A Scottish Conservative MP has asked members of a parliamentary committee not to refer to his party as the “Tories” – even though the shorthand is used in one of the party’s official Twitter accounts.
At a session of the Scottish affairs committee on Thursday, an exchange over the correct names of political parties took place between chairman Pete Wishart, a Scottish National Party MP, and Andrew Bowie, a Conservative MP who sits on the committee.
Wishart moved to make a correction when another committee member referred inaccurately to the “Scottish Nationalist Party”.
Wishart conceded the error was probably “totally inadvertent”, but added: ”I don’t think it helps anybody to misname political parties on this committee, and I’m sure (Iain Stewart, junior minister for Scotland, who was being questioned) would never think about doing this.
“I know we’re having to correct the prime minister all the time on this. Parties have particular names.”
The comment prompted an intervention from Bowie, one of six Scottish Conservatives who serves in Westminster.
He said: “Chairman, can I just cut in there. I completely agree we should get the names of political parties absolutely right.
“So can we make sure we use the name ‘Conservative and Unionist Party’ for the name of our party as we move forward, and not the ‘Tories’ as is sometimes used in conversation.”
To which Wishart replied: “Sometimes you refer to yourself as such, Andrew, though we will try to do our best.”
But, as one Twitter user highlighted, the handle @ScotTories is used by the Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party for its official account.
A BBC feature in 2015 raised the issue of whether it was appropriate to use the term “Tory” as some feared it was deployed as an insult.
Ex-Labour Cabinet minister David Blunkett said he used “Tory” to portray his opponents as “backward-looking, negative and reactionary”.
But Conservative MP Peter Bone was relaxed, adding “Tory is quite handy if you’re tweeting”.