Kezia Dugdale backed the First Minister when she attempted to get a debate under the Sewell Convention, which would almost certainly have resulted in the legislation being voted down in Scotland.
The Presiding Officer's legal advice, however, was that this was not an area of legislation which was covered by Sewell. She therefore refused to allow the debate in parliament.
It seems that James Kelly MSP decided to take legal advice of his own, and that in the light of that advice he wished to make a point or order with Ms Marwick over her decision.
Unfortunately he stuttered and stumbled his way through some relatively unnecessary preamble, and seemed unlikely ever to get to the point. Ms Marwick hurried him along, and at that point he started to get shirty with her.
This was a bad idea.
He was clearly questioning her judgement, and that of her legal advisers. One might have thought that the prudent thing to do in such a situation would be to be extremely respectful whilst questioning the decision.
You can see in the video how the proceedings unfolded and their eventual outcome.
As it goes, I think that the Presiding Officer was a little hard on Kelly at the beginning of the débâcle. He was rambling and stalling, but public speaking doesn't appear to be one of his strong points and she could have cut him a little slack. However, once you have been told to sit down by the PO, you have no alternative but to sit down.
Regardless of how right he thought himself to be, he was a fool not to do so.
To refuse to do as ordered by the Presiding Officer in any parliament inevitably means being escorted from the chamber. The Chair simply cannot accept wilful disobedience from anyone. To do so would be to invite chaos.
I'm no expert in the doings of parliament but I would imagine that Tricia Marwick didn't make the ruling on the legislation up on the spur of the moment. I'll bet that she took very senior and authoritative legal advice before her ruling. I don't know who gave Mr Kelly his legal advice which appears to be contrary to that of the PO. it may or may not have been equally senior and authoritative.
But surely in the case where you believe that legal advice given to parliament is incorrect, the sensible course to take would be to have a meeting with the Chair, in private, rather than to try to embarrass in the chamber.
I'm sad that the debate cannot go ahead. I don't want to see the Trades Union legislation enacted for Scotland in a parliament in London.
How different things would have been if, during the Smith deliberations, Labour had sided with the SNP to have the matter devolved.