It was a case of “saps” and “numpties” as the SNP and Labour leaders clashed this week in some of the most heated exchanges seen in the Scottish Parliament.
The topic at First Minister’s Questions on Thursday was the spending package unveiled by the Chancellor the day before in his last Budget before the general election.
Labour leader Iain Gray said £82 million more is coming to Scotland as a result of spending decisions south of the border.
But Alex Salmond said the Budget measures would result in a 1.3% cut to the part of the Scottish budget that Holyrood ministers have control over.
“Next year’s Budget in Scotland, thanks to Westminster, for the first time in a generation is falling in real terms as Scotland’s price for Labour’s economic failure,” he said.
It drew an angry response from Mr Gray who accused the first minister of being “a grievance, not a government.”
“He shouts, he screams, he stamps his feet to hide the fact he has no idea what to do with the money he has,” said Mr Gray.
“What about those consequentials of £82 million? What’s he going to do with those?”Name-callingAs tempers rose and with MSPs on the Labour and SNP benches calling out, Labour’s finance spokesman Andy Kerr could clearly be heard calling the first minister a “numpty.”
In a flash, Presiding Officer Alex Fergusson was on his feet informing Mr Kerr he would not tolerate such name-calling, prompting an apology from the Labour member.
Later, it was Mr Salmond’s turn to withdraw a remark when he called Mr Gray a “sap.”
Mr Salmond said the claim that a green investment bank announced in the Budget would create 150,000 jobs was “total and utter fantasy, made up by the Secretary of State for Scotland on a whim and now repeated by his sap in this Parliament Iain Gray. It is incredible.”
The presiding officer advised the term “sap” was “inadvisable.”
Mr Salmond said he would withdraw the term “sap” and replace it with “placeman.”
Under the MSPs’ code of conduct, members are bound to deal with each other in a “courteous and respectful” manner.
Unlike at Westminster, no terms are specifically banned, although “liar” is not tolerated.
Also banned at Westminster are terms including coward, hooligan, rat and traitor.