Oliver Mundell thrown out of parliament chamber for accusing Nicola Sturgeon of lying
Conservative MSP Oliver Mundell has been thrown out of the Holyrood debating chamber after refusing to apologise for calling the First Minister a liar.
Mundell was asked to leave by the Presiding Officer after he twice declined to rephrase his point of order.
Presiding Officer Ken Macintosh said “using words like lie are not appropriate in this chamber”.
Mundell was referring to commitments Sturgeon had made relating to the committee investigating the handling of harassment complaints against former first minister Alex Salmond.
The Dumfriesshire MSP raised his point of order at the opening of parliamentary business on Wednesday.
He said: “In this chamber on the 17th of January, the First Minister said: ‘The Salmond inquiries will be able to request whatever material they want and I undertake today that we will provide whatever material they request’. Will the Presiding Officer ask the First Minister why she lied to parliament?”
Macintosh told Mundell that there were other avenues to direct his point of order and asked him to apologise and rephrase his comment.
Mundell responded: “I apologise personally to you, Presiding Officer, but in this case I do feel it’s the appropriate word and I can’t find anything else that would express the sentiment,” to which Macintosh responded: “That’s not an apology”.
The Presiding Officer added: “It doesn’t reflect Mr Mundell’s character and I’m sure he’s perfectly capable of finding language that expresses his view about the accuracy of comments without personalising and making provocative terms that are disrespectful to other members.”
Mundell refused a second time, saying: “I think it’s disrespectful to the parliament for the First Minister to make a promise and not to keep it. I can’t withdraw the word, no.”
Macintosh said: “I think Mr Mundell has made his point.”
He was then asked to leave the chamber.
Mundell’s comments were in reference to the ongoing work of the Committee on the Scottish Government Handling of Harassment Complaints, which is investigating the botched 2018 investigation into harassment complaints against Salmond.
The convener of the committee recently said that the committee is facing “obstruction” from various parties including the Scottish Government, senior SNP figures and Salmond himself.
The Scottish Government has repeatedly refused to waive legal privilege to allow the committee to see what legal advice it was given in the run up to the court case and has withheld documents relating to the case.
That is despite commitments made by Sturgeon, who told parliament that the committee would be able to see whatever documents it requests.