SNP fury as Tories try to ‘hijack’ Scottish Affairs Committee - despite only having six Scottish MPs

Ian Blackford with SNP MPs in Westminster, London. Photograph: Aaron Chown/PA.

Ian Blackford with SNP MPs in Westminster, London. Photograph: Aaron Chown/PA. - Credit: PA

The SNP have reacted furiously to Tory plans to pack the Scottish Affairs Committee with five Tory MPs - despite only having six in the whole country.

The SNP are planning to block a motion which would agree the membership of the select committee after it accused the government of trying to "hijack" it.

The proposal would appoint two Labour MPs, one Lib Dem, three SNP MPs, and five Conservative members.

Patrick Grady said MPs from his party share "concern and disappointment" and urged the government to "think again" about its composition.

He added that the proposed membership "defies democracy" and accused the government of "rewarding the failure of the Conservative Party in Scotland".

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"Since 2015 the membership of the Scottish Affairs Committee like its counterparts for Wales and Northern Ireland has been drawn entirely from members representing constituents in that relevant nation and it has consistently over the years reflected broadly the outcome of the general election and political balance in Scotland - but that is not the case with the composition being proposed this evening," Mr Grady told MPs.

He added: "Five Conservative members on a committee for a party that only has six members in the country that the committee is interested in.

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"An increase in the number of places from four to five despite the fact that the Conservatives lost more than half their members of parliament in December's election.

"It will be the largest number of seats held by a single party on this committee since the 2010 parliament and the largest number of seats that a governing party has had since the 2005 parliament.

"This seems an awful lot like rewarding the failure of the Conservative Party in Scotland at the last election."

Grady added: "How does this committee make up reflect the precious union and the respect agenda? Where is the partnership of equals?," he questioned.

"The government really does have to consider what it is doing tonight," he said.

As the motion ran out of time to be voted on, it will have to be tabled again by Conservative MP Bill Wiggin on behalf of the Committee of Selection.

The motion will have to be passed before the Scottish Affairs Committee can be formed.

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