THE SNP’s leader at Westminster has renewed calls for Commons Speaker Lindsay Hoyle to resign after his “outrageous” failure to allow Diane Abbott to speak at PMQs – despite other MPs debating racist comments made about her.

On Wednesday, Hoyle repeatedly failed to call on Abbott, who could be seen standing ready to ask a question, despite comments aimed at her by top Tory donor Frank Hester being a key topic of debate.

Analysis found that Abbott had stood up and been ignored on 46 separate occasions. 

After intense criticism was levelled at Hoyle over the incident, Abbott wrote on social media: “I don't know whose interests the Speaker thinks he is serving. But it is not the interests of the Commons or democracy.”

Speaking to LBC, Stephen Flynn said Hoyle had made “an absurd decision”.

The SNP group leader further renewed calls for the Speaker to resign his position, which he first made after Hoyle broke with convention to allow a Labour motion to be debated on SNP opposition day, saving Keir Starmer from an embarrassing rebellion.

Flynn told LBC: “I cannot fathom why the Speaker of the House of Commons did not allow Diane Abbott to use her own voice on a matter which is intrinsically linked to her as a person. It was an absurd decision.

“Every single Member of Parliament in the Chamber knew that Diane Abbott ... was bobbing, that she was ready to ask a question, she had her notes with her. We were all just waiting for it to happen and then the Speaker decided that she's not going to have a voice on this issue.”

The Aberdeen South MP went on: “If I may, I think he's lost control of the Chamber. Obviously, the disagreement between myself and Lindsay is well known to everyone. But this was a stage further today … I think it's beyond even me to offer some sort of commentary as to the decision making that the Speaker gave today because it's so outrageously bad.”

Flynn said it was “unforgivable” that Hoyle had not given Abbott a right to speak on her own terms about a debate which had centred on her.

“Today was just a step too far,” he said.

Flynn was seen to speak to Abbott after PMQs concluded. Asked what had been said on LBC, Flynn replied: “I won't necessarily go into specifics because it was very fleeting, but I just wanted to express to her my shock that she hadn't been taken.

“I expected her to be able to use her voice today. Everyone knew that she was ready to do that.

“It's just very disappointing but maybe typical of Westminster that Diane Abbott wasn't able to express her own views on a matter that is obviously so pertinent to her as an individual.”

READ MORE: Westminster system working to 'limit voice of SNP', senior MP says

Labour leader Keir Starmer was also seen to speak to Abbott after the end of PMQs. The National contributor Owen Jones suggested on social media that Starmer had asked what he could do, and Abbott had suggested restoring the Labour whip, which went ignored.

Responding to Jones’s post, Abbott wrote: “This is true.”

A spokesperson for the Speaker said: “During Prime Minister’s Questions, the Speaker must select MPs from either side of the House on an alternating basis for fairness.

"This takes place within a limited time frame, with the chair prioritising members who are already listed on the order paper.

"This week – as is often the case – there was not enough time to call all members who wanted to ask a question.”

How long should PMQs run? And was the Speaker right that he didn't have time to allow Diane Abbott to speak?

PMQs is expected to run for 30 minutes. It has been known for the occupant in the Speaker’s chair to allow PMQs to run for longer to ensure MPs are called to speak, with some sessions under former speaker John Bercow surpassing the 50-minute mark.

A ballot is run on a computer programme to decide the weekly list of 15 MPs who will be named on the order paper to ask questions.

The Speaker is expected to call those MPs first, along with six questions from Labour leader Sir Keir and two from SNP Westminster leader Stephen Flynn.

On Wednesday, there were 11 opposition MPs and four Conservative MPs in the 15 listed on the order paper.

To ensure he alternated between picking MPs from both sides, Hoyle called seven Tory MPs not listed.

Liberal Democrat leader Ed Davey was also called to ask a question, with three Labour MPs on the original list of 15 missing out.

Wednesday business in the House of Commons usually runs until 7.30pm, with an adjournment debate running for the final 30 minutes.

The session on March 13 finished at 6.54pm.