SNP Westminster leader Stephen Flynn acquits himself admirably for a young and relatively inexperienced man thrust into a high-profile role in the cauldron of the House of Commons.

He was understandably angry at the consequences of the Speaker’s procedural decision during Wednesday’s Gaza ceasefire debate (“Speaker triggers chaos with controversial move over Gaza ceasefire vote”, The Herald, February 22) and has retaliated by declaring his loss of confidence in the Speaker. I hope he will reflect over the weekend on Wednesday’s events and realise that he and his party were outmaneouvered by the cunning tactics of the serially unprincipled Labour leader Keir Starmer and the clearly pre-planned actions of Leader of the House Penny Mordaunt.

Both Mr Flynn and Sir Lindsay Hoyle, widely admired and respected as Speaker on all sides of the House, were victims of this disreputable stitch-up and both will have learned a painful lesson as a result. Sir Lindsay’s apology to the SNP was gracious and fulsome; the Speaker was not the villain of the piece and Stephen Flynn would do himself and his party no harm by graciously accepting the apology and putting the matter behind him.

Willie Maclean, Milngavie.

Mordaunt was to blame

I FIND myself rather confused at the events which have unfolded at Westminster over the past two days. As a dedicated student of the minutiae of British politics, I like to feel I understand how Parliamentary procedure works. As a result of the Government's decision to withdraw its amendment on Wednesday evening, the standing orders came into force and the Labour amendment had to be voted upon first. There is nothing wrong about that.

Why then, have the Conservatives and the SNP kicked up such a fuss over Speaker Hoyle's actions on Wednesday? Whilst it is true that he broke with convention to allow the Labour amendment, the Conservatives can hardly complain about that. What's more, Sir Lindsay Hoyle has apologised for his decision, twice now; is the SNP's grudge really justified?

The Speaker has fully explained his reasons for doing so, and, while the allegations against the Leader of the Opposition are serious, there seems to be no substantive evidence to support the claim that he blackmailed Sir Lindsay.

The chaotic, and quite frankly embarrassing, scenes we saw on Wednesday were the childish responses of Tory and SNP MPs to a Government decision. The fallout is little more than political opportunism.

There is no one but Penny Mordaunt to blame for all of this; and I think the SNP and the Conservatives should be very wary of toppling an honourable, competent, and respected Speaker for a short-term political distraction.

Hugh Mulvihill, Edinburgh.

Read more: Shame on Labour for its contemptible behaviour Gaza vote tricks

Give SNP another chance

SIR Lindsay Hoyle, the Speaker of the House of Commons, has apologised profusely for his error in allowing the Labour Party to put forward an amendment to the SNP’s motion calling for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza. He did so despite being warned against it in quite strong terms by his principal adviser on procedure, the Clerk of the House, who felt obliged to make an official record of his objection.

Whatever reasons Sir Lindsay advances for his decision, the plain fact is that the only beneficiary was Sir Keir Starmer, who was saved from all the difficulties that would have been created if many of his MPs had voted for what is morally right rather than for what is politically expedient.

There’s a simple way to make amends for Sir Lindsay’s error: give the SNP another Opposition Day next week and allow the debate to proceed in accordance with the rules. That would involve MPs being given a choice between the SNP’s motion and the Government’s amendment. Anything less would simply be an endorsement of Labour’s politicking and arm-twisting.

Doug Maughan, Dunblane.

Ceasefire call is naive

I AM horrified by the naivety of the Prince of Wales ("William makes plea for peace in Middle East", The Herald, February 21), many MPs and so many others calling for a ceasefire in Gaza. The high level of dead and injured in Gaza is an intentional, indeed an essential, part of Hamas’s strategy for the war.

The pre-planned mass rape and mass murder of civilians on October 7 were designed to ensure a full-scale Israeli invasion of Gaza. Had Hamas restricted itself to mass abductions and shooting those who resisted, then it is likely that the military response would have been restricted and the Israeli hostages all by now released in exchange for a large number of Palestinians held by Israel. Hamas did not want such an outcome.

Once Israel invaded a high level of Palestinian casualties was inevitable. Hamas hoped that this would provoke a wider war involving Hezbollah and other Muslim nations. A further objective was to drive a wedge between Israel and its Western friends and allies.

Israel has no alternative but to continue fighting in Gaza until Hamas is dismantled as a fighting force. The alternative, if Hamas functionally survives, is that the atrocities will be repeated and become a model for other Islamist groups. After the depravity of Hamas and its allies on October 7 we should give Israel our unwavering support.

Otto Inglis, Crossgates, Fife.


The Herald: Was the Prince of Wales naïve in calling a for Gaza ceasefire?Was the Prince of Wales naïve in calling a for Gaza ceasefire? (Image: PA)• THE Jewish people of Israel must recognise that they will never ever know peace until Benjamin Netanyahu is removed from power and replaced by a government which understands the Palestinians’ entirely legitimate sense of grievance over being violently expelled from their ancestral lands in 1948, a process which they have every good reason to believe is being continued in Gaza and the West Bank today.

