AN SNP MP has stood down from a parliamentary committee after accusing its chairman, a high-profile Labour politician, of threatening and intimidating her.
Dr Eilidh Whiteford said Ian Davidson, a contender for the Scottish Labour deputy leadership, made remarks about her “getting a doing” during a private session of the Commons Scottish Affairs Committee at Westminster.
The SNP says it will not put up another MP to sit on the committee in her place until Mr Davidson steps down.
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However, Labour sources hit back last night, saying the accusation had the “hallmarks of an SNP ambush” and questioning why Ms Whiteford waited almost a week to make her complaint.
Other members of the committee said they were “surprised” at the allegations as they did not recall hearing such a remark.
Ms Whiteford, the SNP MP for Banff and Buchan, said the incident took place during a private meeting of members last Wednesday. It is claimed the chairman warned that she would be “getting a doing” if details of the discussions were leaked to the media.
She added that Mr Davidson attempted to clarify the remarks after the meeting and revealed another member of the committee had passed him a note warning him about his comments.
It is thought it was another Labour MP who sent him the message.
Ms Whiteford said the remarks were “entirely inappropriate and unacceptable”.
She added: “MPs engaged in robust political debate, but no other member of the House has ever in any way threatened or ever tried to intimidate me. I’m hard pushed to understand how offering to give someone ‘a doing’ is not a threat.”
Ms Whiteford said Mr Davidson would have to clarify what he meant when he spoke of her “getting a doing”. She added: “I’m very concerned the threat that had been made in the private meeting was reiterated after the meeting.”
The SNP MP said: “I think making threats of aggression and violence is unacceptable in any circumstances.”
It is understood the committee had been discussing a recent announcement that it would hold an inquiry into the forthcoming independence referendum.
Ms Whiteford had also issued a press release denouncing the plan, claiming it would be a rigged inquiry.
Labour sources said that during the meeting Mr Davidson had apologised for the fact she was getting a hard time from other members of the committee.
Simon Reevell, the MP for Dewsbury, and a Conservative member of the committee, said he did not remember the alleged incident.
He added: “I was quite surprised at the allegation because I wasn’t aware of anything being said at the time.”
Jim McGovern, the Labour MP for Dundee and another member of the committee, also said he did not recall such a remark being made.
A spokesman for Scottish Labour said: “We will look carefully at these allegations and make a full statement later.”
A Labour source added: “It is reprehensible. This has all the hallmarks of a smear campaign.
“This is the third time the SNP has called for Ian Davidson to resign.
“Ever since the committee started its investigation into the independence referendum, and began asking hard questions, they have been desperate to discredit him.”
The source said question marks hung over Ms Whiteford’s decision to wait a week before making her allegations.
Over the summer, SNP leader Alex Salmond demanded Mr Davidson resign after he branded the SNP “neo fascist”.
The Labour MP stayed in post but only after he apologised to the party.
There were also calls for Mr Davidson to resign earlier in the year after he was accused of making comments about Tories “eating babies”.
Labour said last night the Glasgow MP was known for his “colourful” turn of phrase.
He is one of two MPs currently standing to become deputy leader of the Scottish Labour Party.
The leadership elections were triggered by the resignation of Iain Gray in the wake of a disastrous showing for the party in May’s Holyrood elections.