Official Report

 

  • Meeting of the Parliament 27 March 2019 [Draft]    
      • Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh (Infection Incident)
        • The Presiding Officer (Ken Macintosh):

          The first item of business is a statement by Jeane Freeman on the infection incident at the Royal infirmary of Edinburgh. The cabinet secretary will take questions at the end of the statement.

        • The Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport (Jeane Freeman):

          I am grateful for the opportunity to update members on the actions taken by NHS Lothian in response to an infection incident at the Royal infirmary of Edinburgh.

          On 19 March, NHS Lothian wrote to all patients who had aortic valve replacement operations in the six-month period between September 2018 and March 2019 to advise them of a low infection risk arising from their surgery. Those precautionary letters, which were sent to 186 patients, were triggered by the following events.

          On 19 February, we were advised by Health Protection Scotland, through the normal channels, of a patient who had contracted a mould infection, who had undergone cardiothoracic surgery at the RIE. On 20 February, NHS Lothian established an incident management team to investigate the matter and set the healthcare infection incident assessment tool at red, due to the severity of the illness and public concern.

          On 26 February, NHS Lothian followed that by, rightly, instigating a retrospective review of all patients over an 18-month period. From that exercise, 186 patients were identified for whom there was a low infection risk. Measures were put in place to contact those patients by letter and to provide them with contact information to use for any follow-up questions that they had on receipt of that letter. To date, a total of 26 patients who received letters have contacted NHS 24, of which 19 have been passed on to the board for further discussions. Additionally, information has been provided to local general practitioners and cardiologists about symptoms to be aware of and to give guidance on appropriate testing and onward referral, should that be needed.

          On the infection itself, three types of mould infection have been identified, which have affected six patients. Sadly, some of those patients have died. No further cases have been identified since November 2018, but I know that the whole chamber will join me in offering our sympathy and condolences to the families and friends affected.

          The three types of mould identified are Lichtheimia corymbifera, Exophiala dermatitidis and Aspergillus. None is commonly found in hospitals.

          NHS Lothian proactively undertook an extensive investigation of the incident and, as it should, sought the help of Health Protection Scotland, which visited the hospital at the board’s request and is providing comprehensive expert support to it. The detailed investigation is being undertaken by the lead infection control doctor, together with NHS Lothian’s director of operations and its director of technical service. Health Protection Scotland has visited the wards and theatres involved.

          A comprehensive question set relating to ventilation within the cardiothoracic theatres was devised by the lead infection control doctor and lead infection control nurse, with some additional questions from Health Protection Scotland. The response to those questions has satisfied the infection control team and the director of facilities that the ventilation within the theatres concerned is operating within the acceptable parameters for air pressure, air changes and air flow, and no concerns are noted relating to filters.

          In addition, of course, NHS Lothian has taken the further steps that we would expect it to take to minimise the risk of further infection spread, including additional and specialised cleaning and environmental decontamination with hydrogen peroxide vapour in all relevant wards and theatres, a review of practice, and air and water sampling from both the environment and specialist equipment.

          As a precaution, last week, four planned elective surgeries at the hospital were cancelled to allow for additional preventative measures to be implemented. On 26 March, elective operations recommenced in two of the four theatres, subject to the additional preventative work, and the other two theatres will be operational when the additional cleaning and air sampling and other measures have been completed. All patients whose operations were cancelled have now had their operations rescheduled over this week and next week.

          I completely understand that this will have been a worrying time for the patients who have been contacted by the board. However, let me repeat that the board was right to undertake a review of cases and to inform the patients whom it identified as a result of that exercise. Those precautionary steps were the right ones to take, as they were designed to minimise risk and to provide a clear pathway for those with concerns to access services as easily and efficiently as possible.

          This is the right time for me to say again that, in Scotland, we have learned valuable and wide-ranging lessons from the tragic experience at the Vale of Leven hospital more than a decade ago. It is important to recognise the significant improvements in patient safety that have been made and sustained in those 10 years. Healthcare-associated infection outbreaks are rare and, although it is important to respond when they occur and to recognise that they are of critical importance to the individuals and the families affected, such outbreaks affect a very small proportion of the 1.2 million in-patient and day cases that are treated every year in Scotland.

          Following the introduction of the national infection prevention and control manual, the assessment, reporting and escalation of outbreaks is a far more robust process. Infection prevention and control teams undertake active surveillance of certain organisms and, therefore, can identify outbreaks after finding just one or two cases. As part of outbreak investigations, boards undertake active case finding to look for cases retrospectively and prospectively. The current precautionary steps that NHS Lothian is undertaking resulted from an extensive review of the records of thousands of patients who have had many different types of surgery carried out since the beginning of 2015. That demonstrates that NHS Lothian is taking a rigorous approach to ensuring patient safety.

          Overall, NHS Lothian has a strong record. Figures published on 12 February this year show that, over the four-year period from January to March 2014 to July to September 2018, the board’s hospital standardised mortality ratio fell by 2 per cent at the Royal infirmary of Edinburgh, by 10.4 per cent at the Western general hospital and by 13.6 per cent at St John’s hospital.

          In addition, since 2014, there have been steady reductions in the rates of staphylococcus aureus bloodstream infections and Clostridium difficile infections in NHS Lothian. With regard to infections that are associated with caesarean sections and hip arthroplasty, NHS Lothian’s performance is on a par with that of the rest of Scotland. Since 2007, there has been a 98 per cent decrease in positive results for MRSA from testing, which compares well with the 93 per cent decrease in Scotland overall.

          Clearly, we can improve processes to make our hospitals as safe as they can be, which is what the Scottish public have every right to expect. As my colleagues on the Parliament’s Health and Sport Committee noted recently, there are lessons for us to learn from recent incidents in NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, particularly about the importance of robust communication between infection prevention and control teams and estate staff. Such communication is particularly important during maintenance or repair work on the NHS Scotland estate, when extra control measures need to be put in place to reduce the risk of infection.

          When I updated Parliament on 26 February, I announced that I had commissioned an independent review to look at the design, build,

          “commissioning, construction, handover and”

          on-going

          “maintenance of the Queen Elizabeth university hospital and how such matters contribute to effective infection control.”—[Official Report, 26 February 2019; c 10.]

          In order to ensure appropriate membership of the review committee, the independent chairs of the review, Dr Brian Montgomery and Dr Andrew Fraser, have been taking advice from experts on who will be best able to contribute, as well as analysing and reflecting on the work that has been done to date. From that, they will determine the review’s precise remit and the resources and support that will be required. We expect the independent chairs to consult on a draft remit shortly.

          In addition, we are strengthening the roles that individual NHS Scotland infection prevention and control team members play and the expert service that they provide. Next week, to provide further reassurance on the efficacy and robustness of our approach, our chief nursing officer will meet board healthcare-associated infection leads to reinforce their responsibilities with regard to infection prevention, emphasising the mandatory surveillance requirements contained in the national infection prevention and control manual and ensuring that boards have local mechanisms in place to implement the manual reliably and sustainably.

          I recognise that no patient wants to receive a letter similar to those sent by NHS Lothian last week, but I hope that what I have outlined today provides reassurance that such letters form part of a proactive and precautionary infection control and risk management system here in Scotland. Not all healthcare-associated infections are preventable, but we have dedicated professionals and a rigorous system, focused on limiting and controlling them. The system is alert to potential infection risks and how to assess and manage them and consistently looks to improve.

        • Miles Briggs (Lothian) (Con):

          I thank the cabinet secretary for advance sight of her statement. As a Lothian MSP, I know, from being contacted by concerned constituents and their families, just how hard this has been for people, and I want to start by sending my sympathies to the families and friends of the six patients who have been infected or who have died, as well as to the 186 patients who have been contacted as a precaution.

          With regard to moving forward on this, and in the light of the cases that we have seen across NHS Scotland, what plans does the Scottish Government have to review biological infection prevention as part of the patient safety initiative? Will the cabinet secretary also review how the Parliament is kept updated when any cases occur and when there are outbreaks across Scotland such as those that we have seen over the past few months? It is quite clear that public confidence in our NHS estate has recently been shattered. That is an issue that we must all work to address, and I hope that the cabinet secretary will look to take things forward on a cross-party basis.

        • Jeane Freeman:

          On the important first part of Mr Briggs’s question, which relates to what more we can do to ensure patient safety and to look at what are unusual infections, I have asked the national clinical director to begin some work on where we can find international information and expertise. I have also asked him to find out whether these infections always existed but were masked by MRSA, C difficile and so on and whether, as we bring down the incidence of those infections—which, it must be recognised, we have done successfully—there will be small outbreaks of these other infections, which are themselves critical because of their impact on patients.

          We need to understand the infections better and know more about not just what triggers their occurrence but how we can prevent them. It is a really important point, and, as that work progresses, I will be very happy to ensure that the Health and Sport Committee, as the right place for such information, is kept advised of our progress in what we are doing. As one might expect, looking at those things will take some time, but we will keep that committee up to date.

          Mr Briggs’s other point, about keeping Parliament updated, is very fair, too. I have tried to do that, partly by always responding positively to members asking for statements or by initiating such statements myself, sometimes through the Government-initiated question process, and partly by writing to the committee, as appropriate. I am very happy to talk to the spokespeople in the Opposition parties about what more I can usefully do in that regard. If members are content with that, we will organise such a discussion.

        • Monica Lennon (Central Scotland) (Lab):

          I thank the cabinet secretary for advance sight of her statement. On behalf of Scottish Labour, I offer our condolences to the families of the people who died after contracting mould infections at the Royal infirmary of Edinburgh. We also recognise that the situation is very distressing for the staff at the hospital, too.

          Unfortunately, though, here we are again. It might be a different hospital in a different city and a different infection, but the outcome is the same. Patients have died, and public confidence continues to dip. The cabinet secretary rightly mentioned the Queen Elizabeth university hospital, as well as the lessons from the Vale of Leven outbreak of 10 years ago. None of us wants to learn of any further tragic outbreaks, no matter how rare they are or how few patients are affected.

          What action has the cabinet secretary taken, personally, since taking up her post to ensure that routine monitoring in all our hospitals is as excellent as it can be—in particular, to protect vulnerable patients from potentially fatal infections?

        • Jeane Freeman:

          Of course, we all want the minimal number of infection outbreaks in any of our healthcare settings, whether that is the acute setting, in the community or in health and social care. That is my complete focus, and I am sure that that focus is shared by Ms Lennon, Mr Briggs and others. Patient safety is the most important thing for any health secretary to focus on. However, we need to accept that not all healthcare infections are preventable. Some emerge that are resistant to existing medication and other forms of treatment. Although our medical advances are exemplary and are acknowledged globally, there are times when we are playing catch up, given how infections and bugs work to become resistant to antibiotics, for example.

          I am happy to set out a full list of my personal involvement for Ms Lennon, but, as she knows, I tasked the previous director general and the current one with making direct contact with directors of estates and working with infection-control leads, and we have regular updates on all the issues that the Parliament is aware of. We have raised the issue with health board chief executives at every meeting with them, and I have raised the issue with the board chairs. We have paid particular attention to the question of maintenance and estates, and we continue to work on that area. Again, we will update the Parliament on that work. The issue is a constant part of my job, because it matters so much.

        • Andy Wightman (Lothian) (Green):

          I thank the cabinet secretary for providing advance sight of her statement. I associate myself and the Scottish Greens with her remarks and offer our sympathy and condolences to the families who have been affected.

          Health Protection Scotland says that it is

          “essential that lessons are learned from ... outbreaks”.

          However, it is not clear what lessons are to be learned in this case.

          I have a point for clarification. I think that I heard the cabinet secretary say that none of the moulds are commonly found in hospitals. However, the written statement that she circulated to members in advance says:

          “None are not commonly found in hospitals.”

          Can she clarify that, in fact, they are unusual moulds and that her oral statement was correct?

          The cabinet secretary said in her statement that acceptable parameters were found in the hospital and that preventative work has been undertaken, but she did not say why the moulds were found in an operating theatre, and I wonder whether we know why they were there.

        • Jeane Freeman:

          I will correct the written statement, as there is a double negative in it. What I said is correct—the infections are uncommon in hospital environments. That was part of what lay behind my answer to Mr Briggs’s question about what has happened, in which I said that the infections are unusual.

          That takes me to the first part of Mr Wightman’s question, which was about what lessons are to be learned from the incident. One lesson is that we need to investigate further. Given that the infections are unusual and are not commonly found in acute settings, why has the incident happened and what is its exact nature? So far, the source has not been identified, which is why, in my statement, I made the point about the ventilation system and the work that has been undertaken on it. When more than one patient has been infected, the normal process that an infection control team goes through to identify the source is to look at where there is commonality in terms of healthcare staff, equipment and location. However, in this case, that approach has not found the source and we are continuing to search for it.

          Lessons will include any improvements that can be made to the operating manual. Once we have identified the source, there will be lessons to be learned from that. We must also ensure that all our boards continue to be robust in the application of the national manual, which is why the chief nursing officer is taking the additional action that I outlined in my statement. All of those are continuous lessons. Of course, we have also learned that we need to pay close attention to the quality of the engagement between estates and the maintenance of facilities and infection prevention and control.

          We are checking to ensure that all our boards are learning those lessons. There are always lessons to be learned, and we are keen to ensure that that happens. Despite the overall good record on infection prevention and control across the NHS in Scotland, complacency must never be allowed to slip into the system so that we think that we have got the exercise covered. There is always more that we can do.

        • Alex Cole-Hamilton (Edinburgh Western) (LD):

          I associate Liberal Democrat members with the remarks of sympathy to the people who have been affected.

          One hundred and eighty-six letters have been sent out, but only 26 patients have proactively contacted NHS Lothian. Is the cabinet secretary confident that everyone has received their letter and understands the risks that are associated with the infections to which they have been exposed?

          I understand that the cabinet secretary cannot say what the source of these moulds is, but can she say where they are commonly found? Are they domestic moulds or agricultural moulds? Will that help her in the investigation that follows?

        • Jeane Freeman:

          The question of where the moulds are commonly found is part of the investigation that is going on at the moment. That will help us to ascertain where such moulds might be and how they have reached the acute setting.

          On the number of people out of the 186 who have responded, I have asked the board to provide me with an assurance that everyone received their letter. I think that there is a fairly straightforward way for it to be sure about that, so I expect the board to return to me with that information. I will be happy to make Mr Cole-Hamilton and other members aware of the information when I have it.

          The member asked whether people have received and understood their letters. The “understood” part is difficult, but many of those patients will have continuing appointments with their general practitioner or with the consultant concerned on the issue for which they had the operation in the first place. That is why we made sure that our cardiothoracic consultants—and not just in NHS Lothian, given that some patients who had their procedure in Lothian might have come from another health board—and all GPs are aware of the issue, the symptoms and the systems that have been put in place to assist those 186 patients, so that they can raise the issue if any of those patients comes before them.

          I am not sure whether there is more that we could do in that regard, but I will be happy to consider any suggestion.

        • The Presiding Officer:

          All the party front benchers have asked a question, but nine more members want to do so. We have six and a half minutes left and there is no more time this afternoon. I ask for very short questions and succinct answers.

        • Emma Harper (South Scotland) (SNP):

          Will the cabinet secretary say whether the whistleblowing process at NHS Lothian would have helped with the investigation of the infection incident? Will she provide an update on plans to appoint an independent national whistleblowing officer for NHS Scotland?

        • Jeane Freeman:

          I am not sure that the whistleblowing process at NHS Lothian would have assisted the board’s infection control team, which is proactive, as I said, and identified the issue very early on. In other cases, of course, whistleblowing has been of assistance in such matters.

