An SNP motion to move the writ for the Glasgow North East by-election has been defeated by 238 votes to 127 in the Commons.
The SNP ambushed the government on the last day of the parliamentary session, proposing that not to move the writ would leave the constituency without an MP until November 5th at the earliest, a full 136 days vacant.
Stewart Hosie said that the constituency deserved better and that Labour was putting party first and people second. Labour's Jim Sheridan scoffed at the SNP's "synthetic tears".
Where, he asked, is the representation for the people of Banff and Buchan, Alex Salmond's Westminster seat?
It made for a dramatic hour in the Commons, with MPs rushing in from their offices and from well beyond Westminster. David Cameron, George Osborne and Mohammed Sarwar went into the lobby without ties.
If the SNP had tipped off the Tories I think the opposition could have organised a feint and pretended to send MPs to Norwich and have them turn back to vote.
The SNP think the element of surprise would have been lost then."This was more than parliamentary fun, this was about the proper representation of a parliamentary constituency and Labour voting down the writ was shameful," said the SNP's Stewart Hosie.