THE Scottish LibDems have been accused of shirking their responsibilities in Holyrood after it emerged that none of their MSPs had attended a meeting of the parliament’s Health Committee for more than five weeks.

The SNP said the party were guilty of hypocrisy.

Despite the coronavirus pandemic, the last time a LibDem MSP attended was on August 25.

The party’s representative on the committee is Alex Cole-Hamilton. However, he has been unable to make recent meetings as he’s also a member of the committee probing the Scottish Government’s botched handling of allegations made against Alex Salmond, which meets at the same time.

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Under Holyrood standing orders, parties can nominate a member to be a substitute. This is what happened in August when Willie Rennie stood in for his colleague.

However, that was just a one-off, with no LibDem attending any of the five meetings held in September. MSPs discussed Covid regulations, the impact of Brexit and scrutiny of NHS boards.

Willie Rennie has been critical of the Scottish Government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic in recent weeks, calling for more scrutiny of their approach.

Earlier this month, in a debate on Scotland’s Covid response, he called for ministers to “let other parties help”.

He told MSPs: “Such issues can be clarified if members are given an opportunity to scrutinise them.

“That is what the Parliament is for – to debate the issues and challenge the Government on them, rather than their being introduced and then changed at the last minute”.

The SNP’s George Adam, who sits on the health committee, said: “Willie Rennie is the first to demand scrutiny of the Scottish Government – and such scrutiny is both welcome and vital – but the LibDems really must practise what they preach.

“For neither Alex Cole-Hamilton, Willie Rennie nor any LibDem to bother showing up at consecutive health committee sessions – where much of the important scrutiny takes place – is hypocrisy verging on negligence.

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“The Scottish Government’s priority during this pandemic has always been protecting the nation’s health and wellbeing but that clearly is not a priority shared by the LibDems.”

When asked about their absence from the meetings, a Scottish LibDem spokesperson said the SNP should spend less time “moaning”.

He said: “In recent weeks our MSPs have held the Scottish Government to account in parliament and outside it for their disastrous handling of care homes, their poor handling of the flu jab rollout and the failure to deliver a working track and trace system.

“The SNP should spend less time moaning about the inability of others to be in two places at once and more time tackling the pandemic that they have conspicuously failed to get on top of.”