ONE of Scottish Labour's most senior MSPs has been booted out of the Holyrood chamber by the Presiding Officer after he repeatedly refused her orders to sit down.

In unprecedented scenes, James Kelly, his party's whip, was escorted from the debating chamber by parliament security officers after he got into a row with Tricia Marwick over a point of order he attempted raise regarding the UK Government's Trade Union Bill.

Tensions were running high between Labour members and Holyrood's equivalent of the Speaker of the House at Westminster over her refusal to support a Scottish Government motion calling for consent for the Bill to be withheld.


Mr Kelly, who represents Rutherglen, stood up to raise a point of order, saying he did not believe the presiding officer's ruling was correct and that legal advice she had received was open to challenge.

Ms Marwick said: "And your point of order is?" Mr Kelly replied: "I'm coming to my point of order... if you let me speak I'll make my point of order."

After Ms Marwick said she wanted to know what the point of order was, the Labour MSP said: "If you keep interrupting me presiding officer..." before being told to sit down which led to an escalation in the dispute.

Mr Kelly said: "I'm not going to sit down. I want to make a point of order and I wasn't allowed to make a point of order because you kept interrupting me."

Ms Marwick said: "Mr Kelly please resume your seat," to which he fired back: "I'm not going to resume my seat" as other MSPs looked on in astonishment. SNP members were heard telling Mr Kelly to "show some courtesy".

Mr Kelly was warned that he was under an obligation to respect the authority of the chair, and again, Ms Marwick asked him to sit down but was again refused. Ms Marwick asked Mr Kelly to apologise, after reminding him of her powers to exclude MSPs. He again defied her.

Having lost her patience, Ms Marwick said: "Can I say the member has been repeatedly warned about his conduct, and asked to desist and apologise. The member has refused to do so. Under rule 7.3, I hereby require the member to leave the chamber. I also exclude the member from participating in the remainder of business today and the next sitting day... please escort Mr Kelly from the chamber."


He appeared reluctant to leave, but slowly complied after being approached by members of the security team. Following his exclusion, Mr Kelly told reporters he was "trying to be helpful".

Ms Marwick and Mr Kelly did not acknowledge each other as they walked past each other in Holyrood's garden lobby minutes after the exchange. It is believed to be the first time an MSP has been removed from the chamber since the Scottish Socialist Party contingent fell foul of the Presiding Officer in the 2003-2007 Holyrood session.