The SNP have called for all MPs to have suicide awareness training after an alleged Tory jibe.
The call came following yesterday’s Brexit bill debate in which it was alleged Ian Liddell-Grainger shouted “suicide” when SNP leader Ian Blackford asked what options were open to Scottish parliamentarians to debate the devolution amendments to the EU (Withdrawal) Bill.
SNP frontbencher Alan Brown spoke emotionally about friends and constituents who had been affected by suicide as he called on Commons leader Andrea Leadsom to take action.
Mr Brown, speaking during business questions, said: “I’ve been at the funeral of one of my best friends’ son who’d committed suicide, I’ve been at the funeral of one of my early childhood friends who’d committed suicide, I had to help a constituent get his son sectioned for his own safety because he was suicidal.
“So therefore I too want to put on record my disgust at [Ian Liddell-Grainger] for shouting that suicide was an option for the leader of the SNP to consider, it’s completely out of order. So I’d like to ask the Leader of House if she can make a Government statement about what’s been done to educate members in their behaviour.”
SNP MP Marion Fellows (Motherwell and Wishaw) earlier said: “The families and friends of the far too many young men in and around my constituency who have recently committed suicide were rightly appalled, as am I.”
Ms Leadsom said she was unaware of the incident, but added: “Mr Speaker and I have both made clear that unacceptable language, threatening language, violent language and of course offensive language should not be used at any time, let alone in the chamber.”
Speaker John Bercow added that he did not hear the remark, but said: “It is not a term that should be bandied about in the spirit of political polemics.”
Mr Bercow, responding to a later point of order from Mr Blackford, told MPs: “I have just been advised by a Government whip that the member concerned, who is not present at the moment, maintains that he was referring to political suicide.
“However, I would just say I do think this underlines the importance of us using language with great care.”
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