Alex Salmond urges SNP to adopt radical change at Westminster

Scotlands former First Minister said this was not really a great departure from the SNPs independence in Europe position as EFTA membership can be a prelude to full European Union membership in the future.
Picture: TSPL
Scotlands former First Minister said this was not really a great departure from the SNPs independence in Europe position as EFTA membership can be a prelude to full European Union membership in the future. Picture: TSPL
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Alex Salmond has warned SNP MPs that they need to step up their efforts at Westminster - because there are ‘no gold stars for good attendance’.

The former member for Gordon was speaking during the third instalment of his sell-out show at the Edinburgh Fringe, with special guest John Bercow, Speaker of the House of Commons.

Mr Salmond following his 1988 expulsion from the Commons. He said the incident had raised both his and the SNP's profile. Picture: TSPL

Mr Salmond following his 1988 expulsion from the Commons. He said the incident had raised both his and the SNP's profile. Picture: TSPL

Mr Salmond urged his party to remember a phrase he attribute to Winston Churchill - ‘if you always play the game, you always lose’ - as he called for the party to ’make an impact’.

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The former SNP leader said: “[The SNP] decided a long time ago in our history as a party that we wouldn’t be abstentionist. We’d always attend, we’d always work, we’d always do the job. And that’s right of course.

“But at various times different tactics are necessary. There are no gold stars for good attendance in the House of Commons.

“You don’t get patted on the heid and told ‘well done, you were there all the time, that was absolutely fine’.

“That’s not what it’s about.”

Mr Salmond, who lost his seat in June’s general election, added: “At times you have to make an impact. Because the absolutely worst thing in politics is to be ignored. You don’t just do things because that is what has been done.

“You do things to make an impact for your people and your nation.”

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As an example, Mr Salmond recalled his intervention in the 1988 Budget, which led to his expulsion from the House of Commons chamber - but also helped accelerate both his own profile and that of the party.

He claimed that the stunt had enabled the Nationalists to ‘register on the political spectrum’ for the first time in many years.

During the event, Mr Bercow spoke of his personal opinion that Westminster should adopt electronic voting, as used in the Scottish Parliament, as well as reiterating his backing online voting in general elections.