          We are currently finalising work with the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman, who will take on the role that the member asked about, to ensure that we are ready. In the next few weeks, I intend to outline a series of measures—most of which members are anticipating—in relation to all the actions that we need to take on whistleblowing and as a result of the review in Highland.

        • Jeremy Balfour (Lothian) (Con):

          The cabinet secretary said that two operating theatres are still closed. I note that she also said that the procedures that we have been talking about will resume in the next two weeks or so. Have other operations had to be cancelled because the two theatres are down? If she does not have that information, will she say how many operations have been cancelled as a result of the two theatres still being closed?

        • Jeane Freeman:

          The total number of operations that have been cancelled as a consequence of the infection is four. As Jeremy Balfour said, all four have been rescheduled for this week and next week.

          The two theatres that have yet to reopen will be reopened as soon as the additional work that was done in the first two theatres is completed in the second two theatres and all the other rotas to ensure that elective surgery as well as emergency surgery continue have been redone to accommodate the downtime in those facilities. As soon as we have the date for the reopening of the second two theatres, we will, of course, ensure that members are aware of it.

        • Colin Beattie (Midlothian North and Musselburgh) (SNP):

          Can the cabinet secretary confirm that all clinical staff who are responsible for infection control receive on-going training to ensure that they are in line with best practice?

        • Jeane Freeman:

          Yes, I can. All Scottish health and social care staff and students have access to the Scottish infection prevention and control education pathway, which is part of their continuous development and learning. It is the job of the board and clinical managers in the board to ensure that everyone keeps their learning up to date.

        • David Stewart (Highlands and Islands) (Lab):

          Are there any plans in place that could pick up invasive fungus-like materials such as Cryptococcus in hospital ventilation systems before patients become infected?

        • Jeane Freeman:

          That is part of the work that NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde is undertaking to try to identify how an infection entered a closed ventilation system, which is what it rightly had. It has produced results that we have discussed previously. Health Facilities Scotland is involved with that board in doing that, and that work will be part of what the independent review will look at. That will include consideration of whether additional preventative measures in the external fabric of a building can be introduced to prevent any infection from pigeon droppings, for example, entering into what should be the safest of all systems inside hospitals.

        • Sandra White (Glasgow Kelvin) (SNP):

          The cabinet secretary mentioned that the three types of mould are very uncommon in hospitals, and we know that Scotland has a strong record on infection control. How does Scotland benchmark against other countries for infection control? Can any lessons be learned from other countries about such infections?

        • Jeane Freeman:

          The 2016 point prevalence survey demonstrated that Scotland has the lowest prevalence of healthcare associated infections in the United Kingdom and Ireland. In the rest of Europe, Scotland compares favourably with France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Greece and Finland. That is of some assurance.

          A three-day conference is beginning in Glasgow today, and the event is the largest of its type. There have been 24 such conferences over 24 years. More than 3,000 delegates are coming together from 70 countries to talk about the international learning that we need to take part in to continuously improve our practice. We are continuously engaged in looking at what more we can learn and what more we can do.

        • Gordon Lindhurst (Lothian) (Con):

          What follow-up support NHS Lothian has provided to the 186 patients and what steps have been taken to ensure that individuals have received the letters?

        • Jeane Freeman:

          I have already answered the second part of that question in answering Mr Cole-Hamilton’s question.

          On the follow-up, the letter sets out the basis on which the individual has been written to, the low infection risk that they may be subject to and the symptoms that might indicate infection, and it directs them towards NHS 24 and NHS inform in the first instance for answers to any questions that they might have. It also advises them that their GP and their consultant are alert to the matter and that they can contact them. As I outlined in my statement, when individuals make that contact, the board will follow it up. That is the right protocol.

          There is a very clear protocol for how patients are advised of such a situation, which should always be in writing; it should never be by telephone, for example. The board has therefore done exactly the right thing, and it is following up when people get in touch with it.

          Also, as I explained to Mr Cole-Hamilton, those 186 people will have follow-up appointments with their GP or their consultant; the matter will be raised with them then to make sure that they understood what the letter said and they will be asked about any potential symptoms.

        • David Torrance (Kirkcaldy) (SNP):

          Which health agencies are working together to support NHS Lothian throughout this investigation?

        • Jeane Freeman:

          NHS Lothian rightly involved Health Protection Scotland, which is working with it to provide expert advice. HPS has also visited the theatres and the wards concerned.

          In addition, NHS Lothian is in touch with those with expertise in the Scottish Government health directorate and it will make use of Health Facilities Scotland in relation to any changes that may need to be made to the infrastructure at the Royal infirmary of Edinburgh once the source of the infection is identified. I stress that, at this point, there is no indication of any changes being required to the internal infrastructure there.

        • The Presiding Officer:

          That concludes the statement. My apologies to George Adam and Neil Findlay, as we have run out of time for their questions.

      • Portfolio Question Time
        • Communities and Local Government
          • Local Government Funding
            • 1. Alexander Stewart (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Con):

              To ask the Scottish Government what impact its budget has had on local authorities. (S5O-03052)

            • The Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Local Government (Aileen Campbell):

              The 2019-20 local government finance settlement provides an increase in revenue funding of £298.5 million and capital spending of £207.8 million. Taken together with the increases in council tax, the overall additional funding available in 2019-20 will amount to over £600 million, a real-terms increase of 3.8 per cent.

              Local authorities are empowered to make decisions to utilise this significant package of funding to ensure that they deliver the positive outcomes that the people in local communities across Scotland expect and deserve.

            • Alexander Stewart:

              Figures produced by the Scottish Parliament information centre reveal that, nationwide, there was a real-terms reduction of 3.1 per cent, which translates to in excess of £300 million in cuts, meaning that every single local authority in Scotland has to radically reduce services.

              When will the Scottish Government recognise the needs of local councils and support them accordingly, to ensure that they have adequate resources to support the communities that they serve?

            • Aileen Campbell:

              I remind Mr Stewart of the answer that I just gave, which is that, overall, we will be giving councils a real-terms funding increase of 3.8 per cent. I also gently remind Mr Stewart that if we had followed his party’s tax plans, £500 million would have had to come out of public services—perhaps even out of the local government budget—so we will take no lessons from the Conservatives about how to marshal our budget. Instead, we will continue to focus on supporting local authorities and making sure that we work in partnership with them to deliver the outcomes that the people of Scotland deserve.

            • Alex Rowley (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Lab):

              Does the cabinet secretary accept that £400 million-worth of new financial commitments were placed on local government and that that is where the discrepancy between Mr Stewart’s figures and her own comes in?

              Does she agree that we need a better relationship with local government and that we should start to work more closely with local government now in looking at next year’s budget?

            • Aileen Campbell:

              I believe that we have a fairly strong and positive relationship with local authorities. My regular meetings with the member’s colleague, Alison Evison, have embedded that partnership further. We will continue to work in partnership with local authorities on budget issues, while of course recognising that we are all facing financial challenges.

              I remind Alex Rowley that we have provided for the commitments that we worked on in partnership with local authorities—such as our commitments on early learning and childcare and health and social care—within the budget settlement.

              I take on board Mr Rowley’s interest in local government. We will continue to work in a constructive partnership with local government and we will continue to work with local authorities and the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities on future budget management.

            • The Deputy Presiding Officer (Christine Grahame):

              Question 2 has been withdrawn.

          • Housing, Regeneration and Community Empowerment Support (Almond Valley)
            • 3. Angela Constance (Almond Valley) (SNP):

              To ask the Scottish Government how it is supporting housing, regeneration and community empowerment in the Almond Valley constituency. (S5O-03054)

            • The Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Local Government (Aileen Campbell):

              The Scottish Government supports activity in those areas in a number of different ways. The Scottish Government’s affordable housing investment in West Lothian will be substantial, at more than £60 million over the current parliamentary session. In the Almond Valley constituency, we will support the building of high-quality affordable housing in Livingston, Fauldhouse, Polbeth, Pumpherston, East Calder and West Calder.

              Through our empowering communities programme, the regeneration capital grant fund and the recently announced town centre fund, the Scottish Government will support locally developed regeneration projects to tackle inequality and deliver inclusive growth in West Lothian.

            • Angela Constance:

              West Calder and Harburn Community Development Trust has developed plans—in consultation with the community—for the old co-operative building in West Calder, in essence to celebrate and use that asset of our heritage to create a regeneration hub and a modern community facility.

              Can the cabinet secretary advise on how local organisations can access and pursue regeneration funding, and will she meet me to discuss further how local organisations across Almond Valley and West Lothian can pursue regeneration funding?

            • Aileen Campbell:

              I would welcome the chance to meet Angela Constance to discuss what sound like incredibly exciting developments and projects in her constituency. On funding, we provide the regeneration capital grant fund, which is one example of how we are working together with the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities and local government to support community-led regeneration in our most disadvantaged and fragile communities.

              We recently announced the projects that are due to be supported by that fund, and plan to invite proposals from local authorities and other eligible applicants for 2020-21 funding soon. I am happy to meet Angela Constance to engage with her on the projects and ensure that we furnish her with information that will support her constituents.

            • Mark Griffin (Central Scotland) (Lab):

              Can the cabinet secretary tell me why, in a decision that has clearly not empowered communities, the Government overruled its own reporters and rode roughshod over the views of my constituents, permitting the likely closure of the Bo’ness road?

            • The Deputy Presiding Officer:

              That question is not about Almond Valley constituency matters. However, if the cabinet secretary wishes to answer it she can.

            • Aileen Campbell:

              It might be difficult to furnish Mark Griffin with information, given that the application and planning process are live. If he wants to raise those issues, he can do so through the usual channel of writing to us.

          • Credit Unions (Payroll Saving)
            • 4. Linda Fabiani (East Kilbride) (SNP):

              To ask the Scottish Government how it can assist credit unions in encouraging the uptake of payroll saving. (S5O-03055)

            • The Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Local Government (Aileen Campbell):

              The Scottish Government plays a key role in promoting the clear benefits of payroll savings schemes to employers. We will continue to raise awareness of payroll deduction partnerships through, for example, the Scottish business pledge.

            • Linda Fabiani:

              Can I ask the cabinet secretary also to consider further—and perhaps discuss with the United Kingdom Government and regulatory authorities—how credit unions can be supported to expand their operations, perhaps in relation to enabling home ownership for savers and housing provision in their area of operation?

              Credit unions such as East Kilbride Credit Union have ambitions to further help their communities, but their ability to do so is constrained by the rules framework under which they work. I understand that in Ireland, for example, derogations allow credit unions to be more involved in their local communities.

            • Aileen Campbell:

              I thank Linda Fabiani for her question and recognise her clear interest in the issue. I enjoyed the event that she hosted in Parliament, which shone a light on the good work that credit unions do across the country. I am aware of the fantastic work of East Kilbride Credit Union. Most recently, I was interested to learn about its home start deposit scheme, which aims to help first-time buyers to get a foot on the property ladder.

              We are aware that there is ambition, but that it cannot be met because of the regulatory circumstances in which we find ourselves. That shows that many of the powers that are needed to support such innovation are reserved. We will, of course, continue to push the UK Government, because it is unfortunate that we have ambition from our credit unions that cannot be met because of the regulations, which we have no power to change. We will continue to push the UK Government to make the necessary changes.

          • Accessible Housing
            • 5. Claire Baker (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Lab):

              To ask the Scottish Government how many accessible homes have been built since May 2016. (S5O-03056)

            • The Minister for Local Government, Housing and Planning (Kevin Stewart):

              Our annual outturn reports publish the percentage of affordable new-build completions that meet the housing for varying needs standards. The information that was returned for 2016-17 shows that 91 per cent of new-build units met the standards in that year, with the figure rising to 99 per cent in 2017-18. Information relating to 2018-19 will be published later in the year.

              Local authorities are responsible for assessing and meeting the housing needs in their areas, and I confirm that we will shortly publish guidance on the setting of local housing strategy targets to support the delivery of more wheelchair-accessible housing across all tenures and to enable annual reporting on progress.

            • Claire Baker:

              I thank the minister for his full answer—I will read the Official Report to pick up the detail of what he said.

              The minister will be aware that the Equality and Human Rights Commission recently concluded that disabled people in Scotland are being robbed of their dignity and independence due to a chronic shortage of accessible housing, stating that many disabled people are unable to leave their homes or are forced to live in a single room, which leads to mental health pressures.

              The minister will know that the EHRC has called for at least 10 per cent of new builds to be accessible. At committee, the minister said that the target was arbitrary, but will he commit to requesting information on the volume of accessible housing that is currently available through local authorities and make it available to the Parliament?

            • Kevin Stewart:

              I have been clear to local authorities on the delivery of wheelchair-accessible housing, and I have said that, although we have benchmark figures for housing, we will be very flexible with local authorities that want to build wheelchair-accessible homes or housing with more bedrooms if there is a need for those in their areas. I recently visited a new development in Cupar, in Ms Baker’s region of Fife, which has done very well in building both wheelchair-accessible housing and houses with more bedrooms.

              It is key that the local authority housing strategy targets are right. I said that we will publish the new strategy guidance shortly—in fact, it will be published later this week. We will keep a very close eye on these matters, and I urge local authorities to use the flexibility in subsidy that they have at the moment to deliver for the people in their communities.

            • Jeremy Balfour (Lothian) (Con):

              Does the minister recognise that accessible housing is not just about wheelchairs but involves many disabilities? Does he also recognise that adaptation is often an afterthought for local authorities and that houses often have to be adapted once they are built instead of accessibility being at the front of planning approaches so that accessible houses are built appropriately for people with many different types of disability?

            • Kevin Stewart:

              In my original answer, I highlighted the fact that, in 2016-17, 91 per cent of the housing that was delivered in the affordable programme met the housing for varying needs standards, and the figure has now risen to 99 per cent.

              I have listened very closely to what stakeholders have said on the matter, and I say to Mr Balfour that the housing for varying needs standards are a bit old now—they are nearly 20 years old. I commit to reviewing those standards in the near future, so that we will continue to build and deliver housing that is fit for purpose not only for folk with special needs today, but also for tomorrow.

          • “Housing is a human right”
            • 6. Alex Rowley (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Lab):

              To ask the Scottish Government what its response is to the Shelter Scotland report, “Housing is a human right”. (S5O-03057)

            • The Minister for Local Government, Housing and Planning (Kevin Stewart):

              We are committed to ensuring that Scotland is a modern, inclusive nation that protects, respects and realises internationally recognised human rights. The Scottish Government embraces constructive challenge and is happy to support action that pushes public institutions to go further in embedding human rights.

              In its recent report, the First Minister’s advisory group on human rights leadership recommended a new human rights framework for Scotland that would incorporate human rights treaty obligations, including the right to adequate housing, into domestic law. The First Minister welcomed the vision for how Scotland can show leadership on human rights.

              Scotland already has some of the strongest rights in the world for people facing homelessness, and we believe that that provides a strong platform from which we can do more. Our “Ending Homelessness Together: High Level Action Plan” demonstrates our commitment to housing as a human right and sets out how we will achieve our vision that everyone has a home that meets their needs and homelessness is ended.

            • Alex Rowley:

              I think the minister is saying that that right will be incorporated, but I ask him to confirm that.

              As the minister said, the First Minister’s advisory group on human rights leadership published a report last December that recommended a new human rights act for Scotland. Is that going ahead? Does the minister accept Shelter Scotland’s proposition that housing should be a central element of that legislation? If he does, is he making representations to ensure that housing will be a key part of it? What is the timeframe for the legislation?

            • Kevin Stewart:

              I cannot give Alex Rowley a timeframe, but the advisory group has been quite clear, as has the First Minister.

