SCOTTISH LibDem leader Alex Cole-Hamilton must be ordered to explain why he dialled into a Holyrood debate from outside the parliamentary bar, an MSP has insisted.

The party chief has been slammed for using his phone to raise a point of order remotely when he appeared to be a matter of seconds away at Margo’s bar.

MSPs jeered when he appeared on the screen with his shirt unbuttoned as he apologised for being “unable to connect” while repeatedly touching his hair.

He dialled in just after votes had been cast on Labour MSP Pam Duncan-Glancy’s Proposed Disabled Children and Young People (Transitions to Adulthood) (Scotland) Bill.

SNP MSP John Mason has now called on Presiding Officer Alison Johnstone to seek an explanation and apology from Cole-Hamilton.

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Mason said in the past several MSPs have dialled into debates from their offices which he understood was being “clamped down on”, adding that Cole-Hamilton should not think he is “above the rules”.

He told The National: “My understanding was that if MSPs were in the Holyrood building, they should be in the actual Chamber to vote, speak, or take part in any way. 

“In the past several MSPs took part remotely from their Holyrood offices and I thought this had been clamped down on.

“As a principle, Holyrood is our workplace and the default position is that MSPs should be in the chamber in person for FMQs, decision time, if they are asking questions, or if they are speaking in a debate.”

The National:

Mason stressed that while it is positive MSPs can vote remotely – unlike at Westminster – this is not something that should be abused.

He added: “I do welcome the fact that we can take part remotely, however, that should be for a specific reason, including illness, caring responsibilities, or because of a distant constituency/region. 

“None of these would appear to apply to Alex Cole-Hamilton so I hope the Presiding Officer is seeking an explanation and potentially apology from him.

“Being an MSP is a privilege and a responsibility and none of us should think we are above the rules.”

The Scottish Parliament has been approached for a response.

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The Sun reported Cole-Hamilton had been at the bar with a staffer following a meeting. It is not known whether the LibDem leader had been drinking.

Deputy Presiding Officer Liam McArthur looked confused throughout the exchange as Cole-Hamilton struggled with his connection.

Shouts of “disgrace” and “the shame” could be heard in the chamber when he spoke while one politician could be overheard telling ex-LibDem leader Willie Rennie: “We’d have never got that from you, Willie.”

SNP MP Gavin Newlands speculated that had this behaviour been displayed by a member of his party, they would have faced much worse scrutiny for their actions.

He tweeted: “As an aside, call me an old cynic, but I rather think that if this was an SNP MSP, let alone group leader, that high profile elements of the Scottish media would be going big with this. 'SNP has questions to answer' 'SNP MSP urged to resign,' and so on...”

SNP MP Richard Thomson also criticised Cole-Hamilton for displaying arrogance during the debate.

He said on Twitter: “Remote participation should always add value to Parliamentary proceedings. Sadly, @agcolehamilton demonstrates here the textbook against.

“The very definition of someone who thinks Holyrood is fortunate to have him elected there, rather than the reverse being the case…”