Entire Scottish National Party storms out of PMQs with Ian Blackford in Brexit row

JOE MURPHY, NIcholas Cecil

Scottish nationalists staged a walkout of the House of Commons today after their leader was kicked out in a row over Brexit.

Ian Blackford tried to halt the lunchtime Prime Minister’s Questions session over what he called a “power grab” by Westminster.

The row was sparked by the Government’s decision to take over powers being returned from Brussels next March. The Scottish Government says they belong to Edinburgh.

Speaker John Bercow refused Mr Blackford’s demand to derail proceedings by staging a vote using ancient privileges.

Speaker John Bercow ordered Ian Blackford out of the chamber

When the SNP grandee refused to sit down, Mr Bercow said: "Resume your seat, resume your seat. Resume your seat young man.

"Mr Blackford. The house will have heard very clearly my acceptance that there can be a vote on this matter.

"I say to you in the kindest possible spirit, don't tell me what the procedures of this house are.

"I'm telling you that there can be a vote at the end of this session and not now.

"Under the power given to me by standing order number 43 in light of the persistent and repeated refusal of the right honourable gentleman to resume his seat when so instructed, I order the right honourable gentleman to withdraw immediately from the House."

The entire Scottish National Party walked out in solidarity leaving their section of green Commons benches empty.

SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon said she was "right behind" Mr Blackford and accused Westminster of treating Scotland with "contempt".

Speaking outside the chamber Mr Blackford said: "Scotland's voice has not been heard, we have had changes to the devolution settlement that were pushed through last night without Scottish MPs voices being heard. That is a democratic outrage.

"I asked the Prime Minister to bring in emergency legislation so we can conduct a proper debate, with respect, on the powers of the Scottish Parliament. Let's discuss the power grab that is coming from Westminster.

"That is not acceptable and the Speaker refused to allow a division which I rightly called for. It is an absolute disgrace.

"My job, my colleagues' job is to stand up for the powers of the Scottish Parliament. I will do that."

Asked if it was a stunt, he replied: "Under standing orders I was entitled to push for that vote today on the basis of the lack of respect that the Conservative government and Theresa May have shown. It is not acceptable.

"I have a duty on behalf of my colleagues, on behalf of the First Minister and the government of Scotland and of the Parliament of Scotland, to stand up against the betrayal that has taken place of the Scottish people with the unprecedented power grab which is taking place. We need to, we will and we must stand up and defend Scotland's interests."