The Mirror, 01/07/2005, p2
By SHAUN MILNE
FOUR rebel MSPs were fined and banned from Holyrood yesterday after staging a dramatic demo in the parly chamber.
SSP chief Colin Fox brought Parliament to a standstill yesterday in an anti-G8 protest with party colleagues Rosie Kane, Carolyn Leckie and Frances Curran.
During First Minister’s Question Time, they stood behind Jack McConnell brandishing signs which read: “Defend Democracy” and “Is this a Parliament or just a tourist attraction?”
The four had been angered by plans to stop G8 protesters getting close to the Gleneagles summit of world leaders.
As security officers tried to remove the MSPs, who refused to budge for around half-an-hour, Presiding Officer George Reid suspended Parliament until 1pm.
And, last night, he moved quickly to ban the rebels and fine them a month’s wages.
He said: “For elected members to act in such a grossly undemocratic fashion is an absolute contempt of Parliament.
“They cannot hope to be simultaneously on the barricades and on the benches of this Parliament.”
But the maverick MSPs immediately hit back, as Leckie asked: “Why not?
“We had to resort to non-violent direct action because the parliamentary process has let us and the protesters down.”
Fox added: “We thought the protest we felt we had to make was entirely proportionate.”
Last night, Brian Adam, of the Standards and Public Appointments Committee, said the four would be banned for the month of September and have their pay docked.
He said: “Our recommendations on sanctions are tough but appropriate.”
The four SSP members will also have a month’s expenses withheld.
But that cash is used solely to pay the wages of up to 12 key party workers, who will be left on the breadline for a month.
Later, Scots Tory boss David McLetchie described the protest as “infantile”, adding: “The SSP care more about self-publicity than they do about poverty.”
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