The architect behind the unusual tactic was Angus MacNeil, MP for the Western Isles, and was one of the few representatives who tried to stop the 2016 referendum from even taking place. As the European Union referendum bill was put before the Commons in 2015, MPs began to make their way towards the ‘Ayes’ and Noes’ lobbies so that their votes could be counted.
Mr MacNeil had been staunchly opposed to the UK holding the referendum on EU membership but, claiming he had been “distracted”, he walked into the ‘Ayes’ lobby by accident.
This meant he would be voting with David Cameron’s Tory government – in favour of the referendum.
Unable to face up to the imminent humiliation that might ensue from the mistake, the SNP MP came up with a last-ditch plan to withhold his vote.
Mr MacNeil decided to hide in the mens’ toilets until the lobbies were reopened, meaning his vote would not go in favour of the Government’s proposal.
Labour MP at the time, Tom Blenkinsop, told of how he and his colleagues were worried Mr MacNeil had fled to the gents with illness before realising what he was up to.
Mr Blenkinsop said: “We were knocking on the door to check if he was OK. He hung on in there for as long as he could. We eventually took pity on him and let him leave.”
The former MP for Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland also tweeted “A wee jobby in the wrong lobby?” before confirming that Mr MacNeil had mistakenly entered the wrong corridor.
The SNP, despite Mr MacNeil’s best efforts, were unable to prevent Brexit as Boris Johnson‘s deal gained approval from both the Commons and the EU following his election victory.
Nicola Sturgeon‘s party enjoyed success of its own, as they won 48 of Scotland’s 59 constituencies in the vote last month.
The First Minister in Scotland immediately took the opportunity to further her demands for a second Scottish independence referendum, something the Conservative Government is opposed to.