An SNP politician has accused Labour of swaying Nationalist MSPs into voting against opt-out organ donation by making the debate too “party political”.
MSPs rejected a Labour member’s Transplantation Bill, which would have established a presumption in favour of organ donation in most cases.
The bill was kyboshed after an SNP amendment was supported by a slim majority of Holyrood members.
The rejection led to a round of finger-pointing between SNP and Labour camps, with both sides accusing the other of cynical politicking over the vote.
John Mason, the SNP MSP for Glasgow Shettleston, blamed Labour’s Jackie Baillie for an overly political speech during the debate, which he said helped prompt “waverers” from the SNP into voting it down.
But Scottish Labour hit back, publishing a list of 24 SNP MSPs it claimed had previously supported the organ donation opt-out but voted against it.
Several of those were from north and north-east Scotland, including Mark Macdonald, Mike McKenzie, Maureen Watt and Rob Gibson.
Scottish Labour MSP Anne McTaggart, who brought forward the bill, which was defeated on Tuesday, said: “This is a new low for Scottish politics.
“This bill offered hope for families across Scotland who are waiting for an organ transplant.
“People’s lives are at stake, so you would expect MSPs to put aside petty politics and personality clashes to do the right thing.
“When the opportunity came to be bold and make a transformative difference to the lives of hundreds of Scots the SNP Government were found wanting.
“This is important – politicians shouldn’t make easy promises if they won’t follow through with tough decisions.”
But SNP MSP Fiona McLeod said the parliament was redirect to reject the bill at this stage and revisit the issue following the election.
She said: “There is a consensus across all political parties that we should do all we can to ensure that donor organs are available for those who need them.
“There has already been progress made on this issue – since 2008 there has been an 82% rise in the number of deceased organ donors, a 42% increase in the number of transplants undertaken and a 21% fall in the active transplant waiting list.
“It’s important that this improvement continues and I’m glad that an SNP Government if re-elected will consult on options early in the next parliament – including the development of a soft opt-out organ donation system.”