Last week, the SNP proved particularly vocal at PMQs after they went on the offensive over a Scottish Conservative MP missing Labour’s opposition say debate on universal credit to referee at a Barcelona match. Although the vote was non-binding – and the Conservatives abstained anyway – Douglas Ross has since promised to hang up his whistle – after next year’s World Cup.
Not willing to drop the issue, however, the SNP’s Mhairi Black has gone on the warpath in her Daily Record column today. Black says that while the SNP MPs were out in force, Ross ‘cared so little that he was completely absent from Parliament’:
‘One Scottish Tory MP, Douglas Ross, cared so little that he was completely absent from parliament – choosing instead to earn big cash on the side, and spend time rubbing shoulders with celebrities, in his second job as a referee at a football match in Spain.
Now if you read this column you’ll know I’m a football fan – but when you are elected and paid to do a job representing your constituents you put your role as an MP first, especially on one of the most important issues facing the country.’
However, Mr S suspects Black should take care that she doesn’t fall foul of the old adage people who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones. This weekend, the Sunday Times reported that Black has the worst voting record in Westminster since the election. Black voted in only one-fifth of divisions since June – with ‘well-placed SNP sources’ claiming her absences are ‘becoming an issue’.
Still, Black’s stance on voting in Parliament appears to vary depending on who is doing the voting. As a reader notes, in 2015 Black said that voting in person, rather than electronically, was outdated and wasted time:
‘Are we genuinely saying that the underground can log millions of travellers, day in, day out, without a problem, and 650 of us can’t hit a button? It’s just stupid. A couple of Mondays ago, I didn’t get home until half past midnight because we were voting.’
With Black’s help, perhaps Ross can keep his side job after all…