A WAR of words broke out in the Renfrewshire Council chambers as the SNP called for a referendum on the future role of the monarchy.

Conservative group leader Neill Graham put forward a motion congratulating the Queen on her Platinum Jubilee at a full council meeting.

However, the SNP administration successfully voted through an amendment with the support of independent member Andy Doig. This said a referendum should be held considering the prospect of an elected head of state at the end of the Queen’s reign.

Graham said he was a “little puzzled” by the amendment ahead of the vote, before going on to brand it “ridiculous”.

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He added: “This motion that I brought forward was to celebrate Her Majesty’s 70th jubilee.

“I understand that there might be people in the room who don’t agree with the monarchy, but it’s really irrelevant to the motion as the jubilee’s happened over the last 70 years — Her Majesty’s 70 years of service.

“I think that debate is maybe for the future. It’s one that I certainly do not agree with, so I won’t be accepting the amendment.”

SNP councillor Jim Paterson (below), who proposed the amendment, said he felt it was important to note that not everybody agrees with the system at present.

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Responding to Councillor Graham, he said: “You want to celebrate the Jubilee, which I haven’t tried to change in any way as it’s an addition to your motion. I’ve left the body of the motion, so I’m not seeking to change anything there.

“But I think when we talk about the monarchy, particularly the big milestones, it’s always important to remember that not everybody agrees with the system as it is just now.

“I just wanted to say, as I made clear earlier, I am unequivocal in my support for democracy and I think at the end of this current monarch’s reign that people should have a say on the issue on whether to continue with an unelected head of state or to join most countries who go to the ballot box and choose who represents them democratically.”

Labour group leader Iain McMillan said it was “crass” to have a debate on the future of the monarchy while members were trying to congratulate the Queen for her service.

The councillor claimed to be “embarrassed” by the nature of the amendment.

“I’m afraid the SNP group just can’t help themselves,” McMillan said.

“Anything at all to do with Britain or the United Kingdom and its traditions, they don’t want anything to do with it.

“I’m in the Labour Party and I know that there’s mixed views in the Labour Party about the monarchy. I get that, I understand that.

“But this motion is acknowledging the service that Elizabeth II has given to this country for 70 years …

“She’s very, very popular. We can have that debate another time, but I think it’s actually crass to have the debate about the future of the monarchy while having this motion, which is quite clearly and quite simply acknowledging the service that Her Majesty the Queen Elizabeth II has done for this country and beyond.”

A total of 20 councillors voted for the motion, with 22 favouring the amendment.