Alex Salmond in angry clash with deputy speaker over ‘cutting off’ Edinburgh MP

Edinburgh South West Constituency Joanna Cherry. Picture; Lisa Ferguson
Edinburgh South West Constituency Joanna Cherry. Picture; Lisa Ferguson
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Former Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond clashed with the deputy speaker in a heated exchange over whether he had cut off an SNP MP while speaking.

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Tempers frayed after seven hours of debate during the Brexit Bill’s Monday committee stage in the Commons, as opposition MPs complained of a lack of time to debate the amendments.

The disagreement came as deputy speaker Lindsay Hoyle tried to move on from SNP’s Joanna Cherry, who used her speech to move devolution amendments to accuse the Government of “hubris and contempt” in its attitude to Scotland.

Mr Salmond (Gordon) said the deputy speaker had cut her off while speaking and demanded she be allowed to continue, to jeers and shouts from MPs. Ms Cherry then walked out of the chamber.

Raising a point of order, Mr Salmond told Mr Hoyle: “It is quite clear that the honourable member had not resumed her seat, Sir. Being in the chair accords you many privileges but you cannot reinterpret the wishes of an honourable member who is on her feet.”

Mr Hoyle responded: “As the chair I have the right to make decisions on this House. What I would say is quite rightly when I wanted to bring her in, which I did ... I certainly don’t expect advantages to be taken of the chair on the agreements that I make.”

Referring to the Brexit Bill, he said: “It is a very serious matter, it is so serious that I want to hear what the minister has to say.”

Earlier, Mr Salmond claimed the debate on legislation to allow Theresa May to start formal Brexit talks was being rushed through the Commons.

SNP and Labour MPs had reacted angrily after just one vote was held on the first group of amendments to the European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill.

Former shadow chancellor Chris Leslie said there had been a “knife in proceedings” to curtail debate and the opportunity for MPs to vote.

Deputy speaker Natascha Engel replied: “The deputy chairs and clerks spent a very, very long time looking at every single amendment in detail, looking at every single group in detail over a period of three days, and we came to the decision that we would put the lead amendment to a division and then we would move on to the second group.”

Mr Salmond, also raising a point of order, said: “There is no challenge to the chair in any of these points of order but honourable members are entitled to point out that this programme motion is railroading debate on the biggest constitutional decision facing this country for 50 years.”

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