MP sent out after attack on minister

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An MP was ordered out of the House of Commons chamber yesterday after refusing to apologise for calling Geoff Hoon a "backstabbing coward".

An MP was ordered out of the House of Commons chamber yesterday after refusing to apologise for calling Geoff Hoon a "backstabbing coward".

Annabelle Ewing, the Scottish National Party MP for Perth, was told to leave by the Deputy Speaker, Sir Alan Haselhurst, in exchanges on the statement on reorganisation of regiments.

She said: "I am amazed at the gall of the Defence Secretary as the Black Watch have just returned home from the front line in Iraq ... Surely it's a betrayal of our brave soldiers whose bravery can be contrasted with the Defence Secretary who is nothing but a backstabbing coward."

Ms Ewing was jeered at by MPs and then told by Sir Alan to "withdraw that comment immediately and apologise".

She replied: "Mr Speaker, I have the utmost respect for you, but I have no respect for the Defence Secretary and I'm afraid I cannot withdraw." She refused to withdraw the remark on two further occasions, despite Sir Alan saying that "serious consequences" would follow. She was then asked to leave.

Mr Hoon later hit back at the SNP, saying: "This is a party that has opposed every deployment of British troops in recent years and I do wonder what would be the point of having an army ... if they ever got into any kind of power."

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