UNELECTED Ulster Unionist Lord Empey has used a debate in Parliament to demand the Scottish Parliament be held accountable by Westminster.

Empey, a former leader of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), suggested that forcing Holyrood and the Assembly in Wales to defend the decisions of their elected members to the parliament in London could prevent a repeat of violence similar to Northern Ireland’s Troubles in Scotland and Wales.

His speech was described as “bonkers” by an SNP MSP.

In his speech to the upper chamber last night, Empey said too often over the last century Westminster had undertaken a policy of “devolve and forget”.

“Once powers are devolved Whitehall can pay little or no attention to what happens in those policy areas,” he told the Lords.

The peer, a former mayor of Belfast, added: “This was a fatal mistake in the case of Northern Ireland, when after 1921 oversight consisted of a desk somewhere on the Home Office manned by a junior civil servant.

“Our troubles might have been avoided with attention to what happens in those policy areas.

“Are we going to make the same mistake again now that there is a Scottish Parliament and a Welsh Assembly as well? I hope not, but see little evidence that the lessons of the past have been learned.”

He then proposed “light touch oversight” of the parliaments in Edinburgh and Cardiff, saying “as most of the revenue raised and spent by these institutions is taxpayers’ money voted to them by Parliament, it seems reasonable that there is some acknowledgement and accountability for these vast sums of money.”

Empey added: “I do not propose any detailed scrutiny, but perhaps an annual appearance before a Parliamentary Committee or even a report to Parliament once a year.”

This, he said, would “enable MPs and MSPs and peers to be aware of what is going on in the regions and get an understanding of how devolution is working in practice”.

His comments provoked an angry response.

Scottish Green MSP Patrick Harvie said Empey had some cheek complaining about a lack of accountability given where he was speaking from.

“It stinks of hypocrisy for an unelected Lord to complain about a lack of accountability, especially at a time when our democratically elected parliament is preparing to fend off a Westminster power grab when we leave the EU,” he said.

“If he expects MSPs to consent to changes that would make Scotland’s government accountable to Westminster instead of to voters in Scotland, then he has lost all touch with reality.

“Surely Lord Empey’s energies would be better spent on pressuring the UK Government to listen to the Irish Taoiseach and prevent a post-Brexit hard border between the north and south of Ireland.”

SNP MSP George Adam voiced his agreement: “This bonkers speech shows just how pointless and out of touch the House of Lords is.

“This unelected Lord rants in a nearly empty room and then picks up a paycheque from the taxpayer for his efforts.

“There are no doubt others on the Tory benches who dream of making the Scottish Government go cap-in-hand to answer to Westminster – but it ain’t gonna happen.”

3252 people lost their lives in The Troubles in Northern Ireland.