SNP accused of being ‘neo-fascist’

SNP accused of being 'neo-fascist'

By Alex Stevenson

A senior Labour MP faces calls for his resignation after describing the Scottish National party (SNP) as "neo-fascist" in the Commons.

Scottish affairs committee chair Ian Davidson gave the slur as SNP MPs heckled him during a debate late last night on the Scotland bill.

Shortly before 23:00 BST Mr Davidson received vocal criticism after pointing out that the SNP's proposals were not always accepted – as was the case with his support for the 'yes' campaign in the defeated alternative vote referendum.

"I notice that efforts are being made to shout me down," he said.

"That is what has traditionally happened in Scotland when people have challenged the nationalists, and those of us who want to challenge the narrow neo-fascism of the nationalists have got to be prepared to have discussions…"

The SNP's Stewart Hosie instantly raised the "nonsense" 'neo-fascist' remark with the Speaker, John Bercow, calling the use of the description "absurd, offensive and wrong in every regard".

Mr Bercow replied that his powers "do not extent to the refutation of nonsense", after which Mr Davidson added: "Is it not neo-fascist to attempt to shout down speakers with whom one disagrees?

"We have had robust debate in the House on several occasions, but it has frequently been the case in my constituency, after I won it from the nationalists, that they have attempted to shout me down."

The SNP is now seeking Mr Davidson's resignation from the chairmanship of his select committee.

A spokesperson said the Scottish affairs committee chair should "watch out for minority party interests" and added: "It's just not acceptable."

In the Commons, Westminster leader Angus Robertson asked whether Mr Davidson's ongoing chairmanship of the Scottish affairs committee was a "benefit for the union".

Liberal Democrat Scottish secretary Michael Moore replied: "It's incumbent upon all of us in this debate to ensure we use moderate, appropriate language.

"In this House we don't make challenges to one another's honour or otherwise… it is important that in these debates we are careful about our language and we have a debate about the substance of the issues."