HOLYROOD officials have refused to say if they will investigate Alex Cole-Hamilton after he reportedly tried to take part in a debate from outside the parliament bar.

The Scottish LibDem leader sparked a row after using his phone to raise a point of order during a debate last week, but appeared to be dialling in from outside Margo’s, the Holyrood bar just off the Garden Lobby, and a 60-second walk from the Chamber.

MSPs jeered at Cole-Hamilton as he made the blunder, with the SNP and Tories calling for him to apologise in the wake of the row.

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And now, Scottish Parliament authorities have refused to say if any official complaints were made regarding Cole-Hamilton’s conduct in the Holyrood Chamber, and if the Presiding Officer has the authority to investigate him.

We told how the LibDem leader 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.

Appearing on the big screen in the chamber, Cole-Hamilton could be seen repeatedly touching his hair and apologised for being “unable to connect”.

Liam McArthur, deputy presiding officer and fellow LibDem, could be seen shaking his head at his boss.

Several MSPs could be heard laughing and jeering as the incident occurred.

The National:

But - despite numerous calls for Cole-Hamilton to apologise - the LibDem leader is unlikely to face any punishment.

A Scottish Parliament spokesperson told The National: “Rule 2.7 of the Standing Orders sets out that Members can take part in any meetings of the Parliament remotely.

“Any decision to participate in business in the Chamber or remotely is a matter for Members themselves.”

The spokesperson refused to comment any further on whether any complaints had been lodged or the possibility of an investigation by Presiding Officer Alison Johnstone.

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Cole-Hamilton has remained quiet on the row on social media, but told the Scottish Sun he had apologised to McArthur for not arriving in the chamber in time to vote in person.

“I take the proceedings of Parliament very seriously. My voting record speaks for itself in casting my ballot every time that I possibly can,” he said in a statement.

“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.”

The National:

Previously, the Scottish LibDems refused to say if their leader had been drinking ahead of the incident.

The SNP said Cole-Hamilton’s behaviour was “disgraceful” and the public “rightly expect” politicians to show respect for their position as an elected member.

Scottish Tory chief whip Alexander Burnett said that Cole-Hamilton had some “serious explaining to do” and called for him to apologise.

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We told how SNP MSP John Mason called on Johnstone to seek an explanation and apology from the Scottish LibDem leader.

Mason told The National his understanding was that if MSPs were in the Scottish Parliament building, they were required to attend the chamber to vote, speak or take part in debates in any form.

He said that previous instances of MSPs taking part remotely from their offices had been “clamped down on” by officials.