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by Kirsteen Paterson
08 June 2023
'Toxic' Tories are 'tarnishing the reputation' of the Scottish Parliament, SNP deputy claims

Keith Brown MSP

'Toxic' Tories are 'tarnishing the reputation' of the Scottish Parliament, SNP deputy claims

The "appalling toxicity" of Tory MSPs is "tarnishing the reputation" of the Scottish Parliament, SNP depute leader Keith Brown has claimed.

Speaking in the Scottish Parliament, former Royal Marine Brown struck out against Conservative leader Douglas Ross and his party, criticising what he called the "disingenuous conduct and appalling toxicity within the Tory group".

The former justice secretary accused the members of "tarnishing the reputation of this parliament", also singling out long-serving MSP Murdo Fraser and suggesting Ross had "knowingly misled" the chamber.

The comments come one week after Ross criticised Glasgow's new low emissions zone, telling First Minister's Questions that this had forced a homelessness charity to change its operations because its vehicle was deemed too polluting to enter certain streets.

It later emerged that an exemption had been arranged for the charity.

And Brown's remarks also come one day after Fraser described Green MSP Maggie Chapman as being "wired to the moon" in a debate about tourism. 

At the time, culture minister Christina McKelvie, Brown's partner, said Fraser's conduct was "wholly inappropriate".

Brown said: "This disingenuous conduct, allied to the evidence and appalling toxicity within the Tory group, exemplified yesterday, Presiding Officer, by the disgraceful language of Murdo Fraser in attacking through personal abuse a member of the parliament, in parliament, is in my view by design tarnishing the reputation of this parliament."

He asked PO Alison Johnstone: "I seek your advice about how we can ensure opposition leaders like Douglas Ross do not knowingly mislead this chamber, and whether you can inform the parliament as to whether Douglas Ross has made any attempt to correct the record or seek your permission to make a statement so that he can explain why he thought it was acceptable to pursue a misleading way to question during First Minister's questions?"

Johnstone said no requests for the making of personal statements had been received and it is up to the PO to decide if the standards of courtesy and conduct have been met.

She said "robust" debate is expected and "members do have an obligation to carry and conduct themselves in the chamber with respect".

She went on: "The integrity of the parliament is of the utmost importance."

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