As Rebecca McQuillan says (“Don’t bet against the SNP winning again at Holyrood” , The Herald, February 22), "this horrendous war ….. is deepening enmities and sowing the seeds of ongoing conflict”.

I am presented with an acute dilemma when I realise that the SNP is the only party taking an appropriate stance over what is happening in Gaza. I must check up on the LibDems' stance thereon even though they only achieved a 3.2% vote in my constituency last time around. Desperate times require desperate measures.

John Milne, Uddingston.

Why buffer zones are needed

I STRONGLY disagree with Robert Menzies' assertion (Letters, February 21), that buffer zones are ineffective in stopping abortion clinic harassment. Buffer zones have been successfully implemented in many countries worldwide. While I acknowledge that anti-abortion organisations have significant financial resources to invest in “counselling” facilities, it would be a terrible idea to permit them near hospitals or give them any form of validation. These individuals show a lack of respect for patient privacy, disregard appropriate boundaries, and lack the necessary training or qualifications in counselling. The so-called "sidewalk counselling" training offered by 40 Days for Life is not endorsed by any reputable governing body in the UK. Becoming a psychotherapist or counsellor takes years of study and training.

I acknowledge Mr Menzies' point about moving the problem further down the road, but currently, this is the extent of what can be done. The proposed 200-metre distance is in line with buffer zones established in other countries and provides adequate space for pregnant individuals to safely access clinics and hospitals without impinging on the right to protest. Unfortunately, there is an objectionable organisation that travels across the UK displaying large, misleading images of foetuses, who have appeared in Glasgow city centre. I view this as a form of extreme misogyny and targeted harassment of women. Regrettably, we are compelled to tolerate this behaviour until misogyny is treated like any other hate crime.

Until then, maintaining a distance between anti-abortion protesters and hospitals serves as an effective measure and a win for the rights of women and pregnant people.

Gemma Clark, Paisley.

Read more: Oh, how we loved Scotland's Lyle's Golden Syrup tins

Syrup's place in our culture

I NOTE with interest your report that Tate & Lyle is changing the long-standing logo on its Golden Syrup tins ("End of an era for historic Scots brand", The Herald, February 21). It is not just elderly sweet-toothed consumers such as myself who will miss this familiar emblem of the Biblical swarm of bees that made their hives in the carcass of a dead lion, enabling Samson to solve the riddle posed by its motto “Out of the strong came forth sweetness”, for this packaging has not only been described as the world’s “oldest brand packaging” - unchanged since 1883 - but the loss of this familiar emblem will problematise numerous artistic allusions to it, particularly in Scotland where Ian Hamilton Finlay’s modernist Heroic Emblems (1977), for instance, includes the image of a battleship surrounded by a swarm of helicopters with this proverbial motto.

Two further Heroic Emblems ring the changes on the topic, one illustrating the Battle of Midway by a fleet of battleships from which honey flows as they are attacked by fighter planes, the other showing the Japanese ships as flaming beehives from which honey flows. The decision to change the Golden Syrup emblem therefore means not only the loss of what is almost certainly the oldest brand logo in the world, but also one of the keys to some notable allusions and adaptations in modern Scottish culture. A fuller history of this emblem can be found in my book Emblems in Scotland.

Michael Bath, Balfron.

Pothole pain

MY children all work in Scotland to their and Scotland's economic benefit and my wife and myself assist their endeavours by child minding.

However, I've given them an ultimatum. Get their councils to fix their potholes or we will go on strike. Driving the one hour or so (three hours by public transport) our rural home has become seriously dangerous given the state of our roads.

Of course I'm jesting with them, but surely we cannot continue to ignore the appalling state of our road infrastructure? How our politicians can make their way to work in Edinburgh and ignore what is in front of their faces is beyond disgraceful.

Ian McNair, Cellardyke, Fife.

Sub-standard arrangement

I BELIEVE the full Scotland 6 Nations rugby squad numbers 39 players, from which 15 players are selected to form the team to start a match, with a further eight named as available to be brought on as substitutes during the match, leaving the remaining 16 as disappointed spectators despite being fit and no doubt raring to play.

What is the rationale behind this artificial arrangement? Would it not be fairer to all of the players in the squad, and potentially make for a more exciting spectacle as the match developed, if the coach were able to choose his eight substitutes from all the 24 not in the starting team?

Alan Fitzpatrick, Dunlop.


URTHER to Ken Mackay's letter (February 23): he states that "Lionesses are of no relevance to Scotland." Does that explain why the lions on so many flags in Scotland are "Rampant"?

Eric R Gardner, Glasgow.