              At this time, it is key that we protect the human rights legislation that we have. That legislation is very much under threat if we end up with a hard Brexit or even with a softer Brexit, because the United Kingdom Government has not made a commitment on human rights.

              Over the piece, this Parliament has done very well, under Governments of all political guises, to enshrine people’s rights, and our homelessness legislation shows that. However, we can and should go further. We should be co-operating across the board, doing all that we can to protect human rights legislation, which could very well be at risk if we leave the European Union.

            • The Deputy Presiding Officer:

              I call Fulton MacGregor. I ask that he be brief.

            • Fulton MacGregor (Coatbridge and Chryston) (SNP):

              Will the minister outline the work that is being undertaken to end homelessness and how that is affecting the long-term trend in homelessness applications?

            • Kevin Stewart:

              The Scottish Government is fully committed to tackling and preventing homelessness. As the member will be aware, in November 2018, we published jointly with the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities our “Ending Homelessness Together: High Level Action Plan”, which sets out our five-year programme to end homelessness and transform temporary accommodation in our country. The plan is backed by the £50 million ending homelessness together fund, which will support the plan’s delivery and help to drive sustainable change. The ending homelessness together fund is targeted at transformative projects that support local authorities and others. We have already allocated £23.5 million from the fund and the health portfolio for a rapid rehousing and housing first approach, which can make transformational change.

          • Former Social Housing (Compulsory Cosmetic Upgrades)
            • 7. Alison Harris (Central Scotland) (Con):

              To ask the Scottish Government what support is available to owners of former social housing units who face compulsory cosmetic upgrades to their buildings. (S5O-03058)

            • The Minister for Local Government, Housing and Planning (Kevin Stewart):

              Owners who have acquired houses under the right-to-buy scheme are subject to the same rules as other home owners. The local authority can require them to carry out work on housing that is substandard, dangerous, defective or in such a state as to be prejudicial to health or a nuisance. If they live in a tenement, they might also be obliged, by a majority decision of other owners, to contribute to common works to repair, maintain or install insulation, or to carry out other work that is required under their title deeds.

              I do not believe that such works can fairly be described as “cosmetic”, but if an owner needs support, the local authority has wide discretionary powers to provide assistance. It is for the local authority to determine what assistance should be provided in different circumstances, in accordance with local priorities and resources.

            • Alison Harris:

              A constituent of mine who owns an ex-council flat that he rents out recently told me that he is required to pay £12,000 for “compulsory”—that is the council’s word, not mine—cosmetic upgrades to the building’s exterior. He is not in a financial position to pay that and would struggle to secure a loan. He does not want to be put in a position whereby he has to evict tenants in order to sell the flat to cover the costs. He is in a catch-22 situation. When support is not available from the council—

            • The Deputy Presiding Officer:

              I am sorry, but can you just ask your question?

            • Alison Harris:

              What assistance can the Scottish Government offer my constituent, who cannot afford the five-figure bill?

            • Kevin Stewart:

              It is very difficult for me to comment on an individual case. By the sound of it, the member is talking about a landlord in the private rented sector. There are, depending on where that person lives, loan funding opportunities. I cannot comment any more. If Alison Harris wants to write to me about the case, I will look into it. However, as I said, all home owners, including private landlords, are responsible for their own properties.

            • The Deputy Presiding Officer:

              I call Stewart Stevenson to ask question 8. The question, reply and supplementary will have to be quick.

          • Regeneration Capital Grant Fund
            • 8. Stewart Stevenson (Banffshire and Buchan Coast) (SNP):

              To ask the Scottish Government how much communities will receive from the regeneration capital grant fund in 2019-20. (S5O-03059)

            • The Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Local Government (Aileen Campbell):

              We were delighted to announce earlier in March that, for 2019-20, a further £20 million will be invested in our communities through the regeneration capital grant fund. That funding is offered to support locally-led regeneration projects in our most disadvantaged and fragile communities across the country.

            • Stewart Stevenson:

              Does the cabinet secretary expect that £20 million to be as successful in supporting projects right across Scotland as the fund has been in supporting the Banff silversmithing project and Home Bakery in Macduff?

            • Aileen Campbell:

              Absolutely. Such projects and the fund enable local people to be in the lead, to be engaged with, to be listened to and to be responded to. Local communities and local organisations know their spaces and places best. That is the principle that underpins the RCGF and the newly announced town centre fund. I am happy to engage further with the member on particular projects in his constituency.

        • Social Security and Older People
          • Universal Basic Income
            • 1. Graham Simpson (Central Scotland) (Con):

              To ask the Scottish Government under what circumstances it would introduce a universal basic income. (S5O-03060)

            • The Cabinet Secretary for Social Security and Older People (Shirley-Anne Somerville):

              The Scottish Government is committed to reducing poverty and tackling inequality, and we are interested in any proposal that would help us to achieve that, including a citizens basic income. We have invested £250,000 over 2018-19 and 2019-20 to fund a feasibility study that will set out the ethical, legislative, financial and practical implementation of a basic income.

            • Graham Simpson:

              Europe’s first national Government-backed citizens income scheme, which was in Finland, has just been scrapped. Finland found that the scheme did not incentivise people into work. Does the cabinet secretary believe that a universal basic income is a realistic option here? Will she take into account the reasons why Finland made its decision?

            • Shirley-Anne Somerville:

              We will take into account the evidence that is coming from across the chamber. My colleague Aileen Campbell, who leads on the citizens basic income, will do just that.

              I am rather disappointed by Graham Simpson’s tone. I compare it with the words of Adam Tomkins in the Daily Record, in which he considered a CBI thus: “Radical idea could herald revolution in social security provision and unite left and right”.

              We should look at all options to tackle poverty, and we are doing that through the feasibility work that is going on with four local authorities. The Scottish citizens basic income steering group is looking at all the evidence, and we will progress on the basis of analysis of that evidence. I hope that all members will get behind that.

            • Mark Ruskell (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Green):

              The cabinet secretary will be aware of the strong support in Fife for a CBI pilot. However, there are concerns that a Scottish pilot could be scuppered due to lack of co-operation from the Department for Work and Pensions. What conversations has she had with her counterparts in the United Kingdom Government about a pilot? What further steps will she take to ensure that the DWP helps us, rather than hinders us?

            • Shirley-Anne Somerville:

              As I said, Aileen Campbell is leading on the matter for the Government. However, I know that a great amount of work is going on with the DWP, because if the idea is to go forward, it will be imperative that we have co-operation from the UK Government in order that we can build our understanding. We have had reassurances from the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, who has offered co-operation. We are certainly taking her up on that offer because we need to build understanding of the scale and scope of the work, and we need the UK Government to carry on in partnership with us in that process.

          • Social Security and Child Support Tribunal (Statistics)
            • 2. Fulton MacGregor (Coatbridge and Chryston) (SNP):

              To ask the Scottish Government what its response is to the most recent social security and child support tribunal statistics regarding employment support allowance, disability living allowance, personal independence payment and universal credit appeals. (S5O-03061)

            • The Cabinet Secretary for Social Security and Older People (Shirley-Anne Somerville):

              Latest statistics from the Ministry of Justice show that, from October to December 2018, 70 per cent of appeals were found in favour of the claimant. That increased to 73 per cent for cases involving PIP. Those figures demonstrate that the system of decision making is, in effect, broken, which is leaving many vulnerable claimants facing a difficult and stressful journey as they apply for payments to which they are entitled. It is clear from those statistics that the DWP should look closely at its decision-making process, when impartial and independent scrutiny overturns so many decisions.

            • Fulton MacGregor:

              Many members will, like me, have had countless constituents telling of their ordeals—an ordeal is exactly what it is to deal with the DWP. People with complex physical and mental health issues are continually being beaten down and often retraumatised by the system. The latest statistics, which were spoken about by the cabinet secretary, show that the majority of people—a staggering 70 per cent—have won their appeals. Does she think that that further demonstrates the fundamental flaws that are at the heart of how the DWP operates?

            • Shirley-Anne Somerville:

              I absolutely agree with Fulton MacGregor’s analysis. I am sure that no member in the chamber will not have heard in their surgeries stories about people who are dealing with the DWP—in particular, the assessment process.

              We are determined to take a completely different approach with the devolved benefits. We will do all that we can to reduce the number of vulnerable people who go to appeal, by ensuring that the right decision is made at the initial application stage, by getting right the application process and the desk-based decision making, with face-to-face assessments being done only if information cannot be gathered in any other way. That is right for the individual and right for an agency that is fit for purpose.

          • Older Carers (Assistance)
            • 3. Claudia Beamish (South Scotland) (Lab):

              To ask the Scottish Government what assistance it plans to provide to older carers of pensionable age who are providing care of more than 35 hours per week. (S5O-03062)

            • The Cabinet Secretary for Social Security and Older People (Shirley-Anne Somerville):

              The Scottish Government is committed to building a system of support for all carers that recognises their needs and supports them to have a life alongside caring. We will fully consult on our plans to introduce carers assistance in Scotland. Any and all proposals to change carers allowance will require to recognise that it is a benefit with a number of complex interactions with reserved benefits, including pensions. I will not make changes without ensuring that those interactions are fully understood.

            • Claudia Beamish:

              Older people who are aged 65 and over are by far the largest group who provide care, but recent figures show that only 1 per cent of the carers allowance supplement went to that group, as most pensioners have only an underlying entitlement. That additional payment could make a real difference and could enable pensioner carers to afford a few days’ respite in their retirement. Can the cabinet secretary set out what assessment has been made of paying the supplement to those with underlying entitlement, and say whether older carers can hope and expect the payment in the future?

            • Shirley-Anne Somerville:

              I appreciate Claudia Beamish’s point, but I refer her to my original answer. Because of the overlapping benefit rule for which the Department for Work and Pensions retains responsibility under the devolution set-up, if we were to pay carers assistance to pensioners, the DWP could see it as an overlapping benefit and so reduce the benefit entitlements in other areas, thereby leaving the carer no better off.

              I am thoroughly committed to making changes to the carers allowance and to social security payments when there is a clear case to do so, but we need to do that in full recognition of the complex interactions that exist, in particular with the reserved benefits system, which we cannot control. We cannot make any changes without that understanding of the interactions and the work that we must undertake jointly with the DWP to work through them.

          • Older People (Community Engagement)
            • 4. Colin Beattie (Midlothian North and Musselburgh) (SNP):

              To ask the Scottish Government what steps it will take to promote more community engagement with elderly people, given Scotland’s ageing population.

            • The Deputy Presiding Officer:

              I do not think that that is how question S5O-03063 appears on the Business Bulletin. Members should read out what is down as the question. Unless I have the wrong question, there was a slight change to the phrasing, but never mind.

            • The Minister for Older People and Equalities (Christina McKelvie):

              The Scottish Government backs a wide range of community engagement activities to support our ageing population, and I have had the joy of visiting and meeting many of them over the past few months. We have introduced our national social isolation and loneliness strategy, which prioritises community empowerment and recognises the impact on loneliness at every age and stage of life. We are also working locally with our partners including Age Scotland to directly support initiatives that promote active community engagement in later life, such as men’s sheds and other organisations.

            • Colin Beattie:

              The minister may be aware of initiatives in my constituency, such as the Hollies drop-in centre in Musselburgh or the men’s shed in Mayfield. What steps will the Scottish Government take to ensure that such successful schemes will continue to thrive, in my constituency and across Scotland?

            • Christina McKelvie:

              I know well from a previous life the benefit that day centres bring to local communities and the people who use them, as do men’s sheds—they both play key roles in supporting their local communities.

              The Scottish Government will continue to work with its partners to develop men’s sheds and to support the positive mental and physical health benefits that they provide. I will also be delighted to chair the first meeting of the implementation group for our innovative social isolation and loneliness strategy in April. The strategy recognises the values of community initiatives of the sort that Mr Beattie describes, and we will build on that work when we take forward the strategy.

              We will shortly publish the older people’s framework, which will be informed by older people, who have been in the driving seat for the framework the whole way. The framework will tackle the negative perceptions of older people, highlight the contributions that they make and tackle the barriers that they face. In my opinion, such initiatives play a crucial role for older people who may be at risk of social isolation and loneliness, and some of them have even told me that the initiatives have saved their life.

          • Social Security Benefits (Roll-out)
            • 5. Jeremy Balfour (Lothian) (Con):

              To ask the Scottish Government on what date it took the decision to delay the roll-out of the second wave of social security benefits. (S5O-03064)

            • The Cabinet Secretary for Social Security and Older People (Shirley-Anne Somerville):

              We will take full responsibility for the remaining devolved benefits from 1 April 2020. The timetable for delivery was determined after careful consideration of feedback from people who have lived experience of the current system, who stated very clearly that their priority is that their benefits are delivered safely and securely. I also took on board the views of stakeholder organisations.

              The timetable that has been agreed is ambitious but achievable and will protect people and their payments. It takes into account the joint nature of the project with the Department for Work and Pensions and the need to link in with reserved benefits, as well as the level of change that is required to make the benefits fit for purpose. In doing that, we will deliver on our commitment to provide a system that is based on dignity, fairness and respect.

            • Jeremy Balfour:

              I am disappointed to note that the cabinet secretary will still not tell us what the exact date was. Does the cabinet secretary agree that the Scottish Government was never going to make the 2021 target, when consultation documents on disability assistance and terminal illness have only just been launched? Will she apologise to the disability community, who were expecting those benefits to be devolved by 2021, yet the Government has failed to meet that promise?

            • Shirley-Anne Somerville:

              As I said in my original answer to Jeremy Balfour, we will take full responsibility for the remaining devolved benefits from 1 April 2020. I will take no lecture from the Scottish Conservatives on how to run a welfare system. If we look at the counterparts in the DWP, they were six years late for the roll-out of universal credit, three years late for personal independence payments and we still do not know when the full application will begin. Therefore, I will take no lectures from the Tories on how to run welfare.

              It is due to the scale of the change that we need to make, particularly for disability benefits, that we need to ensure that we get it right. We need to ensure that those who have been so badly affected by their treatment by the DWP will receive entirely different treatment here, through Social Security Scotland. Months of detailed consideration have gone in, with the engagement of stakeholders, and the position papers that I launched on 28 February set out the huge amount of detailed work that has been done in planning for the next phase of delivery.

              Our research with experience panels and the advice from our expert advisory group that I have had were the basis for the 28 February statement, and I am proud that we will deliver a system that is based on dignity, fairness and respect.

          • United Kingdom Welfare Reforms (Impact on Women)
            • 6. Shona Robison (Dundee City East) (SNP):

              To ask the Scottish Government what impact UK Government welfare reforms have had on women in Scotland. (S5O-03065)

            • The Cabinet Secretary for Social Security and Older People (Shirley-Anne Somerville):

              The UK Government’s welfare reforms have had a disproportionate impact on women, who are twice as dependent on social security as men.

              Analysis by the UK Equality and Human Rights Commission estimates that the cumulative impact of tax and welfare changes since 2010 has fallen disproportionately on women. On average, women were estimated to lose £940 per year, compared with £460 per year for men, by 2021-22. The benefit cap, and the two-child limit and its abhorrent rape clause also impact women disproportionately.

              Indeed, Philip Alston, the United Nations special rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, said that the UK Government’s welfare system may as well have been created by

              “a group of misogynists in a room.”

            • Shona Robison:

              Is the cabinet secretary concerned, as I am, that the lack of transitional protection for those who naturally migrate to universal credit, for example when they have a change of address, could have an adverse impact, and that it may force women to stay in abusive relationships, so that they do not lose those funds for them and their families?

            • Shirley-Anne Somerville:

              I absolutely agree with Shona Robison that it is very concerning that women who are forced on to universal credit without transitional protection now face further barriers to leaving abusive relationships. We will continue to urge the UK Government to halt the natural migration on to universal credit, because thousands of people are losing out on transitional protection while none of the fundamental flaws of universal credit has been dealt with.

