Salmond Criticised For Missing Debate

SNP international affairs spokesman Alex Salmond has come under fire for missing the Prime Minister's statement on Syria.

Mr Salmond chose to be in Holyrood instead of the House of Commons to hear David Cameron argue it is "morally'' unacceptable for the UK to rely on its allies to take military action against Islamic State.

The former first minister, who is still the MSP for Aberdeenshire East, was in the chamber at the Scottish Parliament to watch his successor Nicola Sturgeon at First Minister's Questions.

He then went to the Scottish National Portrait Gallery in Edinburgh to unveil a portrait of himself that was painted by the artist Gerard Burns.

Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson hit out at Mr Salmond, saying: "There is nothing more serious than the potential deployment of our service personnel abroad.

"The fact the SNP's foreign affairs spokesman would apparently prefer to unveil a portrait of himself in Edinburgh than take his seat in the Commons during the Prime Minister's statement on UK actions in Syria speaks volumes.

"Alex Salmond has form in unveiling vanity projects to himself but he needs to remember he's paid - twice over - to be a parliamentarian, not an art critic.''

An SNP spokesman branded the Tory attack as "both crass and ridiculous''.

He said: "Firstly, Alex attended a full briefing on Privy Council terms and received a full briefing last night in the Cabinet Office from the security services and the joint chiefs. Therefore, there was nothing in the Prime Minister's statement which was a surprise or new information to him.

"Secondly, prime ministerial statements are always answered by Angus Robertson as SNP leader in Westminster. When the issue comes to debate and vote Alex will be contributing to the debate as foreign affairs spokesman on the issue of peace and war in Syria.''

He continued: "Alex was representing his constituents today in the Scottish Parliament as an MSP, and where after watching the Commons statement he attended First Minister's Questions."

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