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Last Updated: Thursday, 15 September 2005, 14:21 GMT 15:21 UK
Ashes victory sparks Scottish row
England's victorious cricketers

England's victory over Australia in the Ashes cricket series has sparked a row in the Scottish Parliament.

The SNP's Christine Grahame complained about the level of UK-wide coverage given to a sport she said was of "only marginal interest in Scotland".

The Liberal Democrat MSP Iain Smith has accused her of insulting thousands of Scots cricketers with "narrow-minded nationalism".

Conservatives have urged the SNP to show "greater generosity of spirit".

England won the Ashes for the first time since 1987 following their 2-1 summer win over Australia.

The prime minister said the team had "lit up the whole summer" with their performance over the five Tests.

Fans also celebrated outside The Oval cricket ground and in pubs around the country on Monday, while British troops around the world were glued to TV screens.

We want to congratulate the English cricket team
First Minister Jack McConnell

The Scottish Tories have accused the SNP of being "petty and vindictive" and said England's win would inspire youngsters to take up the game.

Jamie McGrigor, the Tories' spokesman for sport, added: "The SNP likes to portray itself as a party of integration, so it's surprising that Ms Grahame has chosen to react in this way to a game which has been played in Scotland longer than football has and has an estimated 12,000 active participants in this country.

'Tremendous success'

"England's tremendous cricket success has been an inspiration to thousands of youngsters to pick up a bat and ball."

England's Ashes triumph was raised during First Minister's Questions on Thursday.

Jack McConnell said: "I'm sure members will want to congratulate two successful national teams over the last week.

"First of all, our national football team here in Scotland, who have made us all feel an awful lot of better for the past 10 days.

"We wish them well for the end of the World Cup campaign - but we also, I'm sure, would want to congratulate the English cricket team."

Full motion

The full text of Ms Grahame's motion is: "It's Simply Not Cricket - That the Parliament notes the recent cricket win by England over Australia and, while congratulating England's players, laments the overwhelming UK-wide coverage of a sport that is of only marginal interest in Scotland and further laments that England's win is apparently of more importance than the continuing starvation of millions in Niger, the complete failure of the UK Government to deliver on the G8 promises and the continuing chaos in Iraq and Afghanistan, and notes that it provides a timely diversion from these desperate failures of the UK Government but that many of us are keeping our eye on another ball."

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