THE Scottish Tories have accused the SNP of trying to “shield the next first minister from scrutiny” by attempting to cancel next week’s FMQs.

First Minister’s Questions are held every Thursday at 12pm, and this coming session will be Nicola Sturgeon’s last at the front of the chamber. 

With the next SNP leader set to be announced on Monday March 27 after the ballot closes at noon, they are set to be installed as FM on Tuesday, and then undertake their first session of FMQs on Thursday.

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However, according to the Tories, at a meeting of party business managers on Tuesday afternoon, SNP MSP George Adam, the minister for parliamentary business, put the “unprecedented proposal” to Presiding Officer Alison Johnstone. 

If successful, the next FM would not have had to face MSPs until Thursday, April 20. 

The Tories allege Adam had to drop the request after “vehement opposition” from multiple parties.

The SNP said they would "take no lectures" from a Tory party who tried to shut down the Westminster parliament to avoid scrutiny, following the claims. 

The Business Bureau is made up of representatives from each of the five Holyrood parties.

The National: Burnett is the Tories chief whipBurnett is the Tories chief whip

The Scottish Tory member, Alexander Burnett, MSP and chief whip, said it was a “shameful attempt” to hide the new FM from scrutiny, and dubbed it a “new low”.

He added: “Even for a party as obsessed as the SNP are with secrecy and spin.

“It was an outrageous affront to democracy that Nationalist business managers even attempted this stunt.

“This was totally unprecedented and unacceptable – every new First Minister or Prime Minister has faced parliamentary scrutiny whenever their first FMQs or PMQs has happened to fall.”

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Burnett said the “cowardly move” was indicative of the “current state” of the party, following resignations over the weekend by chief communications boss Murray Foote and chief executive Peter Murrell over a row about membership figures.

Burnett continued: “The leadership election has revealed a party in the grip of a civil war.

“The candidates have been kicking lumps out of each other, trashing Nicola Sturgeon’s record and questioning the integrity of the election itself, while the SNP’s chief executive and top spin doctor have resigned for lying to the media and party members. 

“The new First Minister may not want to face the music over this carnage at FMQs but it’s part of the job – and the SNP have been forced to accept he or she can’t be hidden away.”

When Sturgeon took over the top job from Alex Salmond in 2014, she undertook FMQs the following day, the Tories added. 

An SNP spokesperson said: "We’ll take no lectures from a Tory party which not so long ago illegally shut down the Commons to dodge scrutiny.

"Whoever becomes First Minister will be more than happy to face questions at Holyrood every week."

A Scottish Parliament spokesperson said: “The Parliament does not comment on Bureau discussions.”