Soames apologises for ‘friendly canine salute’ to female MP

Mid Sussex MP Sir Nicholas Soames apologising to SNP MP Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh (photo from Parliament.tv).
Mid Sussex MP Sir Nicholas Soames apologising to SNP MP Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh (photo from Parliament.tv).

Mid Sussex’s MP has apologised for making a ‘friendly canine salute’ to a female MP during a Parliamentary debate on Donald Trump’s immigration policy.

The American President’s so called ‘Muslim ban’, an executive order attempting to stop refugees and travellers from several Middle East and African countries, has proved hugely controversial with more than 1.6 million people signing a petition opposite a state visit by the Republican.

Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh, MP for Ochil and South Perthshire, told Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson he and Prime Minister Theresa May needed to show ‘global leadership’ on the issue and felt the Government had ‘failed’ to show this.

At the end of her speech, Mid Sussex MP Sir Nicholas Soames was reportedly heard making a ‘woof-woof’ noise.

Later when Ms Ahmed-Sheikh asked him to apologise, saying:” I understand that during my response from the Scottish National Party benches to the Foreign Secretary’s statement, the right honourable member for Mid Sussex, who has always afforded me courtesy and respect, was making ‘woof, woof-sounding’ noises at what I was saying, which of course I find extremely disrespectful.

“This is an opportunity, through you in the chair, for the right honourable gentleman to set the record straight if that is not the case.

“If it is the case, perhaps you would be able to rule whether that is in order.”

In response, Sir Nicholas said: “Further to that point of order, Mr Speaker. Like you, I thank the honourable lady for her kindness in warning me that she was going to complain of this.

“I thought that in her question to the Foreign Secretary she snapped at him a bit at the end, so I offered her a friendly canine salute in return. No offence was intended, and I apologise to the honourable lady if she was offended.”

Earlier in the debate, he said: “I strongly agree with the Foreign Secretary on the importance of this country’s alliance with the United States, but does he agree that, whatever others may do, refugees arriving in this country will be dealt with with patience, courtesy and respect?”

Mr Johnson replied: “I am very grateful to my right honourable friend for his point. I am glad to see that the bust of his grandfather has been rightfully restored to its place in the Oval Office. I remind him that of course Winston Churchill took a very strong view on a country being able to control its own borders and immigration policies.”

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