              The Scottish Government is also concerned that the UK Government’s policy of making a single payment of universal credit to a household can act as an enabler for domestic abuse, and we are working with the Department for Work and Pensions to identify how best we can introduce split payments on universal credit in Scotland, to give women access to independent income.

          • Disability Assistance (Assessment Descriptors)
            • 7. Alison Johnstone (Lothian) (Green):

              To ask the Scottish Government what input disabled people, disabled persons’ organisations and other stakeholders will have into the design of the assessment descriptors for disability assistance for working-age people. (S5O-03066)

            • The Cabinet Secretary for Social Security and Older People (Shirley-Anne Somerville):

              Disabled people and their carers have had significant input into the development of disability assistance in Scotland. Their experience and views have helped us to shape the proposed policy changes that are outlined in the consultation on disability assistance.

              The consultation invites views on all the activities and descriptors that are associated with disability assistance for working-age people, and it provides an opportunity for disabled people, disabled people’s organisations and stakeholders around Scotland to input into the design of the policy.

            • Alison Johnstone:

              Does the Scottish Government share concerns that the personal independence payment criteria are not always appropriate for people with mental health conditions? How will the Scottish Government work with people with such conditions and the organisations that represent them to ensure that the descriptors for disability assistance are fair?

            • Shirley-Anne Somerville:

              Alison Johnstone is quite right to point out the concerns that people have had about the current PIP system, as it does not deal adequately with mental health conditions or fluctuating conditions. We are cognisant of that as we move forward.

              As we work through the consultation responses, it is important that we ensure that what we build is fit for purpose for every case that comes forward. I am happy to work with Alison Johnstone and stakeholders to ensure that we get our replacement for PIP right, particularly for those with mental health conditions or fluctuating conditions, who have been so badly served by the current system.

          • Best Start Grant
            • 8. Mary Fee (West Scotland) (Lab):

              To ask the Scottish Government what progress it has made on delivering additional payments of the best start grant to help with early learning costs. (S5O-03067)

            • The Cabinet Secretary for Social Security and Older People (Shirley-Anne Somerville):

              We are on track to deliver the early learning and school-age payments by summer 2019. On 6 March, Parliament approved the regulations that create the new payments. We continue to build the information technology systems that are needed to process applications and make payments to eligible individuals. Social Security Scotland is recruiting and training the staff who will provide operational support.

            • Mary Fee:

              To ensure that the nursery and early learning payments deliver for children, how will the Scottish Government assess what the payments are being used for? How will they reach the most vulnerable children, such as the children of prisoners, black and minority ethnic children and Gypsy Traveller children?

            • Shirley-Anne Somerville:

              We do not assess or set any requirements for how people use their payments. It is for the individual to decide how to use them, as it is their entitlement. However, Mary Fee raises an important point about getting the process right to ensure that all demographics and all parts of Scotland’s population are aware of the payments and that they get support to apply for them.

              As we did with pregnancy and baby payments, we will take seriously our obligations to encourage take-up of the payments and we will ensure that they work not only for the majority of applicants, but for all demographics, for example the Gypsy Traveller or BME communities. We are determined to get that aspect right.

              As I have said a number of times, I am more than happy to work with members on the issue, including with Mary Fee if there are particular communication aspects that she would like us to look at. It is important that we get the process right and are open to learning.

      • Revoking Article 50
        • The Deputy Presiding Officer (Christine Grahame):

          The next item of business is a debate on motion S5M-16554, in the name of Patrick Harvie, on revoking article 50. I ask those members who wish to take part in the debate to press their request-to-speak buttons.

          14:39  
        • Patrick Harvie (Glasgow) (Green):

          Before and since 2016, the Greens have made the case for Scotland’s place in the European Union. It is an imperfect institution, but it has been one of the most successful peace projects in human history.

          It is one of the planet’s strongest voices for action on climate change. It is clearly more democratic than the byzantine system at Westminster and it has given us perhaps the most extraordinary political achievement of the past 100 years—freedom of movement, which is not only a benefit to our economy but a liberating principle for the people of Europe.

          More fundamentally, Europe is our neighbourhood, our community and our family—we do not want to leave—so of course we were dismayed at the result of the referendum in 2016. However, what has happened since then has been worse than anyone could have imagined. The United Kingdom Government has treated Scotland abysmally, but its treatment of the whole of the UK has been shabby, too. It timed the 2016 referendum to take place just weeks after the Scottish Parliament election; it announced a snap UK election right in the middle of our local election campaigns; it refused to reach out, either across the Commons or to the nations, to seek consensus; it went to court to try and prevent MPs from having any say at all in revoking article 50; and it opposed the safety lock mechanism of the meaningful vote—losing on that issue by just four votes.

          Every offer of political compromise has been utterly rejected. We had the UK Withdrawal from the European Union (Legal Continuity) (Scotland) Bill, which—other than in one small aspect, which could easily have been corrected—was competent when passed. The UK Government did not like what we were doing with devolved legislation, so it first initiated a court case, then passed UK legislation that retrospectively limited the powers of this Parliament without our consent and prevented the bill from becoming law. The consequence is that, whatever legislation we now pass in devolved areas, we know that the UK Government is able and willing to retrospectively cut our powers to stop devolved laws coming into force when it does not like what we are doing.

          The Conservatives’ amendment, in the name of Adam Tomkins, tells us that the 2016 result “should be respected”. Should we respect the leave campaign’s criminality? Should we respect the racism of so many prominent leave campaigners? Should we respect their refusal even to engage with the threat to peace in Ireland? Should we respect the numbers on the big red bus? I respect many individual people who voted leave and I respect their anger at the way in which the political status quo has failed them, but that failure lies at the door of successive UK Governments, not the European Union. It is the UK Government that has not respected the result of that referendum. To respect that result would be to respect that a 52:48 result is a knife-edge result that requires an effort to compromise and build a consensus. The UK Government did not do that. To respect the result would be to respect the different votes of the constituent parts of the UK—that famous “partnership of equals”. The UK Government did not do that; it did not respect the result—it was given an inch and took so much more than a mile.

          Mr Tomkins’s amendment tells us that the result should be “delivered”. That boils down to the absurd simplicity of saying “get on with it” or “just leave”. We are way past that general argument. We are not interested in chasing unicorns any longer. Only a specific, coherent and achievable path forward can be taken seriously.

          Mr Tomkins’s amendment also tells us that the best option is to leave “with a withdrawal agreement”, even though that agreement has been resoundingly defeated twice.

          In the media today, the Conservatives are calling this debate “self-indulgent”. Apparently, creating this mess purely to address the Conservative Party’s internal ideological divide is not self-indulgent; prolonging the mess by refusing to reach out and seek consensus for staying inside the single market is not self-indulgent; and throwing a £1 billion bung to the misogynistic, homophobic, climate-change-denying, sectarian marchers of the Democratic Unionist Party in order to keep its own hopeless Prime Minister in office is not self-indulgent. However, apparently, anyone who tries to stop the chaos and end the crisis that the Tory party has forced on the country is being self-indulgent.

          We are asked to accept that Adam Tomkins and so many other Tory politicians who voted to remain, argued in favour of EU membership and agreed with Ruth Davidson in the wake of the 2016 result that we should stay inside the single market and keep freedom of movement are all now convinced that leaving the European Union will be wonderful and the best course that we could possibly take. There is, apparently, nothing self-indulgent about their throwing in their lot with the self-appointed bad boys of Brexit and going along with that hard-right coup. When I look at the words that the Conservative Party is using today—“respected”, “delivered”, “agreement” and “self-indulgent”—I recognise them all, but I do not think that they mean what Adam Tomkins thinks they mean.

          I turn to the Labour position. I recognise and welcome the movement that has been shown. It is, hopefully, becoming clear that Labour in the Scottish Parliament is increasingly willing to accept that Brexit is a hard-right project that we must not roll over and accept, regardless of what Barry Gardiner has to say.

          I hope that Neil Findlay will be able to clarify some points when he speaks to his amendment. He prefers the term “public vote” to “People’s Vote”. I take it that he is still referring to a referendum with a remain option. Is the wording of his amendment intended to agree with our view that, if any withdrawal agreement is to be adopted by the UK Parliament, it must be put back to the people for them to decide whether it is what they want or whether they prefer the current deal—the best deal—of remaining inside the European Union with all our rights, protections and democratic representation and the ability to shape regulations in the public interest?

          If that is the meaning of Mr Findlay’s amendment, we will support it to achieve the widest possible backing for the essence of the proposal that we have put forward. However, if that is not made clear, there is still a majority in this Parliament for the principle that the only ways forward are a referendum or revoking article 50.

          On Saturday, I marched through London with more than a million others—people from a range of political parties and from no political party. Most of us never got anywhere near Parliament Square, so massive was the crowd that we were walking with. Also, nearly 6 million people—5.8 million at the latest count—have signed the petition asking to revoke article 50. Thanks to Andy Wightman, Ross Greer, Joanna Cherry, Catherine Stihler, Alyn Smith and David Martin who took the case to the European Court of Justice, we now know that that is an option that the UK can take, unilaterally, at any point before it leaves the EU.

          As yet, we do not know what will be the result of the indicative vote process at Westminster tonight. We can be fairly sure that it will not result in a simple, sudden clarity—a sort of first-past-the-post, winner-takes-all outcome. There will still be choices to make; there will still be uncertainty; there will still be the huge threat of social, economic and political damage from any form of Brexit; and there will still be people trying to push the country over the cliff edge to deliberately make the crisis even worse.

          Therefore, I ask this Parliament to make it clear, two hours before MPs cast their votes, that one of two things must happen. Whether a withdrawal agreement is adopted or not, we must have an extension that is long enough to put it back to the people. If that does not happen, we must cancel the crisis, revoke article 50 and move on.

          I move,

          That the Parliament commends the more than five million signatories to the UK Parliament petition to revoke Article 50, and believes that, unless the UK secures a sufficient extension to the Brexit process to organise and conduct a People’s Vote with an option to remain in the EU, the UK’s notification under Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union should be revoked immediately.

          14:49  
        • The Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs (Fiona Hyslop):

          I welcome the debate, which gives this Parliament the opportunity to come together to exercise the kind of clear and constructive leadership that is so manifestly lacking in Westminster. There are two days to go before the UK was meant to leave the EU and there is still no plan that commands support.

          Since the EU referendum, the Scottish Government has held the clear and consistent view that continued membership of the EU is the best outcome for the whole of the UK—that is the outcome that Scotland voted for. The UK Government ignored the overwhelming vote in Scotland to remain, and the Prime Minister has ignored Scotland’s national interests ever since. Compromise proposals have been dismissed and the Scottish and Welsh Governments have been shut out of negotiations. The unedifying spectacle of the Conservative Party tearing itself and the country apart in the process of wrenching the UK out of the EU has been deeply damaging to the UK Government’s reputation at home and abroad.

          As the latest social attitudes survey showed yesterday, it is clear that everyone—whatever their standpoint and whether they are a leaver or a remainer—thinks that Brexit is not being handled well. That is no wonder, because this entire sorry process has, from the very start, been all about internal faction fighting in the Conservative Party, regardless of the impact that that has on Scotland or, indeed, the rest of the UK.

          Westminster has been in a state of permanent chaos. This afternoon, MPs will begin, again, to seek a new way forward through a process of indicative votes. We will see whether MPs can come to an accord, but I fear that there will continue to be disagreement, which is why we must now refer the matter back to the people.

        • Adam Tomkins (Glasgow) (Con):

          Imagine if Scotland had voted yes to independence in 2014, and imagine if, weeks away from independence day, there had remained grave doubt about Scotland’s future trading relations with the rest of the UK, so unionists such as I had argued that independence should be revoked. How would the cabinet secretary have reacted in those circumstances? What would she have called unionists who wanted to revoke a decision that Scotland should be independent?

        • The Deputy Presiding Officer:

          Mr Tomkins, that should have been an intervention, not a speech.

        • Fiona Hyslop:

          The point is the lack of imagination from the UK Conservatives in not being able to come up with anything that will take the country forward in any shape or form. There is a lack of imagination, in that not one member of the Conservative Party in Scotland can express their views and differences of opinion; instead, they think that it is imperative that they obey Theresa May, come what may. Circumstances have changed. The country is in chaos. Westminster has not delivered what Scotland needs. That is why, given that we are a representative democracy, it is perfectly possible for the UK Government to unilaterally revoke article 50, as the European Court of Justice has determined.

          We do not know whether the Westminster Parliament will come to an accord. However, seeking a longer extension to article 50 would stop the clock on Brexit and enable another referendum on EU membership to be held. The Scottish Government will support any such referendum, provided that the option to remain in the EU is on the ballot paper.

          However, no one should be in any doubt: such a referendum is just an opportunity, not a guarantee that the wishes of the people of Scotland will be respected. It is only by becoming an independent country that we can guarantee that the votes of people in Scotland will not be ignored.

          A new referendum on EU membership would also allow people to vote again now that they have the facts at their disposal, rather than relying on the false and incomplete prospectus that was offered in 2016. The 2016 EU referendum campaign was conducted with very limited information on which the public could decide. Crucially, there was no clarity whatsoever from Brexit politicians on what a vote to leave might mean in practice or on a plan to deliver it.

          Every month, new evidence emerges of troubling aspects of the EU referendum and the campaign that proceeded it, ranging from financial impropriety to illegal and inappropriate external influences. Given the enormity of the issue at stake and the relatively narrow majority across the UK as a whole, such matters are far from trivial. That answers Adam Tomkins’s point.

          Since 2016, Brexit politicians have contorted and contradicted their original arguments. It is impossible to tell which—if any—form of Brexit has most support and how that compares with support for remaining in the EU. A new EU referendum could pitch a specific Brexit option against remain to test the public’s view when they are faced with a genuine choice. If the Prime Minister can ask the House of Commons to vote multiple times on the same deal, it is outrageous to deny the people of Scotland and the UK a chance to vote again, now that the facts have become clear.

          The scale, the sights and the sounds of the march in London on Saturday and the growing momentum of the petition to revoke article 50—now the biggest ever and still growing—give us cause for hope amid the Westminster despair. Brexit should be halted for a new referendum to take place, or it should be brought to an end through the revocation of article 50 to avert the catastrophe of crashing out with no deal.

          I believe that today’s motion can be strengthened to reflect the outrage as the UK Government continues to ignore the views of this Parliament and of the overwhelming majority of people in Scotland who wish to remain. This chamber has been consistent in expressing the view set out in the motion and it is high time that our view, alongside that of millions of others, is listened to. I therefore urge Parliament to support our amendment and the final motion.

          I move amendment S5M-16554.4, to insert at end:

          “, and calls on the UK Government to stop ignoring the views of this Parliament and the overwhelming majority of people in Scotland who wish to remain in the EU.”

        • The Deputy Presiding Officer:

          Before I call Adam Tomkins, I should say that we have a little time in hand that I will give back to members who take interventions until I have no time left.

          14:55  
        • Adam Tomkins (Glasgow) (Con):

          On these benches, we believe that referendum results must be respected and delivered, not ignored and overlooked. When a Parliament legislates to hand a question to the people directly, it is not looking for an opinion but asking for a decision. Whether we like it or not, the British people voted in June 2016 that the United Kingdom should leave the European Union.

        • John Mason (Glasgow Shettleston) (SNP):

          Will the member give way?

        • Adam Tomkins:

          In a few moments.

          That was the decision not of half a million people on a march in London or even of 5 million people who have signed a petition but of 17.4 million people, right across the whole of the United Kingdom, including, of course, 1 million people in Scotland.

