Statement expected on Scottish affairs committee row


I'm told the Labour Chief Whip, Rosie Winterton, will make a statement today on the ugly row currently engulfing the Scottish Affairs Select Committee - where SNP member Dr Eilidh Whiteford is accusing the chair, Labour's Ian Davidson, of "inappropriate and unacceptable conduct".

Mr Davidson is accused of threatening to give Dr Whitehead "a doing" if discussions in a private session of the committee were leaked to the media. And although, she says, he approached her afterwards to make clear he was not making a sexual threat, she's boycotting the committee while he remains in the chair. Mr Davidson is not commenting, but other Labour sources dismiss the claim as a smear.

MPs on the committee had rowed about a press release announcing a new inquiry into the "costs of separation" - an attempt to assess the costs and benefits of an independent Scotland. What started off as a mild spat about the word separation appearing in a slightly bigger typeface (an accident, apparently) appears to have escalated... The SNP's Westminster Leader Angus Robertson has been to the Speaker to complain, and members of the committee are now being interviewed about the incident.

This is, of course, not the first clash Mr Davidson has had with SNP MPs - they demanded his resignation when he attacked the "narrow neo-fascism of the Nationalists" during a debate on the Scotland Bill in June.

Mr Davidson is one of two Westminster MPs seeking the new post of Deputy Leader of the Scottish Labour Party, under a new constitution, expected to be agreed at a special conference in Glasgow this weekend.

UPDATE: Mr Davidson has now apologised. At today's meeting of the Scottish Affairs Select Committee he said no threat was made or intended.

Mark D'Arcy Article written by Mark D'Arcy Mark D'Arcy Parliamentary correspondent

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  • rate this

    Comment number 25.

    It was not Dr Whiteford who claimed that there was a sexual connotation, it was Mr Davidson who rushed to claim that there was not. That leaves us with the fact that an MP threatened another MP. This is not OK. As a fellow Scot I am ashamed of him. I think Cathy Jamieson should chair this committee now, she is civilised and understands the issues.

  • rate this

    Comment number 24.

    Simply unacceptable - in any workplace an employee using such language to a colleague would result in immediate suspension and disciplinary action. Imagine a BBC male employee saying this to a female colleague. Unacceptable - Davidson should be suspended, censured and removed from the Chairman's post.

  • rate this

    Comment number 23.

    Mr Davidson is a representative of The Labour Party. The image that he projects is one of bullying, mysoginism and brutish arrogance and ignorance.

    I am certain that this is not what Labour MPs such as Harriet Harman, Diane Abbott, Margaret Curren, Cathy Jamieson, Anne McGuire, Gemma Doyle and Fiona O'Donnell stand for and I look forward to their active and public condemnation of his actions.

  • rate this

    Comment number 22.

    Davidson is an ex shop steward and has/should know that you cannot use language that may be taken or seem to be threatening. Next time your out for a meal tell the waitress the food better not be cold or you will give her a doing. I am sure she will not be offended by your "off the cuff" remark.

  • rate this

    Comment number 21.

    Given the May election results & the way things are looking in Scots Westminster intention polls (P18), one can see why the likes of Ian Davidson are starting to lose it. Ian - looks as if the ermine coat and cushy expenses retirement plan is rapidly evaporating....

    All Scots MPs (bar SNP) are simply self-interested. Their jobs and peerages are at stake. Scotland's future is irrelevant to them.


Comments 5 of 25



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