THE Gaza debate showed that Westminster is no longer fit for purpose and, despite how much they spin matters, exposed the Labour Party’s contemptible behaviour (“Speaker triggers chaos with controversial move over Gaza ceasefire vote”, The Herald, February 22).

The Labour Party is allocated 17 days per parliamentary session for Opposition Day motions. The SNP is allocated just three to set the day’s agenda. To accuse the SNP of political games for forcing a vote on an immediate ceasefire absolutely stinks, as Labour had ample opportunity to take the lead on this.

The SNP motion was published on February 14, and despite Anas Sarwar’s claims, no opposition party contacted the SNP Chief Whip to discuss any mutual way forward. Stephen Flynn also wrote to Sir Keir Starmer suggesting they talk but didn’t get a reply.

Prior to the vote Mr Flynn told Radio Scotland that although he wanted an immediate ceasefire, he would vote for the Labour amendment despite it being a watered-down version but, when asked, Ian Murray refused to support the SNP motion if Labour’s amendment fell.

Labour delayed the Gaza debate with 15 minutes of spurious points of order plus a pointless 10-minute debate while Keir Starmer pressurised the Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle into granting Labour’s last-minute convoluted amendment which Tom Goldsmith, Clerk of the House, said “represents a departure from the long-established convention for dealing with such amendments on Opposition Days, governed by Standing Order No 31”. Britannia again waives the rules when it suits.

This completely undermines the point of Opposition Days and Labour’s filibustering also prevented the second debate of the day on the failure of Labour’s £28 billion Great British Energy plan. The farce was completed when the Tories withdrew their amendment thus saving their Better Together allies in the Labour Party from further embarrassment.

Fraser Grant, Edinburgh.

No wonder Hoyle is under fire

WEDNESDAY was designated as an SNP Opposition Day in the House of Commons. This allowed the SNP to choose the topics for debate and to submit motions in support of its chosen subject(s).

Commons procedure has been for many years that if the UK Government submits an amendment to the proposed motion, that is the only amendment called by the Speaker. This is done to ensure that the opposition motion will always be voted on. After all, it is an opposition day (this time for the SNP).

However, reports suggest that Keir Starmer was meeting with the Speaker immediately before the debate to try to persuade him to also allow Labour’s amendment. For whatever reason the Speaker agreed to call this amendment despite being warned by senior officials that such an action was likely to result in no vote taking place on either the original SNP motion or the Government amendment.

Think about that: the Leader of the Opposition and probably the next Prime Minister, seeking to persuade the Speaker to throw out the rules of the House for his own party political gain. Worse still, the Speaker agreed to this action despite being forewarned of its consequences.

It is hardly surprising that a significant number of MPs have signed a motion of no confidence in the Speaker.

Meanwhile, Israel continues its collective punishment of innocent Palestinians in Gaza and threatens to send ground forces into Rafah, while Keir Starmer congratulates himself on avoiding a Labour rebellion of around 100 of his MPs.

David Howie, Dunblane.

Read more: Confirmed: They want Scotland to be no more than a region

Flynn acted like Baldrick

STEPHEN Flynn's cunning plan in the House of Commons was worthy of Baldrick of Blackadder fame. It was a Baldrick-level farce. It was meant to embarrass Labour but ended with a red-faced Mr Flynn claiming the Speaker's stance to be ''intolerable ''; we must assume he meant untenable. The SNP contingent left the chamber in a collective and childish huff. They seem totally unaware that a ceasefire involves both sides ceasing to fight.

The SNP was very cynical. It tried to use a grave subject to make the cheapest of cheap political points against Labour. The Gaza situation and call for a ceasefire is to the SNP a mere prop to have a go at what really mattered to its MPs, a better chance of keeping their seats in the General Election. Even if that meant some of their leading lights joining the Tories in a call for the Speaker to be censured.

Not that the belligerents in Gaza would care in the slightest if a dozen SNP ceasefire motions were passed. Maybe now the SNP in Westminster could put Gaza away and concentrate on improving things for the people of Scotland.

Alexander McKay, Edinburgh.

The Herald: Sir Lindsay Hoyle pictured on WednesdaySir Lindsay Hoyle pictured on Wednesday (Image: PA)

Deputy Speaker ought to go

WHILE people die in Gaza, MPs squabble over procedure in the House of Common. That in itself is disgraceful, but for Deputy Speaker Rosie Winterton to even think about turning off the cameras and clearing the public gallery was nothing short of shocking.

Luckily, inept as many as our elected members clearly are, at least enough of them still had the common decency to shout that idea down.

Rather than suggest that the Speaker be replaced, perhaps it’s the Deputy Speaker who should go.

Stuart Neville, Clydebank.

A total waste of time

WHAT was the point of the vote on a ceasefire in Gaza at Westminster?

Is Israel or Hamas going to take the slightest notice if our elected politicians vote for an immediate ceasefire?

The only people capable of that are the Israelis and the Palestinians.

Wednesday was a total waste of time and would have been better spent debating other more pressing issues of the day.

Neil Stewart, Balfron.

Read more: MPs must reflect the British people's wishes on Gaza

A sorry lack of respect

I WATCHED the chaotic proceedings play out in Westminster yesterday. What struck me more than the tactics of the Government, the Speaker and the political parties was the unruliness and lack of respect in the democratic process. If our elected representatives purport to be role models how can they expect the wider society to behave with respect for other people's point of view?

I watched First Minister's Questions today. Why do MSPs shout over each other when one is asking or answering a question?

The Nolan Principle which includes respect need to be adhered to (and enforced) by all elected representatives.

Mrs Teresa McNally, Alloa.

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I'm scared of the Union

I REFER to Jill Stephenson's letter (February 22) stating that leaving the UK would be "scary". I have the opposite view.

The debacle last night in the Commons where the Speaker went against protocol and dismissed the SNP amendment proposals in favour of his own party is such an insult to the entire Scottish electorate (regardless of their politics) that I am now horrified that our whole Scottish nation is even more marginalised.

On top of this we have Sir Jim Radcliffe's efforts to use taxpayer's money for a world-class stadium "in the north" as everything goes to the south. Is Manchester now the new north?

Then again we have the new rail lines in London, the nation's capital, one of which is "Lionesses"; a name that is as English as the rose and of no relevance to Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland. Introverted eyes that cannot see above Hadrian's Wall.

No, Ms Stephenson, it is not scary leaving the Union, it is downright frightening to stay in.

Ken Mackay, Glasgow.

• JILL Stephenson reiterates the tired cliché that Scotland gets more money per person than the rest of the congruent parts of these islands. But how much does Scotland pay in to the UK Government's coffers both in tax and resources? Is she not aware that Scotland has provided £300 billion to the Treasury from its oil and gas production in the past half century as Neale Hanvey MP stated in the House of Commons this week? Yet we are still paying more for our energy than people in the south-east of England.

Ms Stephenson claims that people are afraid of independence because she asserts that our standard of living will drop. Yet the poorest 20% of people in the Republic of Ireland are now better off than their counterparts in Britain and our standard of living is on target to be lower than that of Poland and Romania by 2030. I am afraid that Ms Stephenson and her friends are akin to those on an ocean liner, the HMS UK, which is gradually sinking. They seem to prefer going down with a stiff upper lip and the spirit of Dunkirk, than to seizing the lifeboat offered by independence, where Scottish entrepreneurialism, research and resources can be put to their best use, for the people of Scotland and not for the privatisation maniacs down south to asset-strip for their offshore bank accounts.

Marjorie Ellis Thompson, Edinburgh.