          I was not among their number—I voted to remain; but I am absolutely not among the number of politicians who think that the result of a referendum can be ignored just because it delivered a verdict that we would have preferred not to have seen. As politicians and as democrats, we are the servants—not the masters—of the people, and when the people give their elected representatives a direct instruction, as they did in June 2016, it is our duty to listen and to act on it.

        • Patrick Harvie:

          Given that so many Brexiteers—indeed, even half the back bench of the Tory party—do not think that Theresa May’s withdrawal agreement is what they voted for, how on earth can Adam Tomkins tell us that 17 million voted specifically for what is on offer now? And if they did not, surely they need to be asked again, “Is this what you wanted, or did you want something else?”

        • Adam Tomkins:

          I say to the member that 17.4 million people voted for Brexit, and the withdrawal agreement will deliver precisely that; it will deliver Brexit.

          The principle that referendum results must be respected and delivered is the first that has informed what we, the Scottish Conservatives, have had to say about Brexit. The second is that Brexit must be delivered compatibly with the devolution settlement. That means respecting that which is properly devolved to this Parliament, and it also means respecting that which is properly reserved to Westminster. That is the core of the problem with today’s Green Party motion, calling for article 50 to be revoked or for a second EU referendum to be held: there is no minister accountable to this Parliament who has the legal power to do either. The United Kingdom’s international relations, including its relations with the European Union, are reserved to Westminster, just as they would be, incidentally, under any federal constitution.

          That does not mean that this Parliament can have no meaningful impact in ensuring that Brexit is delivered compatibly with devolution. Just this week, the Finance and Constitution Committee published a unanimous report that adds significant value to the on-going debate about the need for common frameworks in the post-Brexit United Kingdom. Much could be gained from exposing that report and its conclusion and recommendations to further scrutiny and debate in this chamber.

        • Neil Findlay (Lothian) (Lab):

          Will the member give way?

        • Adam Tomkins:

          No.

          That is not what the Green Party has chosen to do this afternoon. In my judgment, Opposition days in the Parliament are best used as opportunities to hold to account the Scottish Government, whose ministers are, after all, accountable to us. It is, therefore, unfortunate that the Greens have chosen to pass up that opportunity this afternoon.

          Three options face us now. First, we could leave the European Union in an orderly manner, avoiding cliff edges and economic shocks and transitioning smoothly from membership to exit, in accordance with the withdrawal agreement that has been agreed by the EU27 and the UK Government. Secondly, we could crash out much more suddenly, with no transition period and the real risk of significant economic shock. Thirdly, we could delay—perhaps indefinitely—flying in the face of the clear instruction to leave that the British people gave us in June 2016.

          Voters do not want the agony prolonged; they want us to get on with it. The business community does not want an even lengthier period of uncertainty; it wants the deal closed. The course of action that the Greens urge on us today would do grave damage to our politics, all but destroying that delicate trust between voters and representatives on which democracy relies.

        • Andy Wightman (Lothian) (Green):

          Will the member take an intervention?

        • Adam Tomkins:

          No.

          In my judgment, to leave without a deal would risk doing similar damage not to our politics but to our economy. For that reason, I have never supported a no-deal Brexit, and I remain as opposed to that course of action as I have always been. That leaves only one option, which is the one that I have been advocating since the withdrawal agreement was published in November. I want us to leave the European Union, and to do so under the deal that has been negotiated and agreed by the UK Government and the EU27. I want us to get on with it and to move on so that, in future, Opposition debates can be about the things that matter most to voters here, such as skills, schools, hospitals, jobs and the economy, rather than endless manoeuvrings about constitutional process.

          I move amendment S5M-16554.1, to leave out from “commends” to end and insert:

          “considers that the result of the referendum held across the UK in June 2016 should be respected and delivered, and that the best way of achieving this is to leave the EU with a withdrawal agreement.”

          15:00  
        • Neil Findlay (Lothian) (Lab):

          I see that we are in groundhog year, and this time the lead role is played by Mr Tomkins. The UK is sitting on the edge of the abyss. Lorry parks are being set up, medicine is being stockpiled, food is being hoarded and Parliament is in turmoil.

        • Adam Tomkins:

          Vote for the deal, then.

        • Neil Findlay:

          He says, “Vote for the deal,” but his own side will not vote for it.

          We have a Prime Minister in name only, and one who is alone and whose credibility is in tatters. She is the worst holder of that political office since the previous holder of that political office. She is losing vote after vote, minister after minister and every shred of credibility that she ever had, making the UK a laughing stock across the world. It is indeed a tragedy. We have heard the Prime Minister parroting the phrases “strong and stable” and “Brexit means Brexit”, and now she is so lacking in self-awareness and comprehension of reality that all she can say is that her rejected deal is the only way to prevent a no-deal Brexit.

          The Prime Minister’s deal is the deal that was defeated by a record number of votes in the House of Commons, and it was defeated for a second time by almost 150 votes. If it is brought back to the house, I hope that it will be rejected again. Today in the House of Commons, MPs will work through a series of indicative votes. We know that it is getting serious when MPs are taking the revolutionary step of using pens and paper to vote. I am glad that I am not there, because I do not think that my heart could take all the excitement of seeing Rees-Mogg with his swan quill pen, ink pot and parchment.

          Today, we are discussing the prospect of revoking article 50. To respond directly to issues that Patrick Harvie raised, I say that a referendum with a remain option is of course the option that we would like, and that is what our amendment refers to as a “public vote”. That reference reflects the wording that my party agreed unanimously at our conference. However, Mr Harvie will understand that, for many other reasons, not least the impact of universal credit, of the hostile environment on immigration, of policies that result in increasing poverty and homelessness and of many other policies, we also want a general election, to bring an end to this disastrous Government. I hope that Mr Harvie is with us on that, too.

        • Patrick Harvie:

          Just to be clear, is Mr Findlay making that argument in addition to the argument for a referendum on any withdrawal option, and not as an alternative to it?

        • Neil Findlay:

          Yes. That is what I said to Mr Harvie when I spoke to him earlier today.

          As for Mr Harvie’s second point, it will not be news to him that Labour proposed a plan for a customs union and single market alignment that was identified as credible by the European Union and European Government leaders. Had that plan succeeded, we would not be facing the abyss today. However, tonight, Labour will support the Kyle-Wilson amendment in the UK Parliament, which will ensure that any deal has to be endorsed by a referendum. I hope that that helps Mr Harvie and that we can continue to work together with his party, the Liberal Democrats and the Scottish National Party to speak in this Parliament with a common voice, as we have done throughout the process, to expose what the Tory party has done.

          We have worked co-operatively with other parties in this Parliament and we will do so again. We have regularly met the cabinet secretary and the spokespeople from all the other parties. We co-operated on the UK Withdrawal from the European Union (Legal Continuity) (Scotland) Bill. We did joint work with the National Assembly for Wales. We all even attempted to work with the Conservative Party. Such co-operation is not being a traitor, nor is it selling out; it is the sensible and reasonable thing to do, in the interests of our constituents, Scotland, the UK and Europe.

          Today’s debate focuses on article 50. We have to end the deadlock. If there is no referendum and we come to a choice between no deal and revoke, I think that all sensible members—I am excluding Conservative members—will take the revoke line. We in the Scottish Labour Party would do that, in the interests of the country.

        • Liam Kerr (North East Scotland) (Con):

          Will the member take an intervention?

        • Neil Findlay:

          No, thank you.

        • The Deputy Presiding Officer:

          The member is in his final minute.

        • Neil Findlay:

          We would take the revoke line against the imminent disaster of no deal.

          However, I caution against any decision being one made by Parliament alone. The referendum was about giving the people a say, so they must have a say in our future.

          I move amendment S5M-16554.3, to leave out from “People’s” to “EU” and insert:

          “public vote with an option to remain in the EU, and the UK be faced with a choice of no deal or revoke, then”.

          15:06  
        • Willie Rennie (North East Fife) (LD):

          I was distressed when we voted to leave the European Union. I was concerned about the economic impact. I was concerned about the potential threat to travel and about the threat to the Erasmus scheme and the many European students who come to this country.

          I was distressed about all those things, but I was most distressed about the message that the vote sent to the rest of the world about the kind of country that we are. I liked to think that we were an outward-looking, optimistic, generous nation that was prepared to work with our neighbours. Whatever other message the Brexit vote sent, it certainly sent the message that Britain wanted to be on its own, doing things differently from our neighbours, which I thought was regrettable. I am not saying that everyone was of that opinion. However, that is the powerful message that was sent to the rest of the world.

        • Jamie Greene (West Scotland) (Con):

          Does the member accept that the Scots who voted to leave the EU did so not because they wanted to send an isolationist message but for many other reasons—and quite appropriate reasons, at that?

        • Willie Rennie:

          I recognise the multitude of reasons why people voted for Brexit. After this process, we cannot just go back to how we were. We must recognise that some people in our society felt that they were being left out—many communities in the north of England certainly felt like that. We need to address those fundamental issues, to ensure that, in future, people do not use Brexit or another such process to express their views, because there is another mechanism whereby they can do so.

          Let us contrast the Brexit process with the process of devolution. Devolution was built up through a constitutional convention, various marches, manifesto commitments from all the parties, a white paper, involvement of all the parties and of people right across society, and then endorsement through a referendum.

          The Brexit process has been astonishingly different. What Government puts forward a referendum on something that it does not want to happen? No white paper was produced. There was no detail, there was no combined plan, and there was no consultation across society about what Brexit would actually look like—nothing like that happened.

          When we look back to the constitutional convention process that led to the establishment of the Scottish Parliament, it is striking to see how beneficial that process was, compared with the Brexit process. That adds more weight to the case for a people’s vote or confirmatory referendum.

          We need that vote, because we did not have the detail before the referendum, whatever people say. We had slogans on the side of a bus. We had a multitude of grievances, which were put forward by a multitude of campaigns. How on earth can we hold those campaigns to account? If the Brexiteers cannot agree among themselves now what Brexit actually means, how on earth were we supposed to know in 2016 what Brexit meant? There was no way of knowing what it meant back then, given that Brexiteers cannot agree on what it means now. That is another reason why we should have a confirmatory referendum.

        • Adam Tomkins:

          Will the member take an intervention?

        • Willie Rennie:

          No, I am in my final minute.

          This is just the beginning. If we agree to the withdrawal agreement—slim as the chance of that happening is—the debate will have only just begun. We will have to negotiate the free trade agreement, which will take months or years, and we are debating the backstop in Ireland because we are not optimistic that we will get that done within the transition phase. We think that the division and discomfort will end with the withdrawal agreement, but that is simply not the case.

          The economic consequences are quite significant. We are already feeling them with the lack of immigration to the country. We have a perfect storm: an ageing population, growing demand on social care and nursery education, real demands on the national health service and food and drink and hospitality sectors that are growing, while we cut off a large number of people from the European Union who would have come here to work and help us grow our economy and public services. That is madness, and it is another reason why we need a people’s vote.

          There is a way to make the torture stop. We can break out of the stalemate by letting the people decide. If Parliament cannot build a consensus, the people should decide. That is why we support a public vote. If the EU and the UK cannot make the time for that to happen, we should revoke article 50 to give us that time.

          It is impressive that so many people have signed the petition. Their voices cannot be ignored.

        • The Deputy Presiding Officer:

          We now move to the open debate, with tight, four-minute speeches.

          15:11  
        • Bruce Crawford (Stirling) (SNP):

          I sincerely thank Patrick Harvie and the Green Party for bringing to the chamber this important, albeit short, debate on the Brexit process.

          The petition to revoke article 50 has now attracted more than 5.8 million signatures, more than 12,000 of which were generated in the Stirling constituency. That number represents around 13 per cent of my constituents.

          In the 2016 referendum, 68 per cent of voters in the Stirling constituency voted to remain in the EU. I fully respect the wishes of people in the Stirling constituency who voted to leave the EU, but I have been surprised by the fact that, given that 68 per cent of voters in his own constituency voted to remain, the Tory MP for Stirling, Stephen Kerr, has refused to review his position. I fully respect the fact that he was a leave voter, but surely he should reflect on the views of the vast majority of voters in his constituency and consider following their wishes. Unfortunately, he rather arrogantly refuses to do so, as he has outlined in the Stirling Observer today.

          It is no secret that I remain a committed remain supporter, and I would take any route to derail Brexit. I say that for two very important reasons.

        • Adam Tomkins:

          Imagine that Scotland had voted yes to independence in 2014 and negotiations to separate it from the rest of the UK had proved difficult, as we warned that they would be. Would Bruce Crawford then have supported calls to revoke independence?

        • Bruce Crawford:

          There is one fundamental difference between what happened in 2014 and what happened in 2016. Unlike the letters on the side of a bus in 2016, there were, in 2014, more than 600 pages of well-argued reasons why Scotland should be an independent country.

          I am committed to derailing Brexit, first of all, because of the social and economic damage that any form of Brexit would inflict on Scotland. I am particularly concerned about the impact that leaving will have on EU citizens in Scotland. They have been innocent bystanders, and they have been treated in a shocking way throughout the utter calamity of a process that will not go down well and that has been a very sad and disturbing chapter of UK history.

          Just as important is the fact that the right to freely travel, live and work anywhere in the other 27 countries of the EU as a European citizen will be stolen away from the present generation and future generations of Scots if we proceed with Brexit. That makes me angry and despairing.

          The second reason why I want to see Brexit derailed is that, at the end of the day, all the argument fundamentally boils down to a very simple question: do we believe in democracy and in the sovereignty of the people of Scotland? I know that, in the rest of UK, the UK Parliament has traditionally and historically been seen as sovereign, although that notion has taken a significant blow this week as a result of the actions of the Tory Government, which has signalled that it is prepared to ignore the will of Parliament. However, the position in Scotland, which is given strength by the claim of right, is that the people of Scotland are sovereign. The choice is therefore a very clear one for members of the Scottish Parliament: either we believe in the right of the people of Scotland to choose their own future or we do not.

          It all boils down to that simplest of propositions, and I know where I stand on that proposition: I stand with the people of Stirling and Scotland. They voted to remain and, therefore, I will do everything I can to fulfil their wishes.

          I believe—and the SNP believes—in the sovereignty of the people of Scotland. At decision time, we will see how many parties and how many members of the Scottish Parliament are prepared to put the wishes of the people of Scotland first and foremost and give us a way out of this Brexit madness through a people’s vote.

          15:15  
        • Alexander Stewart (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Con):

          I am rather disappointed but not surprised that the Scottish Greens have chosen to spend parliamentary time, yet again, on something that is outwith the powers of this Parliament. We see that far too often in this Parliament instead of seeing a focus on legislating to improve our schools, our hospitals and our justice system and on holding the Scottish Government to account.

        • Fiona Hyslop:

          Will the member give way?

        • Alexander Stewart:

          No, thank you.

          Revoking article 50 would be undemocratic in the extreme. Scotland voted to stay part of the United Kingdom and the Government of the UK gave the British people the choice of whether to leave or remain in the EU. In the ensuing referendum, people voted to leave the EU in the biggest numbers that we have ever seen in electoral history. That result must be respected and upheld.

          It is unsurprising to see those who were on the other side of the referendum promoting the idea of having a second one. We have seen the same when it comes to independence. It would seem that the Greens and the SNP want to keep us voting in the great European tradition of continuing until we deliver the correct result, but that is not how democracy works. People who voted for political parties and expect politicians to carry out their instructions should be listened to.

          The SNP set out a number of demands in relation to the withdrawal agreement. It called for a deal to prevent a no-deal scenario—we have that. It called for a transition period—we have one. It called for EU citizens’ rights to be protected—they have been. It called for no hard border in Ireland—there will not be one. I could go on.

