ALEX Cole-Hamilton is facing calls to apologise after he apparently tried to take part in a Holyrood debate from outside the parliament bar.

The Scottish LibDem leader sparked jeers from his fellow MSPs after he used his phone to try to raise a point of order remotely.

Appearing on big screens in the Holyrood chamber, Cole-Hamilton repeatedly touched his hair and had his shirt unbuttoned as he apologised for being “unable to connect”.

Deputy presiding officer Liam McArthur, also a LibDem MSP, could be seen to shake his head after telling his leader that the intervention would be “recorded”.

Energy Secretary Neil Gray could be seen holding his hand over his mouth in apparent disbelief as other MSPs laughed and talked about how Cole-Hamilton had looked to be outside Margo’s – the parliamentary bar.

The story first appeared in The Scottish Sun, which reported that the LibDems had declined to say if their leader had been drinking.

Shortly later, Cole-Hamilton again plugged into the Holyrood debate using his phone as MSPs openly laughed.

“Can you hear me now, presiding officer?” the LibDem leader asked, before adding: “Sorry about that. I couldn’t connect and would have voted no.”

McArthur (below) could be seen to make a confused face as he asked Cole-Hamilton to repeat himself, but no response was forthcoming.

The National:

The SNP and Conservatives both said the incident, which happened during a Labour MSP Pam Duncan-Glancy’s Proposed Disabled Children and Young People (Transitions to Adulthood) (Scotland) Bill, warranted an apology from the LibDem leader.

An SNP spokesperson said: “If this is true, it’s disgraceful behaviour in any workplace, not least the Scottish Parliament. People rightly expect politicians to conduct themselves properly and show respect for the job they are elected to do on their behalf.

“Alex Cole-Hamilton should apologise and provide assurances it won’t happen again.”

Alexander Burnett, the chief whip of the Scottish Tory group, said: “Alex Cole-Hamilton has some serious explaining to do. The public will want to know why the LibDem leader thought this was appropriate behaviour.

“This incident fell far below those standards and he should apologise.”

READ MORE: Alex Cole-Hamilton under pressure after event 'broke Covid guidelines'

Cole-Hamilton told The Scottish Sun he had apologised to McArthur for not arriving in the chamber in time to vote in person.

He said: “I take the proceedings of Parliament very seriously. My voting record speaks for itself in casting my ballot every time that I possibly can.

“MSPs regularly vote remotely and on this occasion, fewer than a third were present to vote in person.

“After decision time, I immediately sought out the deputy presiding officer to apologise for not arriving at the chamber in time.”