THE SNP have hit back at criticism from Alba after several of their MPs left as Kenny MacAskill rose to speak in parliament this week.

A number of SNP members left the debating chamber when the Alba MP for East Lothian, who defected from his former party last year, began an adjournment debate on Scotland’s energy capabilities.

Figures in the party told The National they have looked back on attendance on the 16 adjournment debates – which are taken at the end of the day and have no effect on policy because there is no vote – the SNP has had since Alba was formed in 2021 and claimed neither of Alba’s two MPs had attended any of them.

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SNP MP Pete Wishart accused Alex Salmond’s party of engaging in a “spectacularly silly, [and] worthless” point-scoring exercise against his colleagues.

He added: “I would appeal to Alba – stop the nonsense. Stop this type of rubbish.”

Video of the offending incident went viral on social media after it was published by Alba, who have accused the SNP of walking out on a debate “that actually matters to Scotland”.

MPs must apply for permission to intervene in an adjournment debate – which are more often than not meaningless other than for the MP who applies to have them to get an answer from a Government minister on a particular matter.

However, in exceptional circumstances, they can have real effects, such as a two-day adjournment debate in 1940 which effectively ended the premiership of Neville Chamberlain because of his handling of the Second World War.

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Wishart, the former SNP shadow Commons leader, added: “An adjournment debate is a debate between the member who secured the debate and a minister and the rules of adjournment debates almost specifically say that it’s a debate which is exclusively between the two.

“You actually have to have permission to participate in an adjournment debate.

“If Alba didn’t turn up to any of ours, they did the right thing, that’s what’s supposed to happen.

“It’s an ongoing campaign [by Alba] to try and upset and cause rancour among the Scottish National Party and it will not work.”

He accused the party of being more interested in converting people from the SNP to Alba, rather than convincing No voters to back Scottish independence.

SNP are lashing out in blind panic over controversy, say Alba 

An Alba spokesperson said: “The SNP are in a blind panic lashing out because their members are taking stick from ordinary Scots.

“The absurdity of fuel-poor Scots living in energy-rich Scotland is the burning issue of the day and the continuing theft of Scotland’s natural resources is the point, or at least it should be for any MPs making the case for independence.

“The SNP are taking stick from their members and all nationalists for walking out on a debate this week on the dominant issue of the independence case led by Kenny MacAskill.

"They claim it wasn’t a walkout but over 200,000 people have watched the video, looked at the behaviour and have judged for themselves.

“The SNP boast about having had 16 adjournment debates since Alba was formed but in that time Alba with two MPs have had five, plus three Westminster Hall debates and two ten minute rule bills, on key subjects such as Covid contracts, ferries and links with Europe and electricity standing charges. That is a far higher work rate.

“However the issue is not as Pete Wishart seems to think - the gold star for Westminster good attendance - but the SNP’s synchronised walkout on an issue which means most right now to every Scottish family and all independence supporters.

"If he doesn’t understand that then he really has been at Westminster for far too long.”