in the shadow cabinet. But conniving Labourite Kevan Jones outflanked the Scot, RE-reserving Skinner's place during the daily evacuation for a police sniffer dog search at 1pm. "Wishart was furious," he claimed.
  • 5 Scandalous sandwich choice: Chip butty causes uproar
    Some media went into meltdown when Anne McLaughlin posted a picture of her rookie colleague, Mhairi Black, about to tuck into a hearty meal - none other than one of the nation's favourites, a chip butty. The Westminster and media establishments were well and truly shaken by the revelation that somebody in Westminster could be eating such a carb-heavy meal, it seems. Even the notion...
  • 6 Preposterous photobombing: SNP park their tanks on Labour benches
    In a bid to 'photobomb' acting leader of the opposition, Harriet Harman - and only on their first day - Mhairi Black and her party's colleagues took over Labour's usual places on the second row of benches. It caused quite a stir among indignant MPs, that opposition members were sitting - er... - on the opposition benches. So having ousted Labour from tens of seats in Scotland, the SNP added insult to injury by then expelling their rivals from the benches in Westminster. Oh dear...


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