          The vast majority of tests set out by the SNP and other people on the deal surrounding withdrawal have been met. However, all that we have seen is opposition to the deal, and that can only be because they are agitating for independence. That is not the way we should be going.

          There is significant support across the business community in Scotland for the deal. NFU Scotland has said that

          “the deal will allow trade in agricultural goods and UK food and drink to continue ... throughout the transition period”.

          Diageo also supports the deal and has said that it will give direction and ensure that there is fairness during the interim period. Sir Ian Wood has said that the deal is “workable” and better than the current system, because

          “we’re out of Common Market membership, but we’re maintaining some of the advantages.”

          Scottish businesses are clear that they want members of Parliament to back the deal.

          The Scottish National Party would do well to remember that there is only one deal on the table; its opposition to the deal ensures that there is even more of an opportunity that the no-deal scenario will happen.

          For far too long, we have been waiting for an outcome for the whole country, which is delivering the result of the referendum and leaving the EU in an orderly and managed way. We want to see that orderly and managed exit, and the withdrawal agreement that has been negotiated by the Prime Minister, although far from perfect, ensures just that. It gives us the opportunity to have a transition period and a negotiated way out of the situation. I very much hope that the UK Parliament will approve the deal in the coming days, and I support the amendment in the name of Adam Tomkins.

          15:19  
        • Johann Lamont (Glasgow) (Lab):

          I am happy to be involved in the debate, which is on an issue of monumental significance for families and communities right across the United Kingdom. People not just in Scotland but right across the UK have been let down by the Tory Government. However, I welcome the fact that people across the parties at the UK level, including Tories, are trying their best to sort out the problem. We should at least recognise that.

          I am conscious that there is insufficient time to rehearse all the arguments about how and why we ended up here, with the UK Government in chaos the last time I looked and uncertainty scaled up to a whole new level. However, to be clear, I support people’s right to have a final say on the Brexit project, either by endorsing a deal under which to leave or by voting to remain. If and when that vote happens, I shall campaign emphatically to remain.

        • Liam Kerr:

          Does Johann Lamont agree with her colleague Barry Gardiner that Labour is not a remain party and that it would have difficulty in supporting a referendum on any Brexit deal?

        • Johann Lamont:

          No, I do not agree with him.

          I do not pretend—nor would I argue, should anyone else assert it—that the decision is easy. There are concerns about the consequences of having a vote, some of which have been articulated on the other side of the chamber. However, given the evidence, I am clear that it remains the right decision. To coin a phrase, I have been on a journey. I was a reluctant remainer. I valued the role of the EU in post-war European co-operation, yes; the benefits, in particular to young people, of being able to travel, yes; and the role of the EU in securing social and employment rights, yes. However, at the same time, I was uneasy about the EU’s role in bearing down on economic decisions in Greece and Portugal; I was unhappy with decisions that felt distant and not rooted in local needs and experiences; and I was concerned about the distance between some decisions and those who were affected by them—the same feeling that led me to support devolution way back in the day.

          However, I am absolutely clear that, whatever people sought in the referendum debate and whatever they imagined that leaving would bring, they could not possibly have imagined this situation. There is frightening evidence of job losses that will perhaps impact most on those who can afford it least; routine discussions about stockpiling the basics such as foods and medicines have become the norm; and millions of pounds have been spent by the Government and businesses to manage a degree of uncertainty that was simply beyond imagining.

          This is no longer a theoretical or an academic argument, and it is not a political idea or policy that we can argue back and forth in the chamber; this is having a direct impact on the real world right now. I understand Adam Tomkins’s argument about not wanting to debate the constitution. However, we cannot avoid debating this constitutional decision if we are concerned about jobs, skills and the future of our young people. The issues are absolutely entwined with each other, not issues to be debated separately. We must confront one in order to deal with the other. What we see here and now is surely not what people voted for. Even the most pessimistic remainer argument at the time of the referendum did not stoop so low as to describe what we see now, and what is happening now was certainly never painted on the side of a bus.

          We need to think now about how the debate is taken forward. This bit—arguing our corner and confirming our certainties to our colleagues across the chamber—is the easy bit. It is not a proxy debate about other constitutional arguments, and I urge colleagues who take a different view on the question of Scottish independence to be clear that this is a separate argument and that they should be as inclusive as possible in taking it forward. We need to win the argument among those who are not already persuaded—not just those who voted to remain, but the 1 million people in Scotland who voted to leave, without any of the main parties asking them to do so—with the best of intentions and with hope for the future.

        • The Deputy Presiding Officer (Linda Fabiani):

          Come to a close, please.

        • Johann Lamont:

          I urge people to understand that shrugging our shoulders and just getting on with it is not a choice now. We face massive consequences right across the United Kingdom. On that basis, I support a people’s vote and the opportunity for people to make a decision about the best future for the country.

          15:23  
        • Ruth Maguire (Cunninghame South) (SNP):

          The UK Parliament has to take control from Theresa May and support giving the people a say on her disastrous Brexit deal, ensuring that an option to remain in Europe is on the ballot paper. The Green motion that we are debating today

          “commends the more than five million signatories to the UK Parliament petition to revoke Article 50.”

          However, we know here in Scotland that the UK Government has form for ignoring around 5 million folk.

          This whole sorry process has shone a light on a number of things but, most of all, it has demolished Tory claims that the UK is a partnership of equals. Scotland’s overwhelming vote to remain in Europe, repeated votes in the Scottish Parliament and the Scottish Government’s compromise option of single market and customs union membership have all been ignored by the Tories. That does not feel like a partnership of equals.

        • Rachael Hamilton (Ettrick, Roxburgh and Berwickshire) (Con):

          Will the member take an intervention?

        • Ruth Maguire:

          Not at the moment.

          Like many colleagues who were concerned about EU nationals, I reached out to those living in my Ayrshire constituency, and their responses contained strong themes of anger, unfairness and losing a sense of belonging. I will share some of them with the chamber. One person said:

          “We think as a family it is disgraceful how the UK government is treating us. We've lived in Scotland for over 12 years, paying taxes, not taking any benefits and now the UK Government wants us registered as though we are cows!! We were thinking we’re settled here but the UK government has made us think differently”.

          Another person said:

          “You can imagine that I feel deeply insulted by the whole affair as I have been living in the UK for 50 years. There was no need to apply for British citizenship as we are all Europeans and I felt I belonged here, but no more.”

          Another said:

          “I am 72 years old and have lived in Scotland for 68 years. I consider it a disgrace that I should be told I now have to apply for the right to reside.”

          I, too, consider that to be a disgrace.

          Along with the upset that has been caused by the treatment of our EU citizens, one of the most striking things for me has been the contrast between the way in which Ireland has been treated by the EU and the contempt with which Scotland has been treated by the Westminster Government. There has been solidarity and support for Ireland from its EU partners, while Scotland has its national interests ignored and the powers of its Parliament eroded as we are left at the mercy of an increasingly dysfunctional and chaotic Westminster system.

          Surely none of us in the chamber who were sent here on the votes of our Scottish constituents could seriously look them in the eye and tell them that it is right and proper that a handful of DUP MPs hold more sway over Scotland’s future than our national Parliament. Surely nobody in the chamber would support Scotland being disadvantaged in UK funding arrangements because of outrageous attempts by the UK Government to win DUP votes.

          We need to avoid the catastrophe of a no deal and the damage that would be caused by the Prime Minister’s bad deal. The UK Parliament has to take control and give the people their say, and the option to remain in Europe must be an option on the ballot paper.

        • The Deputy Presiding Officer:

          We move to the closing speeches.

          15:27  
        • James Kelly (Glasgow) (Lab):

          After all the debates that we have had in the Parliament on Brexit, it seems astonishing that on 27 March, two days from the defined exit day, there is still a complete lack of clarity on the way forward. We face a Brexit car crash of massive proportions, the prospect of which drove nearly a million people to come out on to the streets of London on Saturday and 5.8 million people to express their view and their frustration through a petition.

          That frustration has built over time since the referendum in 2016. As Johann Lamont pointed out, that is because of the impact on families and communities, not just throughout Scotland but throughout the UK.

          There are three fundamental problems with Brexit and no deal: the economic damage, the undermining of opportunity for people and the infringement of their rights.

          In terms of the economy, it is clear that trade will be affected and reduced. As the Bank of England has pointed out, that will result in an increase in inflation and interest rates. Some assessments have said that it could mean the loss of 100,000 jobs in Scotland. The impact would mean that people would struggle to pay their bills and their mortgages, and their standard of living and ability to support their families would be undermined. That is why people have taken to the streets and to the UK Government petition website in such numbers.

          Willie Rennie referenced Erasmus+, which is a scheme that many in the chamber have described as being of great benefit to Scottish students. It covers 53 per cent of exchange visits. The potential ending of that scheme means that Scottish students will not only lose that opportunity but lose the ability to make the most of their education and to go on to make a crucial contribution to the economy.

          Bruce Crawford mentioned EU citizens’ rights. The uncertainty facing those who are staying in and contributing to Scotland is a real concern.

          As Patrick Harvie pointed out, the fundamental issue is the Tory party’s inability to compromise. Who, at this late stage, did Theresa May call to Chequers at the weekend to find a solution? She called the grand wizards. Down they came from the shires in their Jaguars and sports cars to attend a meeting at which there were more men called “David” in the room than there were women. It was a really select, narrow gathering. As Neil Findlay pointed out, that is why the withdrawal agreement will continue to be doomed. Given that, it is right that people should look at having a lengthy extension of article 50, with a view to seeking a public vote. Like Johann Lamont, with remain on the ballot paper for that referendum, I would certainly support remain. However, if that option crashes out, and we are left in a position in which there is no deal, we should seek the option of revoking article 50.

          These are serious times, and we all have to live up to our responsibilities.

          15:31  
        • Jamie Greene (West Scotland) (Con):

          Much of the political conversation not just this afternoon but in recent days, weeks and months—and more so in Scotland—has been centred around the premise that Parliament and the people are at odds with one another. Claims have been made that there has never before been such a disconnect between the will of the people and the will of politicians. Some claim—as the motion and some of the amendments today suggest—that this Parliament’s voice is not being listened to. How can it be that 38 per cent of the people outside of this Parliament voted to leave the EU, but fewer than 5 per cent of the members in this Parliament admit—at least publicly—to agreeing with them? Can we honestly say that this place is truly representative of the people it claims to serve?

        • Neil Findlay:

          Will the member give way?

        • Jamie Greene:

          Let me make some progress—I have lots to say on this topic.

          I was elected to this Parliament under three years ago, just one month before the EU referendum delivered the verdict of the British people. It was an interesting time to be elected, but at no point did I think that we would be having a debate in this place in which every political party in the chamber except the Conservatives would be willing to put its name to a motion that sought to overturn the result of a referendum whose final outcome was agreed by 1 million Scots.

          In my short time as an MSP, I have sat here daily and listened in debate after debate to other parties deliberately and willingly trying not just to brush aside but to disrespect the results of the two referenda that have been put to this country. Two historic referenda, with high turnouts and significant public engagement, are being brushed aside because MSPs think that they know better.

          Patrick Harvie rose—

        • Jamie Greene:

          Please tell me why, Patrick Harvie.

        • Patrick Harvie:

          I hear the passion with which the member says that the 38 per cent in Scotland who voted leave should not be ignored. Why on earth should the 62 per cent who voted remain be ignored? What about the 48 per cent across the UK who have been so comprehensively ignored by the UK Government taking the Brexit process to the extreme?

        • Jamie Greene:

          Perhaps Patrick Harvie can answer this question: why does he choose to ignore the 55 per cent of Scotland who want to remain in the UK? Please tell me that. That is the question that I have not heard an answer to.

          Let me move to a note of consensus. Patrick Harvie’s motion

          “commends the more than five million signatories to the UK Parliament petition to revoke Article 50”.

          Perhaps surprisingly to some, I commend them, too. I commend them just as I commend those who marched in London, many of whom I consider my friends. I do not agree with them, but I am proud that we live in a society that allows for that demonstration. However, we must not forget that, for every one person who signed the petition to revoke article 50, three who voted to leave the EU did not. Online petitions and street marches do not make for constitutional change. If we go to the public and ask for a decision, we must respect that decision.

        • Mike Rumbles (North East Scotland) (LD):

          Will the member take an intervention on that point?

        • Jamie Greene:

          I have very little time.

          The Scottish Greens put out a tweet earlier today saying that

          “The Scottish Tories are *very* upset”

          about the motion. Do you know what? They are. I am upset that the Parliament wants to agree to a motion that has no respect for the 43 per cent of voters in North Ayrshire who voted to leave, or the 45 per cent in Angus, or the 49.9 per cent in Moray. I challenge constituency members, when they go back to their constituencies on Friday, to tell those people who voted to remain in the UK and voted to leave the EU why they sought to revoke that message.

          I do not think that the SNP has given full thought to the consequences of what is a fundamental error of judgment on its part. It is setting a very dangerous precedent, too. If one referendum goes a way that it does not want it to go, it simply calls it again. If it thinks that people have changed their minds, it calls it again. If the divorce is too painful or difficult, it calls it again. I know for a fact that, if the tables were turned and we were coming forward with plans to overturn the result of an independence referendum, the SNP would be in uproar over our demands to deny the will of the people. Its hypocrisy knows no end.

        • Patrick Harvie:

          Will the member take an intervention?

        • The Deputy Presiding Officer:

          The member is just closing, Mr Harvie.

        • Jamie Greene:

          We will reject the motion quite simply because there is only one party in this Parliament that respects the outcome of both of the referenda that this country has voted in, and that party sits on these benches.

          15:36  
        • Fiona Hyslop:

          In any debate on Brexit, we should always remember that the overwhelming majority of people in Scotland voted to remain. Scotland should not be taken out of the EU against our will. Scotland’s votes to remain have been ignored by the Tory Government and we have been ignored since. Votes in this Parliament have been disregarded. The Scottish Government’s compromise proposals have been dismissed and the Prime Minister has instead pandered to the extreme Eurosceptics in her party, regardless of the cost to Scotland. That has to change and our voice must be heard. We support holding another referendum with remain on the ballot paper or revoking article 50 to avoid a catastrophe.

          Adam Tomkins argues that the only option to avoid a no-deal Brexit is the Prime Minister’s deal, but we now know that there is another way to avoid the catastrophe of no deal, and that is to revoke article 50. That is the subject of Joanna Cherry’s amendment, which has been accepted for debate and voting in the UK Parliament this evening. I say to the Conservatives that the Conservative Foreign Office minister Mark Field said on 24 March:

          “My personal view is I would be happy to revoke article 50, but I appreciate that is probably a minority view. If we get to this utter paralysis, and I sincerely hope that in the next 48 to 72 hours we do not, then if that becomes an option, it’s an option that I personally would take.”

          If a UK Government minister can take that position, why on earth can the Conservative Opposition in this Parliament not understand that argument?

          The referendum on the EU was more than two years ago, and much has emerged in that time about the flaws in that referendum. We now have a better understanding of the potential impacts of leaving the EU and the damage that would result. Willie Rennie reflected that in his thoughtful speech. However, we understand that the hard Brexiteers have now taken control.

          People are allowed to change their minds in the light of the new information and new circumstances since the referendum. That is the very nature of democracy. Indeed, polling suggests that some people have done so. I say to Jamie Greene most sincerely that he talked about the EU referendum being the final outcome, but that is the problem. It was not the final outcome. If it was, why on earth would Westminster still be trying to determine the final outcome of Brexit in a series of votes two and a half years after the original referendum?

