The leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats has been urged to apologise to his colleagues after he attempted to take part in a Holyrood vote from outside a bar.
Alex Cole-Hamilton suffered repeated technical issues as he attempted to debate Labour MSP Pam Duncan-Glancy’s bill on disabled rights on November 23.
The bill aimed to make the transition from childhood to adulthood for disabled Scots easier and was eventually defeated.
The Lib Dem leader, who is the MSP for Edinburgh Western, used his phone to raise a point of order from outside Margo’s – the parliament’s bar named after SNP stalwart and former MSP Margo MacDonald.
The pub is just a minute’s walk from the chamber.
The Scottish Parliament’s deputy presiding officer, Liam McArthur could be seen shaking his head as the Lib Dem leader experienced connection problems.
“Can you hear me now, presiding officer?” he asked after the signal dropped. “Sorry about that. I couldn’t connect and would have voted no.”
Cole-Hamilton’s video feed was again cut as McArthur was heard saying “I think I’ve lost him”.
MSPs in the chamber were heard laughing and jeering throughout the incident.
The SNP and Scottish Tories urged the politician to issue an apology.
Scottish Conservative chief whip Alexander Burnett said: “Alex Cole-Hamilton has some serious explaining to do.
“The public will want to know why the Lib Dem leader thought this was appropriate behaviour.
“All MSPs should be setting an example and carrying out their Parliamentary work in the right way.
“This incident fell far below those standards and he should apologise.”
SNP MSP Jackie Dunbar said: “It is beyond arrogant and self-righteous for Alex Cole-Hamilton to not have immediately apologised for his disgraceful behaviour.
“It would be disgraceful for any workplace – not least Scotland’s national Parliament.
“People across Scotland rightly expect their politicians to show respect for the job they are elected to do – that doesn’t involve speaking virtually in parliament from a pub.”
Cole-Hamilton said: “I take the proceedings of the parliament very seriously and my voting record speaks for itself in casting my ballot every time that I possibly can.
“MSPs regularly vote remotely and on this occasion fewer than a third of MSPs were present to vote in person.
“Nevertheless after decision time, I immediately sought out the deputy presiding officer to apologise for not arriving to the chamber in time.”
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