Roseanna Cunningham snubbed the opportunity to say sorry six times
SNP Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham snubbed the opportunity six times to say sorry for her "totally unbecoming" behaviour when she was seen berating Tories when a debate on Wednesday over independence was halted in the wake of the Westminster attacks.
The Perthshire South MSP was heard calling the decision "a disgrace" and said to have been calmed by colleagues after jabbing her finger towards the Tory benches.
Several witnesses claimed Miss Cunningham accused Conservative rivals of "giving into terrorists" and blocking talks on Scotland's future when the debate was halted.
It's disappointing to see both the First Minister and Roseanna Cunningham herself fail to condemn this behaviour
Scottish Tory chief whip John Lamont
Turning to point at Tory MSPs, she allegedly said: "This is because you didn't want to talk about independence."
One source told the Daily Express: "She was having a bit of a meltdown. I heard her say: 'You're giving into terrorists, even the Tories at Westminster carried on in the face of the IRA'."
Scottish Tory deputy leader Jackson Carlaw branded the outburst "absolutely disgraceful conduct", which he said was "totally unbecoming".
Roseanna Cunningham was heard calling the decision "a disgrace"
In shambolic scenes yesterday, one of the First Minister's aides attempted to shield Miss Cunningham from awaiting journalists.
After Miss Sturgeon's weekly question session the adviser steered her through the Holyrood building to dodge reporters.
But Miss Cunningham was tracked down to a lift where she refused six times to apologise.
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She also refused to deny the remarks over independence insisting "You have the comment", in a reference to a statement issued by the SNP on Wednesday night.
This stated: "Roseanna's first thoughts are with all of those affected, and while she did initially take the view – shared by some from other parties – that business should not be suspended in the face of terrorism, she fully supports the decision, given the seriousness of events."
Later during a heated briefing the First Minister's official spokesman was asked if Miss Sturgeon still had confidence in her minister.
Nicola Sturgeon was asked if she still had confidence in her minister
He replied: "Yes".
The spokesman denied Miss Cunningham mentioned independence in the way it was attributed to her: "She never expressed any such view."
But he refused to explain the basis for the denial and whether Miss Sturgeon regarded her behaviour as "acceptable" or "appropriate".
The spokesman added: "There are people dead in the street. You got a statement from Roseanna – we don't intend to add to that."
Miss Cunningham was tracked down to a lift where she refused to apologise six times
But Scottish Tory chief whip John Lamont said: "It's disappointing to see both the First Minister and Roseanna Cunningham herself fail to condemn this behaviour.
"It was an embarrassing outburst which reflected badly on the Scottish Parliament.
"The best thing this MSP could do would be to face up to what she said and apologise, rather than hiding from it."