          Of course, it is thanks to the cross-party group of Scottish parliamentarians that we know that the UK has the right to revoke article 50. The UK has not left the EU, and the European Court of Justice judgment on 10 December creates a clear route for the UK to revoke notification under article 50 and remain in the EU.

          If anything, developments since the referendum have that the leaders of the leave campaign demonstrated contempt for the electorate—both leavers and remainers. They did not advance a single plan or position, for cynical, tactical, political reasons. That is why it was not a final outcome, because the content of what would be the plan was never known. Instead, there were false claims about extra money for the NHS.

          Johann Lamont is right and Alexander Stewart is wrong. This crisis affects things to do with this Parliament. It affects jobs, housing and the future of our young people, and it must absolutely be debated in this Parliament.

          A further referendum, which allows a clear, informed choice and is conducted properly, would respect the electorate by offering a proper choice instead of the flawed vote in 2016.

          It is important that Parliament comes together, and I welcome what Neil Findlay said about Parliament’s efforts to do so on many issues with regard to Brexit and what he meant by a “public vote”. There are times when this Parliament must come together to reflect the views of people and find a way forward, and this debate is one of those times. We are not here just to provide comment or to be passive—as the Conservatives seem to be—in the face of crisis. This Parliament is about providing the people of Scotland with leadership and providing a way forward. We need to have a referendum to provide real choice with clear information and to make sure that we can chart a new route forward.

          There have been many good speeches in this short and very important debate. I thank the Greens for bringing it here. We will support the motion, but we think that it should be strengthened with our amendment.

          15:41  
        • Ross Greer (West Scotland) (Green):

          I thank colleagues from three of the other parties in the Parliament for working constructively with us on the motion and for the amendments that have been lodged.

          Johann Lamont summed up very well when she said that we cannot help but debate this issue. It brings us no pleasure to debate this crisis, but when tens of thousands—if not 100,000—jobs in Scotland are at risk from the Conservative proposal, and far more if there is no deal, and when our rights as workers and our environmental protections are put at risk because of the crisis, it would be a dereliction of duty for this Parliament to pretend that it is not happening and talk about something else.

          Johann Lamont was right to say that this is a moment for those of us on both sides of Scotland’s constitutional question to come together to say that we have a way out. We propose a way out of this crisis because collectively we know what is in the best interest of the people of this country.

          I will briefly engage with Adam Tomkins’s hypothetical question, because it is interesting. I reference what Willie Rennie said about the referendum in 1997. If the yes side had won in 2014, it would have been on the basis of a white paper. I did not agree with everything that was in the white paper, such as what it said about NATO, but there was a plan for what would have happened, as there was in 1997. Not only was there a plan, but there was no treaty timescale, so we were not going to activate a two-year stop clock before anyone was ready or had come up with a plan. Most critically, in 2014, the Scottish Government proposed a one-Scotland, team-Scotland approach; every party in this Parliament was invited to take part in the negotiations that would have commenced if Scotland had voted for independence. What a contrast with a UK Government that cannot even compromise with the moderates in its party.

          We should consider how we have reached this stage. How has one of the world’s wealthiest countries, which is not at war nor suffering from a natural disaster, put itself in the position of stockpiling food and medicine? Scotland voted overwhelmingly to remain in 2016, by almost two to one, and the UK result was narrowly to leave. No attempt was made by the Conservative Government in Westminster to recognise the strong remain votes in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Gibraltar.

          Nor did it recognise that a narrow result overall was a mandate for compromise. It has deliberately sought to ignore and circumvent this Parliament at every stage. While we have worked to protect the interests of Scotland—even within the Brexit process, as we did with the UK Withdrawal from the European Union (Legal Continuity) (Scotland) Bill—the Conservative Westminster Government has been underhand, obstructive and arrogant in its efforts to stop us.

          Any rational government would have realised that such a massive undertaking on the basis of a narrow result in favour of a vague idea rather than a specific plan would mean unavoidable compromise. Theresa May’s Government, which is far from rational, decided that its path to Brexit lay through the radicalised extremists on its hard right. The misjudged opportunism of calling an election to crush the Labour Party, only to lose her majority, had the outcome of making May dependent on a second group of hard-right extremists in the DUP.

          Proposals to remain in the EU customs union and maintain either full membership of or greater alignment with the single market have been made by the Scottish and Welsh Governments and the Labour Opposition and they now find their most effective advocate in Tory MP Nick Boles. If those proposals had been the basis of Theresa May’s plan, I doubt that those of us in the Green Party and others who were inclined towards stopping Brexit completely would have had much of a chance. However, if the proposals were not acceptable to the hard right of her own party, they were not acceptable to Theresa May in Downing Street.

          We have a Prime Minister who willingly handed over her Government and the country as hostages to Jacob Rees-Mogg; who started article 50’s two-year countdown without a plan; and whose electoral opportunism backfired so badly that she is dependent on the votes of a party that opposed the Good Friday agreement in order to deliver a Brexit that profoundly endangers the peace process that the agreement has delivered.

          The Conservative strategy has been to use the biggest constitutional upheaval in modern UK history to deliver not the best, or maybe the least-worst, outcome for this country, but to continue its own 40-year civil war over Europe. Instead of ending it, as David Cameron intended, the Conservatives have taken it to new heights and they have dragged the rest of us to the brink with them. [Interruption.]

        • The Deputy Presiding Officer:

          Excuse me, Mr Greer. Could we have a bit of respect for speakers here, please? Thank you.

        • Ross Greer:

          Thank you, Presiding Officer.

          It was not until almost two thirds of the way through the article 50 period that the UK Government finally decided on its preferred outcome. With the resignations that followed the Chequers deal, it was immediately clear that the plan did not have the support of the Prime Minister’s own party. Yet, instead of seeking to reach out and forge a compromise with the Opposition, Theresa May is still playing chicken with madmen inside her own party, risking the catastrophe of no deal in a painfully drawn-out attempt to get her own terrible deal passed. That strategy has failed: it has seen the Prime Minister’s deal rejected by the House of Commons twice and it has demonstrated that, although there have been crueller Conservative Governments in modern history, there has been no Government as incompetent as this one.

          Scotland voted for none of this. Today’s Green motion gives us the opportunity to assert what we believe is the best way out of the crisis. For that, we can thank my Green colleague, Andy Wightman, who led a cross-party group of politicians comprising me, Alyn Smith MEP and Joanna Cherry MP from the SNP, and MEPs from the Labour Party, David Martin and Catherine Stihler. The historic ruling in that article 50 case established that the UK has the right to unilaterally revoke article 50. It is worth noting that the Conservative Government fought us every step of the way in that process. It is the only Government of which I am aware that has gone to such lengths to limit its own options, but it lost and we won. Now we have a way out.

          The Brexiteers had their chance to negotiate an orderly exit from the EU. Their uncompromising, impossibilist approach has squandered that chance, all but collapsed their Government and put the whole country at risk. Fortunately, MPs are beginning to take back control from the Government, but the process is clearly far from over.

          Although 17.4 million people in the UK—1 million people in Scotland—voted to leave, I doubt that many of them voted for this humiliating mess. I can only ask the Brexiteers in the Conservative Party this: when their own Government is estimating that Scotland will lose between 80,000 and 100,000 jobs due to its Brexit proposal, is that really what they think people voted for, and why are they backing it now?

          There is a way to check what people voted for, though. The decision can be handed over by a deadlocked Westminster to the people. Let the public decide between this bad deal and the opportunity to remain part of the European family of nations. If MPs refuse to give the public that final say, and if they cannot come to any agreement as the clock winds down to no deal, we must say today—on behalf of the people of Scotland and all those who will be hurt and put at risk and who will suffer from a no-deal Brexit—that article 50 should be withdrawn and the Brexit crisis ended.

          Today, European Council President, Donald Tusk, told MEPs that they must stand up for

          “the increasing majority of people”

          in the UK

          “who want to remain in the EU.”

          He said that those people

          “may not feel sufficiently represented by UK Parliament”—

          I know that feeling—

          “but they must feel represented by”

          the European Parliament,

          “Because they are Europeans.”

          Today, we have the opportunity to show the people of Scotland that we represent them and that we defend Scotland’s overwhelming remain vote. This is a European nation, we are a European people, we believe in a people’s Europe and we know that it is time to let the people cancel Brexit.

        • The Deputy Presiding Officer:

          That concludes the debate on revoking article 50.

          15:49  
        • Tom Arthur (Renfrewshire South) (SNP):

          On a point of order, Presiding Officer. I rise to make a point of order under rules 8.5.3 and 8.5.6 of the standing orders, which concern the admissibility and selection of amendments.

          The amendment in the name of Adam Tomkins concludes with a reference to “a withdrawal agreement”. It states:

          “to leave the EU with a withdrawal agreement.”

          Would it have been permissible for that amendment to make reference to “the Prime Minister’s withdrawal agreement”?

        • The Deputy Presiding Officer:

          That is a matter for the member who lodged the amendment and the Presiding Officer, who decided to accept the amendment. If Mr Arthur wishes, I am more than happy for the matter to be considered further and a response to be given to him.

      • Climate Emergency
        • The Deputy Presiding Officer (Linda Fabiani):

          The next item of business is a debate on motion S5M-16555, in the name of Mark Ruskell, on climate emergency. I invite members who wish to speak in the debate to press their request-to-speak buttons.

          15:50  
        • Alison Johnstone (Lothian) (Green):

          We have just over 10 years to act to avoid climate catastrophe. That was the stark warning that emerged in October, following publication of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s “Special Report—Global Warming of 1.5°C”. The report details some of the impacts that we can expect if countries do not act to curb radically their greenhouse gas emissions. The impacts include people losing their homes to rising seas, water scarcity, loss of coral reefs, plummeting biodiversity and profound knock-on effects for the ecosystems on which we base our societies and livelihoods.

          Around the world, extreme weather events and erratic temperatures that have been caused by climate change are becoming more and more frequent. In Scotland, we are beginning to see impacts, too. Over the past year, we had a prolonged summer heatwave, as well as extremely high winter temperatures in February. The Scottish Environment LINK-WWF report, “Scotland’s Nature on Red Alert”, suggests that impacts on our wildlife include salmon populations being affected by rising water temperatures, reduced snow cover lowering populations of our iconic ptarmigan, and drier summers reducing the habitats of our wading bird species.

          I know that that is not easy to hear, but I say it to make it clear that the climate emergency is already on our doorstep, so it is the duty of everyone in this Parliament to support actions that will avoid climate breakdown.

          Today’s Green motion commends the inspiring actions of our young people who have taken part in the global #YouthStrike4Climate movement. The strikes have been inspired by the actions of 16-year-old climate activist Greta Thunberg, and include students from all over the United Kingdom taking direct action to ensure that young people’s voices are heard in the call on Governments to address climate change. Two strikes have been organised so far, and another is planned for 12 April.

          During the 15 March strike, school walkouts were planned in 19 towns and cities around Scotland, as far apart as Peebles and Ullapool. We estimate that, in Glasgow and Edinburgh alone, 5,000 young people attended the 15 March protests. They were acting in sync with school strikers in more than 100 other countries, which represents one of the largest mass youth movements of recent times.

          I and my colleague, Andy Wightman, joined the strikers who stood outside the Scottish Parliament building two weeks ago. We listened to their concerns and to what they want for their future—secure jobs, clean air, thriving environments and security for their children. I know that they would welcome more contact with MSPs, so I hope that those who are able to do so will take the opportunity to join them for next month’s strike.

          The UK student climate network, one of the events’ organisers, describes its mission as

          “radically reforming the role and power of young people in national action against climate change”

          by employing

          “strong and repeated student-led protest to promote our diverse voices calling for a common aim.”

          The UKSCN has four key demands, which are:

          “The Government declare a climate emergency and prioritise the protection of life on Earth, taking active steps to achieve climate justice.

          The national curriculum is reformed to address the ecological crisis as an educational priority.

          The Government communicate the severity of the ecological crisis and the necessity to act now to the general public.

          The Government recognise that young people have the biggest stake in our future, by incorporating youth views into policy making and bringing the voting age down to 16.”

          I note that both the Government and Conservative amendments would water down this Parliament’s support for the actions that were demanded by the youth climate strikers. I fully support the aims of the strikers and stand in solidarity with them. It is unacceptable that our young people should have to sacrifice their school days in order to urge the adults who are in charge to do the right thing for people and planet. The inaction of Governments over the past 20 years has brought them to that point, and we cannot let that inaction continue.

          We have a moral obligation not only to act in the best interests of young people and future generations, but to deliver climate justice for less-developed countries. Countries in the global south that have done little to contribute to historical greenhouse gas emissions are bearing the brunt of climate disruption. Cyclone Idai is just the latest extreme weather event, exacerbated by climate change, to devastate communities across Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe. Brexit might feel like a crisis here, but we are not hearing enough about the devastating impact that climate change is having on people in those countries. Mozambique’s former first lady, Graça Machel, has said that Beira

          “will go down in history as having been the first city to be completely devastated by climate change.”

          Scotland has taken the first steps by setting up a climate justice fund, and I acknowledge the Scottish Government’s support for work to boost climate adaptation in Malawi and other African nations. It is needed more than ever, at this point in time. However, more can be done.

          The discussion around setting Scotland’s new climate targets ought to consider the “fair share” approach that was developed by Oxfam International. That approach recognises that we have, as one of the first countries to industrialise, benefited historically from greater levels of wealth and technological development than many countries in the global south, and that that advantage caused associated greenhouse gas emissions. I hope that our historical contribution to the climate emergency will be reflected by this Parliament setting a net zero greenhouse gas emissions target when the Climate Change (Emissions Reduction Targets) (Scotland) Bill comes before us.

          Underlying the climate emergency is our global dependence on fossil fuels, which is hurtling us towards breaking point. We need urgently to move away from fossil fuels in our energy systems and in the choice of products that we consume. Both the Scottish and UK Governments favour a policy of maximum economic recovery of oil and gas reserves, by extracting every drop that we can extract—but at what cost? A 2015 report in the journal Nature advised that one third of the world’s oil reserves and half of its natural gas reserves must be off-limits if we are to have any hope of meeting the temperature targets—

        • Stewart Stevenson (Banffshire and Buchan Coast) (SNP):

          Does Alison Johnstone accept that extracting oil and gas has no impact whatsoever on the climate? It is what we do with them after we have extracted them that matters. Until we have found substitutes for oil and gas in our chemical industries, we cannot throw away the economic opportunity that they provide.

        • Alison Johnstone:

          Stewart Stevenson will be aware that more than 90 per cent of the oil and gas that we currently extract is burned. I appreciate that there are other uses for them. I thank the member for his intervention.

          New fossil fuels must also be kept in the ground. We believe that Scotland needs, in primary legislation, an outright ban on fracking. It is frustrating that the Scottish Government is dragging its feet on setting out its preferred policy position. I note Claudia Beamish’s efforts in pursuing that matter outside of Government. Greens have fought fracking from the start, having lodged the first parliamentary motion on the subject in 2011. It is a serious risk to people’s health and environments that also drives up greenhouse gas emissions.

          In 2014, I led the first full debate in the chamber on fracking. After all the arguments and pressure in the five years since then, I am disappointed that we have not moved forward in developing primary legislation that would set a watertight ban on fracking in Scotland. The climate emergency will not abate if we recklessly pursue that new source of greenhouse gas emissions.

          Every Government must now consider a raft of policies to prevent climate breakdown. Policies could include provision of better buses and reliable rail options that are publicly funded and affordable; a green energy transition, so that our homes can be heated from renewable energy sources; divestment of all public money from the fossil fuel industry—

        • Liam Kerr (North East Scotland) (Con):

          I will follow up on Stewart Stevenson’s intervention. How does Alison Johnstone propose to replace the 135,000 jobs and £9.2 billion that the offshore oil and gas industry contributes to the economy?

