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MPs turn against Scottish Affairs Committee chairman Pete Wishart

Pete Wishart committee
Pete Wishart.

Tensions on the Scottish Affairs Committee bubbled over on Thursday, after MPs again pressed the idea of replacing Pete Wishart as chairman.

A number of MPs on the committee are unhappy that long-serving boss Mr Wishart has taken an SNP frontbench role that is “distracting” him from his duties.

Last week we reported that MPs had privately called for Joanna Cherry to take on the role, after Mr Wishart asked committee members to change the time of meetings to fit in with his new responsibilities as shadow Commons leader.

SNP MP Joanna Cherry.

‘More and more desperate’

The issue resurfaced ahead of Thursday’s evidence session on welfare support, delaying the start of proceedings by five minutes.

In a private 25-minute back and forth before the 11.30am meeting, MPs demanded Mr Wishart put any proposals on changing committee times to a vote, which he refused to do.

A committee source branded the row “pathetic”, adding: “Pete is getting more and more desperate as he tries to cling on to his taxpayer-funded additional salary as chair of the committee, refusing to even consider other SNP members such as Joanna Cherry taking over.

The Houses of Parliament.

“It’s been suggested that this is getting party political but, of course, we are only in this situation because Pete is putting his party role ahead of the committee continuing with its scheduled dates and times.

“The fact that Pete refused to allow a vote on the matter is pathetic.”

They added: “He is showing a complete disrespect to the committee and its members.

“The time has come for Pete to choose between his party or the committee.”

Mr Wishart has told us that he cannot comment on private committee discussions between colleagues.

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