ALBA party MPs have missed every single vote in Parliament since defecting from the SNP and announcing their bids for Holyrood.

Neale Hanvey and Kenny Macaskill have failed to vote in dozens of divisions in Westminster since March 28 this year, when they joined Alex Salmond’s new party and left the nationalists.

The pair, who are also standing for election to Holyrood, say they do not have a proxy vote for Westminster leaving them unable to participate.

Mr MacAskill, however, has not made any contributions in the chamber towards any debates since March 25, while Mr Hanvey made his first appearance as an Alba MP on Wednesday.

They also argue that the Tories’ victory in every vote demonstrates why Scotland needs a so-called supermajority in the May elections.

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Opposition MPs have criticised the pair, arguing they could easily have obtained a proxy and their failure to participate is leaving their constituents unrepresented.

Among the votes which Mr Macaskill, MP for East Lothian, and Mr Hanvey, MP for Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath, have missed include several about non-devolved policy areas such as defence, national security and immigration.

The controversial Overseas Operations bill, which saw veterans minister Johnny Mercer resign in protest over his claims the government was failing to protect veterans who served in Northern Ireland during the Troubles, was voted through parliament on Tuesday.

The bill seeks to limit false and historical allegations arising from overseas operations by introducing a statutory presumption against prosecution, making it exceptional for personnel to be prosecuted five years or more after an incident.

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Also missed by the Alba MPs was a vote on revoking the Home Office’s Immigration (Guidance on Detention of Vulnerable Persons) regulations, which campaigners say is allowing sweeping changes to be made by Priti Patel’s department without proper scrutiny.

The Home Office is looking to change the rules around who is deemed too ‘at risk’ to be detained by immigration enforcement, with victims of human trafficking often considered too vulnerable. However the new guidance, due to come into effect at the end of May, would mean those who had been victims of human trafficking were not automatically considered to be too at risk for detention.

Domestic abuse legislation was also debated and voted on in parliament in the past month, with the Government eventually defeating the Lords who were attempting to introduce a register for repeat offenders and stalkers.

Between March 28, when the MPs defected, and the last parliamentary sitting day, April 29, SNP MPs have voted in around 22 votes, the Liberal Democrats’ Scottish MPs and Labour’s Ian Murray have taken part in 37. The Scottish Conservatives have voted more than 30 times in the same period.

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Alyn Smith, SNP MP and former party colleague to Mr Hanvey and Mr MacAskill called on them to resign.
He said:" Standing for election is a serious commitment and we were all sent to Westminster to do a job. 

"They’ve not been doing it, and their self-indulgence, on top of their disloyalty to the party that got them elected, does them no credit.

"They should resign and let their constituents be represented properly.”

Douglas Ross, MP for Moray and the leader of the Scottish Conservatives said: “Alex Salmond’s party don’t have the slightest interest in standing up for local people, they’re only in this to fulfil their political obsession.

“These nationalists are clearly not serious about standing up for their constituents, but they are deadly serious about trying to break up the United Kingdom at the earliest opportunity.”


Wendy Chamberlain, the Liberal Democrat MP for North East Fife and the party’s chief whip, said the Alba MPs could have obtained a proxy vote to enable them to represent their constituents.

She said: “Hanvey and Macaskill's constituents should be outraged that their MP is choosing not to represent them via votes in Parliament especially when the government have offered to provide proxies for any MP who wants one.”

Ms Chamberlain added that the party was trying to “game the system”, explaining: “The Alba party is an exercise in gaming the electoral system at Holyrood to deny non-nationalist voters fair representation.

“It's therefore surprising that Alba's only current representatives have decided not to actually represent their constituents.”

According to the House of Commons, MPs who are unable to attend in person to vote in Parliament are able to apply for a proxy vote allowing others to cast on their behalf.

Usually this would be done by fellow party members, as is the case for the Tories, Labour, the Lib Dems and the SNP.

However with smaller parties or independent MPs, other parties are able to vote as their proxy.

For example former SNP MP Margaret Ferrier is currently relying on Conservative whip Stuart Andrew to cast her votes, while Jeremy Corbyn relies on Labour MP Bell Ribeiro-Addy.

READ MORE: Shamed MP Margaret Ferrier now reliant on Tories to cast her votes in Parliament

Ian Murray, Labour MP for Edinburgh South, “Politics is not a game - and MPs who fail to turn up and take part only prove that they will always put their personal divisive ambitions ahead of their constituents needs.

“But Parliament is about much more than just turning up.

“As recent nationalist abstentions on public sector pay and cladding votes show, some MPs will always pursue the narrowest of self-interests and the expense of real priorities of the people they are supposed to represent.

“Their constituents and people across this country deserve better.”

Kenny MacAskill, Alba MP for East Lothian, said: “The Alba Party have no proxy arrangements. Every vote that has taken place has been won comfortably by the inbuilt Tory majority.

“Its why independence is essential, and the focus must be on delivering that independence supermajority next week.”