Queen's Speech 2015: SNP MPs wear the little white rose of Scotland

 
Ashley Kirk
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Alex Salmond wears a white rose as he leaves through the central lobby after the State Opening of Parliament (Photo: Getty)

All of the Scottish National Party's MPs wore white roses in Parliament today for the State Opening and Queen's Speech.

Its parliamentary representatives wore the "little white rose of Scotland", the party said, "as SNP MPs and MSPs do at all Westminster and Holyrood parliament openings".

The party said it was in homage to the Scottish poet Hugh MacDiarmid, who wrote a poem entitled "The Little White Rose of Scotland". The White Rose of York was taken up by the Jacobites in the seventeenth century as their symbol, marking the births of King James III and VIII.

50 of the 56 MPs were part of the 2015 intake as the party swept to victory in Scotland in the general election, leaving the three major Westminster parties with just one Scottish constituency each.

In her speech, which many of the SNP MPs attended, the Queen outlined plans to give the Scottish Parliament powers to raise 40 per cent of taxes and decide about 60 per cent of public spending.

The Scotland Bill will allow Holyrood to set thresholds and rates of income tax, and it will also get control over a portion of VAT and the whole of Air Passenger Duty.

Pete Wishart, one of the rose-wearing MPs, told the BBC: "We will take a very keen interest as this [Scotland Bill] goes through - it was 100 days we were promised that this would be brought forward, we want to see that bill, we want it debated."

The rose was made famous by Scottish poet MacDiarmid, in "The Little White Rose of Scotland". The poem reads:

The rose of all the world is not for me

I want for my part

Only the little white rose of Scotland

That smells sharp and sweet - and breaks the heart.

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