ON Thursday I witnessed the most appalling contrived Scottish Questions at Westminster. The chamber was dominated by predominately English Conservative and Labour MPs with clearly prepared questions, all of which were critical of Scotland and the Scottish Government and of course Scottish independence.

Alister Jack started proceedings off with criticism of the British armed forces in Scotland being forced to pay higher rates of taxes in what is the highest-taxed part of the UK! This stance was echoed by a Tory English-based MP who expressed indignation.

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On and on it went, with more English MPs indicating how lucky the Scots were being subsidised £2000 more per capita than England. Another took great pleasure in highlighting the £15 billion black hole which was being supported by the UK Government and remember, “these were the Scottish Government’s own figures!” Jack nodded in animated approval at such comments. At no time while this was going on did an SNP MP have an opportunity to challenge these statements.

The spectacle was not finished. As expected, Labour’s red Tory Ian Murray joined the fray with his usual anti-independence stance. Douglas Ross, congratulated by Alister Jack for being appointed the Scottish Tory leader, as usual indicated that he was shocked that the Scottish Government thought declaring its intention to go for a second independence referendum to be more important then tackling the Covid-19 epidemic.

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At last the SNP MPS had the opportunity to read out their prepared questions regarding the internal market proposals, attacking devolution and challenging Alister Jack’s stance on Scottish problems. No opportunity to challenge the earlier comments was possible.

Ian Stewart the English MP Scottish minister, and fellow Tory David Duguid continued the “too wee, too poor, too stupid” mantra while talking up the strength of the Union.

Only Chris Elmore, the English MP shadow secretary of state for Scotland, asked a positive question on “continuing furlough payments past October in Scotland.” The usual pointless reply was received from the dispatch box.

You would think that this biased spectacle could not get worse, but unfortunately it could. A Labour MP from Slough asked why the UK Government had not investigated and taken to task the Scottish Government for being responsible for the highest number of Covid-19 deaths in care in the UK. Alister Jack reluctantly had to explain that this was a devolved matter. Can I suggest that perhaps this MP should comment on what happened in the English care homes?

It is clear that Scottish Questions has passed its sell-by date and serves no useful purpose. Prepared questions and loaded answers, with little to do with genuinely supporting Scotland or addressing its economic and social agenda, it simply provides an opportunity for others to belittle our proud nation.

Dan Wood

THE new leader of the Scottish Conservatives, Douglas Ross, in the House of Commons on Wednesday had nothing new to bring to the debate, nothing new to put on the table, so went on the same old story of knocking the SNP for its policy on Scottish independence!

But amazingly the debate was an opposition day debate on “protecting jobs and businesses in light of Covid-19”! This debate called for the furlough scheme to be extended in an effort to protect jobs and incomes for so many households and individuals.

The outcome of this call to prolong furlough could have far-reaching consequences on the employment prospects for individuals and the country, yet the Chancellor of the Exchequer was conspicuous by his absence in the chamber!

Was his absence an act of treating the public with contempt on such a major debate? At a time when thousands of hard-working families have been forced into claiming benefits, and food bank demand has rocketed, the Chancellor’s absence was totally unacceptable to say the least!

Catriona C Clark

I HAVE had a very different experience of the SNP internal workings to Morgwn C Davies (Letters, September 9).

I regularly receive emails from the party on a variety of issues like equality. I attended the recent National Assembly virtual event, which was widely advertised to members. I am not sure really how many of us like trawling though meeting minutes!! I am proactive about accessing information, and that may be the difference.

READ MORE: SNP members are told little about what goes on behind the scenes

As someone who has been a member, for my sins, of other political parties, I consider the SNP to be a more transparent organisation than most. It has, however, like all small organisations which grow suddenly, been sometime tardy about the sharing of information and developing its systems for cascading information to a larger group, but it is there.

I am of the view that people should be either an MP or an MSP because I think loyalties are split. In some circumstances that can also be in different constituencies, such we have in the north-east, where Westminster boundaries are not always the same as Holyrood. I would prefer different people to do the roles so we can have a team of people work together to support constituents effectively.

Carol A Wood
via email

WITH regards to handling the current pandemic, the Westminster government is responsible only for England. However, any money that Westminster borrows is automatically UK debt, not just English debt, which means it gets repaid by all the other countries in the Union too. Is this what they mean by “pooling and sharing”?

Andrew Innes