Highland MPs trade accusations over SNP protest in Westminster
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A SNP protest in Westminster has been dismissed as a “cheap stunt” by far north MP Jamie Stone.
Earlier this week nationalist MPs were excluded from a vote on the NHS in England under the English Votes for English Laws (EVEL) system.
They insisted there would be an impact on NHS Scotland funding in the vote and that they should have a say on the issue but they were excluded by Paisley-born Dame Eleanor Laing.
To mark their displeasure at the ruling, the SNP group posed to take a picture holding placards that variously read “hear no EVEL, see no EVEL, speak no Evel” and which was tweeted out by MP Pete Wishart.
But Mr Stone insisted that convention in the House of Commons means MPs other parts of the UK cannot vote on bills that apply only in England and the bill in question only affected NHS England.
He called on the SNP to play closer attention to matters closer to home such as NHS Scotland so “people in my constituency might see their services improve.”
“The SNP have deliberately misrepresented the ‘English Votes for English Laws’ system for their own political gain,” he said.
“English MPs have no right to vote on matters relating to NHS Scotland. It is therefore reasonable that Scottish MPs cannot vote on bills that only affect NHS England. The SNP know this. It is obvious that their attempt to vote last night was a cheap stunt.
“If the SNP government in Edinburgh put as much time and effort into funding the NHS in the Highlands as they do to political stunts, people in my constituency might see their services improve.”
The SNP's Westminster leader MP Ian Blackford hit back saying: “The Tories have for some time tried to turn Westminster into England’s parliament and not the United Kingdom’s.
"I have a simple solution for them in that case – admit to Scotland’s right to choose its own future, we will vote for our independence and England and Scotland can govern themselves from their respective autonomous parliaments.
“Holding Scotland hostage, whilst denying its representatives their parliamentary rights is an outrageous way for any democracy to function.
“Jamie Stone shows his gross ignorance here of the effect of this Bill which will directly impact spending in Scotland.
“Scottish MPs have been sidelined here on the critical issue of health service funding – despite amendments from the SNP that would have protected our NHS from any Tory attempt at privatisation.
"By defending the Tory Government in doing whatever it wants to do to Scotland, Jamie Stone has shown his true colours.
“The fact that we have the status of Scottish MPs being downgraded in Parliament yet Stone wants to attack the SNP shows he is incapable of standing up for the democratic rights of Scotland.”