Page last updated at 07:59 GMT, Thursday, 2 July 2009 08:59 UK

MSP 'snubs' Queen to read e-mails

Holyrood chamber
Questions were raised over empty seats in the Holyrood chamber

An MSP has claimed she stayed away from the Queen's visit to Holyrood to mark the 10th anniversary of devolution so she could catch up on her e-mails.

The SNP's Christine Grahame was one of about 50 MSPs who failed to attend the parliament for the event.

Former Presiding officer George Reid described their absence as "sad".

In her speech, the monarch told MSPs she had been struck by the spirit of engagement and innovation they showed in serving the people of Scotland.

South of Scotland MSP Ms Graham was one of the politicians who did not turn up for the visit.

She said she had been going through her e-mails and claimed it would have been hypocritical to have attended the event.

I was a little disappointed by the fact that not every seat was filled. I thought there might have been a three-line whip
George Reid
Former presiding officer

She told BBC Radio's Good Morning Scotland programme: "I'm earning and working for my constituents far more than if I sit hypocritically in the chamber watching a monarch for an institution I do not support.

"I can't speak for other people. I do not think it's a snub.

"I think it's honesty."

However, Mr Reid said: "I was a little disappointed by the fact that not every seat was filled. I thought there might have been a three-line whip.

"It may be that people are off on holiday already, I don't know.

"But how nice for the Queen to come 10 years down the road. She launched the process. She's now here at the start of the next stage."

A Scottish Parliament spokesman said the date had been chosen to coincide exactly with the 10th anniversary of the parliament taking its legal powers.

"We recognise there was not a full turnout but can confirm that we had confirmation from 84 members that they would be present," he said.

"Obviously we would have liked a bigger turnout but nothing has detracted from the fact this was a highly successful day."



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