By Martin Kelly

A Westminster debate on an independent Scotland’s place in the European Union has had to be cancelled after the Scottish Labour MP who called for it, failed to appear.

The Private Members’ Debate had been arranged by Labour MP Pamela Nash and was designed to allow MPs to debate the EU membership of an independent Scotland.

However, with members waiting in the chamber, there was no sign of the Airdrie and Shotts MP and a decision was taken to cancel.  Reports on BBC Scotland put the non-appearance down to a “technical malfunction” and an explanation was broadcast saying Ms Nash had been unable to print her speech.

Speaking to STV news, Ms Nash insisted she had in fact turned up but had been late for the debate which had been scheduled for 2:30 pm, but that rules meant that the debate could not go ahead.

Accepting responsibility, she said: "It was completely my fault.  For the last few days I've been in bed with the flu, and I came in and printed everything at the last minute and the printer crashed.

"It's a shame, because the place was absolutely packed.  I'm really disappointed because there are a lot of important points to make on this."

Reports suggest that Nash’s Labour colleagues were clearly angry at her non-appearance and there were some angry exchanges in the chamber.

According to Scotsman reporter, David Maddox: “Margaret Curran looked pretty angry as did Pamela Nash's many colleagues who turned up for the debate . .words were clearly had in the corner.”

However, questions will be asked as to how the 28 year old Labour MP, apparently in bed with flu “for the last few days”, managed to find time to travel to Glasgow yesterday with the Scottish Affairs Committee.

On 5th November, a bitterly cold day in Glasgow, Ms Nash posted a photograph of herself smiling in front of the 11,000 tonne section of the Queen Elizabeth Class carrier at Govan Shipyard.

Commenting on the Labour MP’s blunder, SNP MP Pete Wishart said:

“Pamela Nash’s failure to attend her own debate, which was cancelled as a result, speaks volumes about the low priority Labour places on Scotland’s interests.

“At present Westminster Europhobes are threatening Scotland’s position with the European Union with the Coalition government and now even Labour MPs undermining UK membership of the EU. This is the biggest danger and uncertainty confronting Scotland and relations with our key trading partners.”

Ms Nash’s failure to turn up on time is a trait not restricted to Westminster politicians.  In May this year, SNP MSP Joan McAlpine apologised to the Holyrood chamber after failing to turn up in time to ask a scheduled parliamentary question.

Ms McAlpine, whose apology was widely reported in the Scottish media and the BBC, said she had simply lost track of time, and added: "I realise I have no excuse for not being present in the chamber when required.  I apologise for showing such disrespect not only to yourself, Presiding Officer, but also to Parliament and my fellow MSPs."

The MSP was heavily criticised by opposition party MSPs, with Labour's Claudia Beamish claiming that, “representing her constituents is clearly low down Joan McAlpine's list of priorities.”

It is not yet known if Labour MP Pamela Nash will be required to offer a similar apology to the House of Commons.


# Early Ball 2012-11-06 20:22
As always with a negative Labour story it does not make the either the BBC Scotland website's news or politics page.

Only two days after ignoring Henry McLeish's scathing criticisms of Labour the web site does mention Jim Sillars and Gordon Wilson "EU warning"

# Astonished 2012-11-06 20:28
Dumb,Dumber and Dumbest.

The media wont hold her to account - thus no apology will be made.

Thanks BBC.
# fynesider 2012-11-06 21:12
Labour misses the boat yet again...!
# From The Suburbs 2012-11-06 21:13
Like Johann Lamont Ms Nash is seemingly unable to deliver a speech without it being written out in big letters for her by Labour spin doctor.
# kenneth_clark336 2012-11-06 21:36
Quite right FTS. I would have found "my dog ate it" more believable. And these people ask us to trust them with Scotland's future. What a bunch of amateurs.
# rgweir 2012-11-06 21:39
Some may say Ms Nash has a split personality,One in Govan and the other in bed with the flu.
# Glengorm 2012-11-06 21:42
When does Margaret Curran ever look like anything else?

Just an observation. If you claimed you were in bed with the flu but were seen at another location your boss wouldn't be slow to find someone else to do your job. In almost any other job, that is. Clearly MP's are allowed to lie their teeth off and get away with it with nothing more than a 'I'm reeeaaaally sorry, honest....'
# clootie 2012-11-06 22:18
I'm still trying to figure out what they are up too!

No one is that incompetent - it has to be a ploy / a clever trick.
# call me dave 2012-11-06 22:49

Have you not seen Wylie Coyote ?
The Unionists get their plans from Acme & Co

She's only 28, she slept in.
# Mac 2012-11-06 22:23
Not been a good few weeks for female parliamentarian s. Bad mouthed MSPs at Holyrood and Westminster MPs going AWOL. Surely the female of the species are better than this.
# hadrianswall 2012-11-06 22:39
She is only 28 and the youngest MP. Succeeded John Reid from an all women list. Typically she hasn't put in an honest days work in her life
# wee folding bike 2012-11-06 22:52
And the local Labour party agent, who is a decent guy, resigned as a result.
# Piemonteis 2012-11-06 22:53
Surprisingly, the story has made the BBC website.

You can find it at the very foot of the article entitled "Ex-SNP grandees issue EU warning".

Quite stunning.

# RaboRuglen 2012-11-07 06:55
Hi there,

I am non-fussed whether Westminster debates the ease or otherwise with which an Independent Scotland might join the EU. It would just have been an excuse for all-in-sundry to stand on their hind legs and bray out anti-Scottish nonsense. Every Unionist slur would have appeared in the media and none of the valid positive arguments. What's to lose? By not turning up, she did us a favour.

I used to be very pro-EU in my thinking, however the way they have been carrying on with regard to small communities' Independence aspirations is turning me against the whole institution. Indirect membership through EFTA is an increasingly attractive alternative, but a much harder sell to the electorate for the time being. The Tories by their increasingly anti-European stand might unintentionally be on the verge of making this task easier for us.

# Ken Mac 2012-11-07 12:39
''It would just have been an excuse for all-in-sundry to stand on their hind legs and bray out anti-Scottish nonsense. Every Unionist slur would have appeared in the media and none of the valid positive arguments.''

Exactly, that's why stairheid rammy and the rest are upset. They missed an opportunity to have a go and have it splashed all over the media.
# John Lyons 2012-11-07 10:49
Interesting quote from Claudia Beamish about "Representing her Constituents"

I wonder how MS Beamish achieves that when she's in on a list seat and doesn't actually have any constituents herself....

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