Holyrood erupted in laughter yesterday at James Kelly's attempt to answer a straightforward question about the Scottish budget.

Labour's finance spokesman was speaking in an opposition debate, called by his party despite the fact that the budget was only at draft stage and any vote would be irrelevant to the budget process.

Kelly used the platform to criticise the SNP's plans, calling on opposition parties to lay down "a vote of no confidence", but when asked was unable to put forward any alternative proposals.

He took an intervention from SNP MSP John Mason, who said: "The member has mentioned £700m. Could he spell out for us how he would raise this £700m. Would their be cuts elsewhere or tax rises?"

But it turns out Kelly didn't know yet. "Having seen what a mess the Cabinet Secretary made of his tax proposals, Labour will take adequate time in order to ..." he started.

By this point the SNP benches were howling with laughter.

He went on: "We will publish our tax proposals ahead of the stage one debate."

Quite why this debate was necessary, then, we're not sure.

The SNP's Ivan McKee said yesterday that Labour had given up on being a serious opposition with the "petty budget stunt".

McKee said: “As James Kelly fine well knows, the budget goes through a formal process of scrutiny from committees and the parliament as a whole – where Labour have ample opportunity to bring forward their own costed plans.

“Instead they’d rather indulge in grandstanding by voting with the Tories against a progressive budget with vital investment in our schools and hospitals and which gives public sector workers a pay rise.

“That is typical of Labour, who have learned nothing from a decade of opposition and are sliding further and further into irrelevance.”