An SNP MP has been filmed playing football in the House of Commons.
Hannah Bardell, MP for Livingston, was pictured playing keepy-uppy with a football in the chamber and posing for photos with other MPs, including former Conservative sports minister Tracey Crouch.
The players made use of the despatch boxes and Speaker’s chair, after the sitting had been adjourned on Tuesday.
They had been due to play for the UK Women’s Parliamentary Football Club but had to cancel their first game as it was expected to clash with votes.
However Speaker of the House John Bercow reprimanded the group, saying the “historic” chamber should not be used for a kickabout, adding he had received “fulsome” letters of apology from three of the MPs involved.
Conservative former sports minister Tracey Crouch and Labour’s Alison McGovern, Louise Haigh and Stephanie Peacock were the other MPs kitted out in the Commons, with Mr Bercow said to have given his permission.
But Mr Bercow made a statement to the Commons on Wednesday, telling MPs: “It has been brought to my attention that some football skills were displayed in the chamber yesterday evening after the House rose.
“I am informed that the doorkeepers on duty told the members concerned that the chamber was not the place for this activity, however, those doorkeepers were advised that permission had been given.
“Let me assure the House that that permission certainly did not come from me.
“I have received gracious, indeed fulsome, letters of apology from (Ms Crouch, Ms Peacock and Ms Haigh) in relation to this incident.
“I think I can speak for us all when I say that our historic chamber should not be used for this type of activity and I gently remind colleagues if they are seeking to use the chamber outside of sitting hours beyond for the purpose of simply showing it to guests, frankly they should write to me asking for their request to be considered.
“I have said what I have said, there are no hard feelings and I consider the matter to be closed.”
Ms Bardell said: “I’m grateful for the speakers comments and will write to him to make him aware of the amazingly positive response we’ve had since the photos and videos were posted.
“Far from being disrespectful I think it shows parliament in a different and more accessible and positive light, at a time when it’s deeply divided the women’s parliamentary football team were simply seeking to be positive, inclusive and have a little fun.
“Also interesting to note The Scottish Parliament has hosted plays in its chamber, and most recently BBC’s Question Time.
“Also, in the chamber of the Council Of Europe you’re allowed to film, take photos, there’s electronic voting and at the beginning of the year they had a choir on the floor of the chamber singing. So you know, maybe the UK Parliament should ‘keepie up’.”