SCOTLAND’S Housing Minister said he had a “number of apologies” after four SNP MSPs accidentally voted against him during a debate on short-term lets.

On Wednesday, a bid by Scottish Tory MSPs to delay the start date of the licensing scheme for operators for a year failed despite support from Scottish Labour and LibDem MSPs.

The final breakdown of the vote showed Justice Secretary Angela Constance, Education Secretary Jenny Gilruth, and MSPs Christine Grahame, Clare Adamson and Fergus Ewing voted against the amended final motion keeping the October 1 start date in place.

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It later emerged that Ewing had been the only intentional rebel, with the four other MSPs profusely apologising to Paul McLennan after the vote, the minister told the Holyrood Weekly podcast.

On this week’s episode, McLennan said he had a “number of apologies” after the four MSPs “pressed the wrong button”.

“It can sometimes be difficult in some of these debates, it depends on who puts a motion forward,” he told The National’s podcast.

“If it's an amended motion, I’ve been in that position myself, then where do people vote?

The National: Fergus Ewing

“I think Fergus Ewing had made his position clear, the other four apologised and said that and I think whips have accepted that and that’s been reported to be the case.

“Fergus was the only rebel if you like.”

It comes as Ewing (above) is reportedly set to face a disciplinary action vote at the SNP’s MSP group meeting on Wednesday next week.

Scottish Labour deputy leader Jackie Baillie had also accidentally voted for the Scottish Government’s position, when she meant to vote against it, but was told by the Presiding Officer she could not change her vote.

“It surprised Jackie as well,” he said.

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“So I was a bit surprised when I saw some of the numbers.”

“But within five to 10 minutes I was fine,” he added.

Speaking on the podcast, McLennan discussed the short-term lets debate and condemned Labour and LibDem MSPs for hoping for “short-term political gain” by teaming up with the Tories to oppose the scheme.

He also spoke about other issues in his brief, the upcoming Housing Bill, and his “concerns” at the record high number of homelessness figures in Scotland.

Our reporter also takes you inside a press huddle with the First Minister on the Rutherglen and Hamilton West by-election campaign trail. 

You can listen to Episode 2 of Season 2, below, on Spotify and on the Omny streaming platform.