AN SNP MP was interrupted and told to correct the record after describing a Tory minister as “shifty” in the Commons.

Speaker Lindsay Hoyle cut off Edinburgh South West MP Joanna Cherry, who had been putting questions to foreign minister Amanda Milling, to ask her to change her language.

On Monday afternoon, Milling had been asked several times if there was a memorandum of understanding on judicial co-operation between the UK and Saudi Arabia ahead of Boris Johnson’s expected trip to the country.

It comes after 81 men were executed in a single day in Saudi Arabia over the weekend – its largest mass execution in recent history.

Alistair Carmichael first raised reports that the UK and Saudi Arabia have a memorandum of understanding on judicial co-operation during the Commons session, urging the minister to publish the document if it does exist along with its human rights risk assessment.

In response, Milling said the “key point” is that our relationship gives us the ability to have “frank” conversations with Saudi Arabia about their human rights record and insisted the UK is opposed to the death penalty. She did not confirm or deny the existence of a memo.

Later, asked again by Labour MP Andy McDonald, Milling could not provide a yes or no answer.

Last year Russia and Saudi Arabia signed a memorandum of understanding on judicial co-operation, which involves exchanging judicial information, bilateral visits and other programmes shared between the countries.

Meanwhile, the UK Government has recently signed a cultural memorandum of understanding with Saudi Arabia with a focus on collaborations in the film, museum and heritage sectors.

When it was Cherry’s time to put forward a question, she said: “I’m puzzled as to why the minister’s so shifty about the existence of this memorandum of understanding on judicial co-operation.”

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She was cut off by the Speaker: “Shifty, not a comfortable word for the House to use,” he said. “Especially when it’s a straight accusation of the minister. Whatever we might think, I think with your good language from your court days I’m sure you can come up with a nicer word.

“Very happy to put it more politely, Mr Speaker,” Cherry replied, before trying once more to get an answer from Milling.

“I’m puzzled as to why the minister is so evasive in persistent questioning about the existence of this memorandum of understanding on judicial co-operation. If it doesn’t exist why doesn’t she just say it doesn’t exist. If it exists why can’t we see a copy and why can’t she tell us whether there’s a human rights risk assessment – and publish that.”

Milling told the MP: “Well I don’t know about being described as shifty Mr Speaker.

“Look I’ve been really clear in terms of what we do as a UK Government in terms of raising human rights with the Saudi authorities, they remain a human rights priority country. As I say … ministers and ambassadors all raise these concerns about human rights.”

In the House of Commons, it is considered unparliamentary language to call someone dodgy, a liar, or to suggest they have misled the parliament.

MPs can risk being thrown out for refusing to correct the record when challenged, as happened to SNP Westminster chief Ian Blackford in recent months.

It is up to the Speaker to determine which words are unacceptable in the parliament.