An MSP has served up a stinging rebuke to the House of Commons speaker for lobbying Scottish ministers over Judy Murray’s plans for a tennis centre.
John Bercow, who referees debates in Westminster, urged Nicola Sturgeon to back plans for the £37.5m Park of Keir sports complex near Dunblane, which has been met with fierce local opposition.
His intervention has riled Mark Ruskell, the Scottish Greens MSP, who has accused the MP of meddling in Scotland’s planning system.
He said: “If I was to start wading in on planning issues in John Bercow’s constituency of Buckingham then he would be up in arms, but that’s exactly what he is doing in Dunblane and Bridge of Allan.
“I doubt he has even visited the area let alone walked on the precious greenbelt of Park of Keir. He’s more used to frequenting the Royal Box at Wimbledon.
“It’s disappointing that someone who has such a crucial role in upholding parliamentary protocol at Westminster doesn’t see how inappropriate it is to comment on this controversial planning matter in another jurisdiction.”
Scottish ministers will have the final say on the scheme after Stirling Council rejected the bid.
More than 1,000 objections were lodged against the planning application, most of which denounced how the plan would encroach into the greenbelt.
The development is being promoted by Judy Murray, the mother of Wimbledon champions Andy and Jamie, as well golfer Colin Montgomerie.
It includes a 12-court tennis centre, golf course, museum, hotel and spa and 19 luxury homes on land currently designated as greenbelt.
In a letter to Ms Sturgeon, as revealed in The Courier, tennis fan Mr Bercow encouraged her to support the scheme saying that Ms Murray is “purely motivated by a thirst to make a difference and to help others”.
He wrote: “It would be a decisive act of leadership to give the go-ahead to these plans which will bring real benefits for decades to come. I do hope that it will be approved.”
The Scottish Government says it is considering the report and recommendations of the independent reporter and will publish their decision in due course.
A spokeswoman for Mr Bercow declined to comment.