An MSP was sent out of Holyrood’s chamber for wearing a rainbow tie in support of LGBTI rights.
Alex Cole-Hamilton, the Scottish Liberal Democrat, was told to change the garment by Presiding Officer Ken Macintosh because it flouted rules against “ostentatious campaign material”.
The order was made at the start of a ministerial statement committing Scotland to becoming the first country in the world to have LGBTI inclusive education embedded in the curriculum.
Mr Cole-Hamilton wore the neck piece in support of the TIE campaign and in defiance of a circular sent around by Mr Macintosh in September warning MSPs against wearing or wielding “overt campaigning material” in the chamber.
That email was sent to MSPs after dozens of them wore the brightly-coloured apparel in the chamber in June, before the parliament went into summer recess.
Mr Cole-Hamilton, an Edinburgh MSP, said: “While I meant no disrespect to the parliament or the Presiding Officer, Lib Dems exist to fight for a world that is free from conformity and I want to do everything I can to further the aims of the TIE campaign.
“Inclusive education around LGBTI issues should matter to everyone and how we teach and accept the diversity of our children defines us as a society.”
The TIE campaign has been campaigning to combat homophobia, biphobia and transphobia in schools though inclusive education.
James Dornan, the SNP MSP, questioned the decision to get Mr Cole-Hamilton to change, tweeting with a shrug emoji: “And yet we’re all wearing the poppy.”
Mr Macintosh’s email from September said: “Successive presiding officers have been content to exercise some latitude around members wearing pin badges, ribbons, and other relatively discreet methods of showing their support for a particular cause.
“My deputies and I are happy to continue this approach.
“There have been some recent examples, however, of more overt campaigning material being worn in the Chamber and I seek your co-operation in avoiding such situations in future.”