The breach of iron discipline in the Sturgeon-run SNP will benefit democracy

The breach of iron discipline in the Sturgeon-run SNP will benefit democracy

As if to emphasize that fact and counter her former boss’s attempt to put her down, she said: “The First Minister was well aware of the concerns that I held on this issue.”

Over to you, Ms Sturgeon. If you say the minister’s opposition was not known to you, how about providing us with a statement from her that you reckon shows her whole-hearted backing for your bill?

In a further breach of the iron discipline that has always been the norm in the Sturgeon-run SNP, Ms Regan decided to continue her war of words by holding a press conference at Holyrood. Here she repeated not only that her opposition to the bill was well-known but also listed her specific objections to it. She also attacked the First Minister’s decision to deny her MSPs a “free vote” in the debate.

She said it “… should have been a free vote. I think healthy debate is important. I think that robust challenge is, after all, how we create good law. And I think that actually that’s a strength and it’s not a weakness.”

All of that said, I am still puzzled as to why the minister didn’t make a statement to the Scottish Parliament as to why she’d been forced to resign. That is the long-standing tradition at Westminster and I cannot understand that Holyrood, which prides itself on its openness, would act differently.

After all, a public statement to MSPs would have had a much bigger impact than a hurried press conference in the parliament’s Garden Lobby. It may well be my suspicious mind, but was the ex-minister “persuaded” that she’d done enough damage without her “going public” at a plenary session of the parliament?

And, further, why did she have her “presser” at 1.00pm, which is the same time as the regular SNP group meeting every Tuesday? Why not air her views before an audience of her peers? Or again, was it concluded – and by whom – that there had been enough criticism of the First Minister?

Perhaps, I shouldn’t be too suspicious. After all, this rebellion was a “first” for the Nats and for the sake of democracy, let’s hope there are lots more.