Holyrood to overhaul invitations to Parliament after attendance of far-right politician

The Scottish Parliament's authorities have pledged to inform MSPs in advance who is invited to Holyrood after an embarrassing episode in which a Ukrainian politician who had founded the 'Social-National Party of Ukraine' was applauded by MSPs, unaware of his associations.  

The move comes after pressure from Labour MSP Neil Findlay.

Andriy Parubiy, who founded the neo-fascist political party in Ukraine in the 1990s, was invited to observe First Minister’s Questions last week.

The Social National Party later merged into the All-Ukrainian Union "Svoboda", a radical right-wing party who formed part of the Ukrainian government after the Euromaidan protests led to the overthrow of then President Viktor Yanukovych.

Back in 2012 the European Parliament called on Ukrainian parties "in the Verkhovna Rada not to associate with, endorse or form coalitions with" Svoboda.

Mr Parubiy has since rose to become chair of his nation’s parliament, but MSPs were unaware that his previous political party barred membership to non-ethnic Ukrainians and used Nazi symbols.

His previous connections to the far-right came to light after Mr Findlay raised a point of order to question the decision to invite him, following reporting by the Morning Star.

Holyrood authorities have now pledged to inform MSPs in advance over who they have invited to avoid any further such scenarios.

Scottish Labour MSP Neil Findlay said: “This is welcome news from the Scottish Parliament.

“Last week we were asked to welcome someone with a far right fascist past to Holyrood.

“This minor change of process will mean that in future all MSPs are informed of who is in attendance as an invited, and we can make an informed choice about whether they are accorded a warm welcome or not.”

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