        • Alison Johnstone:

          I can point Mr Kerr to a report on green jobs in the economy. It is based on sound research and shows that 200,000 jobs could be created in a green jobs transition. I will make sure that the member has sight of that report.

          We need to spend at least 10 per cent of our transport budget on active travel, place a levy on some single-use plastics and redirect Government support for business towards environmentally responsible companies. Small changes alone will not stop climate catastrophe. We must heed the warnings from the IPCC, the youth strikers and the people who are on the front line of climate change across the world.

          I move,

          That the Parliament recognises that the world is entering a climate emergency and supports the goal to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius; further supports the actions of the 1.4 million young people around the world, including in Scotland, who absented themselves from school to demand urgent and radical action; recognises the moral duty on the Parliament to act in the interests of young people and future generations, as well as communities on the front line of climate breakdown around the world, and calls on the Scottish Government to recognise that the policy of maximum economic recovery of oil and gas is incompatible with addressing the climate emergency, and to introduce a legislative ban on the extraction of unconventional oil and gas reserves.

          16:00  
        • The Minister for Rural Affairs and the Natural Environment (Mairi Gougeon):

          I start by saying that the Scottish Government recognises the urgency of the global climate challenge. Nobody in the chamber would dispute that part of the Green motion, because the urgency of the situation that we face is clear. We have had scientific reports from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, we have seen our young people go on strike and it is visible all around us in the extreme weather events and changes to our climate that are affecting us right here, right now.

          All of us will have seen the effects of climate change in our communities, but we have also seen them elsewhere across the world. Alison Johnstone mentioned the floods that have devastated parts of southern Malawi, affecting more than 740,000 people and leaving many dead, missing, injured or displaced. The current floods come just four years after the last devastating floods in Malawi.

          As Alison Johnstone also said, all too often it is those who have contributed the least to climate change who are hardest hit by it. That is why we have to take action to prevent even worse impacts of climate change in the future.

        • John Finnie (Highlands and Islands) (Green):

          Is one of the Scottish Government’s actions to continue to implore the UK Government to give further tax breaks to oil and gas companies?

        • Mairi Gougeon:

          I will come back to the point about oil and gas later in my speech.

          We are taking action through our Climate Change (Emissions Reduction Targets) (Scotland) Bill, which would see Scotland have the toughest climate change legislation anywhere in the world. The bill contains the most ambitious statutory targets for 2020, 2030 and 2040 of any country in the world, and it will mean that Scotland is carbon neutral by 2050. The scientific report that was published by the IPCC last October states the need for the world to be carbon neutral by 2050 and, with our bill, that is exactly where Scotland will be.

          We have been clear that we want to go further and achieve net zero emissions for all greenhouse gases as soon as possible. In light of the IPCC report, we asked our independent statutory advisers, the UK Committee on Climate Change, for updated advice on our new targets. That advice is due on 2 May and if it states that Scotland can now credibly set even more ambitious targets, that is exactly what the Scottish Government will do. If it advises that 90 per cent remains the limit of feasibility for now, the bill allows a net zero date to be set for all greenhouse gases.

          This is such an important issue that I am not surprised at the pressure for action that we have seen recently, particularly from our young people. A lot of that was inspired by Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg, who has been nominated for a Nobel peace prize for the work that she has done. Young people staged climate strikes across the world; as Alison Johnstone mentioned, we saw a huge turnout here at the Scottish Parliament just a couple of weeks ago.

          Yesterday, the First Minister met some of the students to discuss their concerns and the actions that we are taking. It is only right that they push us for strong action and that we take the time to listen to them. Although I was not able to attend the strike at Parliament a couple of weeks ago, I will be meeting students from Mearns academy in my constituency who attended on that day.

          I believe that we have taken the most ambitious, pragmatic and responsible approach possible. The issue will be discussed in more detail next week as we reach stage 1 consideration of the bill.

          It is vital that Scotland’s transition to carbon neutrality happens in a way that is fair to all. A just transition has not been achieved during previous major industrial shifts in Scotland, such as the move away from coal. That is why I take issue with the part of the Green motion that relates to the oil and gas sector. Suddenly ending production would have an absolutely massive impact on communities and jobs, especially in the north-east of Scotland and in constituencies such as mine, Angus North and Mearns, where thousands of people depend on the sector. Doing that would also not help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions globally, because we would become reliant on imports until we were able to reduce the demand for oil and gas in Scotland.

        • Andy Wightman (Lothian) (Green):

          The Green motion does not suggest that we switch off oil and gas production tomorrow. It

          “calls on the Scottish Government to recognise that the policy of maximum economic recovery of oil and gas is incompatible with addressing the climate emergency”.

        • Mairi Gougeon:

          My concern is with what the motion implies. We need to work with the sector, and I will come back to that point when I talk about the just transition commission and how we develop policies in the future.

          No one in Parliament would argue that we do not need to decarbonise our economy, but we need to do that responsibly and by working with the sector. The Scottish Government has established the just transition commission to advise on how the move towards carbon neutrality can be done in a way that is fair for all. A just transition is one that creates jobs through new sustainable industries, is good for communities and helps to tackle inequalities and poverty. In addition, the energy strategy sits in parallel with that work. There is a built-in desire to work with the oil and gas industry to support a transition, using the sector’s invaluable knowledge and expertise.

          With regard to the last part of the Green motion, the Scottish Government does not support onshore unconventional oil and gas development in Scotland. Scottish ministers are entering the final stages of the policy-making process on that important issue. The Government’s preferred policy position will be subject to a statutory strategic environmental assessment and to other assessments before any policy can be adopted. Those assessments are under way, and our finalised policy position will be confirmed and adopted as soon as possible after that process is completed.

          The Scottish Government welcomes many aspects of the Green Party’s motion on this vital global issue. We agree that urgent action is needed from all countries. I hope that the amendment that the Government has lodged sets out some of the ways in which we are rising to the climate challenges that we face, and that we can achieve some consensus on that across the chamber.

          I move amendment S5M-16555.4, to leave out from “further supports” to end and insert:

          “recognises the concerns expressed by the 1.4 million young people around the world, including in Scotland, who chose to strike in order to seek urgent and radical action to prevent the damaging effects of climate change; acknowledges the moral duty on the Parliament to act in the interests of young people and future generations, as well as communities on the front line of climate breakdown around the world; understands that the Just Transition Commission is presently exploring how to maximise the social and economic opportunities offered by moving to a carbon-neutral economy while ensuring no one is left behind; welcomes the Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Committee’s stage 1 report on the Climate Change (Emissions Reduction Targets) (Scotland) Bill, and notes the Scottish Government’s commitment to act on the advice of its statutory advisers, the Committee on Climate Change, should it conclude that an even higher target ambition is now credible.”

          16:07  
        • Maurice Golden (West Scotland) (Con):

          Today’s motion speaks of a “climate emergency”, which is exactly what we face. Last year’s IPCC report laid that out for all of us too see. Around the globe, millions of people would be subject to extreme weather such as droughts, and experts have said that the recent cyclone in east Africa was made worse by rising temperatures. In Scotland, there would be changing weather patterns and increased flood risks. Data from the RSPB and the British Ecological Society shows that our wildlife is already being impacted.

          Climate breakdown affects us all and, as the motion rightly states, we have a “moral duty” to act. Much successful action has already been taken by the UK and Scottish Governments. Scottish emissions have almost halved thanks to the Scottish Government’s decarbonising efforts in the waste sector, for example, and the electricity sector has benefited from a combined approach that has led to Scotland emerging as a world leader in renewables.

          The UK Government has committed to leading international efforts. Last year, the UK invested more than £160 million to help countries to deal with climate breakdown. Specific actions included direct support to Kenyan families who have been affected by droughts, and help for sub-Saharan farmers. That work is part of a wider plan to help developing countries and is backed up by almost £6 billion of investment. Almost 50 million people have already been helped, with 17 million people now having access to clean energy, which has saved more than 10 million tonnes of greenhouse gases.

        • Ross Greer (West Scotland) (Green):

          Does Maurice Golden accept the hypocrisy that is inherent in a Government providing money to other countries to mitigate the impacts of the climate crisis while providing many, many times more in subsidies to the very fossil fuel companies that are causing that crisis? Does he not understand how utterly incompatible those two things are?

        • Maurice Golden:

          No. I think that it is quite right for the UK Government to support work in developing countries to tackle climate change. When I was in Nepal last year, I saw the great work that not just charities but Governments can do, and I think that it is very important that we continue to work on that front. That said, I also think that it is important that we continue to invest in jobs in this country, and if the UK Government—and, indeed, the Scottish Government—can help to foster jobs in the oil and gas sector, we must all aspire to support that.

          At home, the UK Government is, like the Scottish Government here, investigating a deposit return system to reduce waste further and to improve environmental standards. Similarly, the UK and Scottish Governments are seeking updated advice from the UK Committee on Climate Change on a pathway to net zero and, as the cabinet secretary has indicated in the past and the minister has indicated again today, the Government will adopt a feasible path to net zero if the CCC identifies one. We welcome that, but we will seek to hold the Scottish Government to account to ensure that delivery is commensurate with any targets that are set.

          For example, the plan to phase out new petrol and diesel vehicles by 2032 needs further detail on delivery, particularly with regard to costs and infrastructure. Moreover, more needs to be done to decarbonise heating. The interim stretch targets were regarded by the CCC as wildly optimistic, which led to their being revised down. Progress can be made only through deliverable solutions, and the upcoming climate change bill must marry that ambition with details and measurable data to allow outcomes to be assessed. The Scottish Conservatives will continue to act where we must, as we did last year when we led Parliament to bring forward measures to tackle fuel poverty and reduce heat waste by a full decade.

          We will seek to work across the chamber to achieve practical solutions. For example, we have listened to the National Farmers Union Scotland’s call for support for farmers and have proposed offering direct capital and technical support to farmers for environmental practices focused on anaerobic digestion. Our electric arc furnace proposal would recycle steel, create jobs and reduce constraint payments, perhaps through utilising the 471 oil and gas installations in the North Sea, not to mention the 4.5 million tonnes of steel that they contain as well as the 10,000km pipelines under the sea. Finally, our plastic recycling centre would keep waste in Scotland to be used as a resource instead of exporting that value and the associated jobs to England or abroad.

          To those who want to see this circular economic future for Scotland, I say that we stand ready to work with them.

          I move amendment S5M-16555.1, to leave out from “further supports” to end and insert:

          “recognises the moral duty on the Parliament to act in the interests of young people and future generations, as well as communities suffering most from climate change around the world, and welcomes the support given to them to mitigate and adapt to the effects of climate change from both the UK and Scottish governments.”

          16:13  
        • Claudia Beamish (South Scotland) (Lab):

          I welcome the opportunity presented by the Green motion to celebrate the bravery of young people around the world in striking for their right to a clean and green future. To bring together 1.4 million young people is an incredible feat, and I am in awe of and inspired by Greta Thunberg, the Nobel peace prize nominee who started the movement. It is important that next week the Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Committee is welcoming climate strikers to a round-table meeting. Alison Johnstone set out the case for their four central demands, which we all need to listen to very carefully.

          A target of net zero emissions in Scotland by 2050 at the latest must be set in the Climate Change (Emissions Reduction Targets) (Scotland) Bill right now, because anything less would be an abdication of responsibility for the young of today and tomorrow. On that basis, we will not be able to support the amendments lodged by the Scottish Government or the Tories.

          At a recent climate strike in Glasgow, Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard said:

          “I’m here to show solidarity because the Labour Party wants not just action but a planned approach with leadership by Government to make sure we get to a net zero emissions position as quickly as possible”.

          He went on:

          “this is an issue for every single person in this city, across Scotland and the world. Because the people that will be hit hardest by climate change will be the poorest people with the most to lose. We are a Labour Party with an internationalist outlook. We’re protesting locally today but the message has got to be a global one.”

          The need for an internationalist sense of responsibility was highlighted to me poignantly and far too sadly by a recent BBC feature on Mongolia, where the temperature has already risen by 2.2°C. The feature contrasted the way in which climate change is limiting options for those in the Mongolian steppe and those in the capital, Ulaanbaatar. Tens of thousands of climate migrants are being forced to move from the countryside to the city, as vastly unpredictable weather patterns mean that their herding lifestyles are no longer guaranteed. However, in the capital, they face the worst air pollution in the world as a result of people having to burn raw coal. The air is apocalyptically thick with smog and is causing bronchitis issues. The programme showed a baby suffering from chronic bronchitis.

          Climate change is causing and will continue to cause a myriad of problems for us all, and it hits the poorest the hardest and first. With that in mind, like the Green Party, I can say with complete confidence that there must be no onshore fracking in Scotland. We cannot afford to pursue that new industry, and it would be shameful to do so. I am sure that members, including Scottish National Party colleagues, and the 60,000 plus people who responded to the multiple consultations are now baffled by the Government’s repeated attempts to slip out of a firm position. I realise that the situation is complex, but the new legal opinion given by Friends of the Earth’s counsel is that a legislative ban with the backing of the Parliament is the “surest way” to prevent fracking in Scotland and to be steadfast in the face of judicial review. It is now time for the Scottish Government to show leadership on the issue, and I am happy to work with it, the Green Party and the Lib Dems in trying to shape the approach to the issue.

          Labour will work for a green jobs revolution and for a radical transformation that supports public-ownership models, including municipal and co-operative action. Scottish Labour is determined that workers and affected communities will be supported by a statutory, long-term just transition commission as we move to a sustainable future across all sectors. Therefore, we will not support the Green motion, as it does not acknowledge that imperative in the context of the oil and gas sectors, although there is much in the motion of grave importance.

        • Mark Ruskell (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Green):

          Will the member give way on that point?

        • Claudia Beamish:

          I do not have time—I am sorry.

          Our amendment highlights the fact that the natural world is a vital helping hand in balancing the climate emissions that are most difficult to cut. According to studies that are highlighted in the report “Scotland’s Nature on Red Alert—Climate change impacts on biodiversity”, the ability of our soils, peatlands, forests and seas to sequester carbon is expected to peak around 2030, as a result of ecosystem disruption such as drought, disease and floods. We must address that, not least because it could decrease carbon storage.

          The aim of limiting the global temperature rise to below 1.5°C will take real leadership from Government. This is indeed an emergency of global proportions. Only with leadership and ambition from Government at all levels combined with equity and action across our economy and society will we move Scotland fairly to net zero emissions as fast as possible.

          I move amendment S5M-16555.3, to leave out from “, and calls on” to end and insert:

          “; calls on the Scottish Government to consider putting the Just Transition Commission on a statutory and fully funded footing to support workers in all sectors, including the oil and gas industry, and their communities; recognises the mandate from the public and the Parliament for a legislative ban on unconventional onshore oil and gas extraction; calls on the Scottish Government to help drive forward a green jobs revolution that will support the development of public and co-operative ownership models with the focus of delivering the energy that communities need, and understands the crucial need to address the climate change challenges impacting the natural world and ecosystems on which people depend.”

          16:18  
        • Liam McArthur (Orkney Islands) (LD):

          I thank Mark Ruskell for enabling this appetiser for next week’s stage 1 debate on the Climate Change (Emissions Reduction Targets) (Scotland) Bill. I am sorry that the Liberal Democrat amendment was not selected, although I appreciate the limitations in such a time-restricted debate. I will use the time available to touch on some of the points raised in the motion and the various amendments.

          Like others, I found the action that was taken earlier this month by young climate strikers impressive and inspiring. In my constituency, pupils at Westray community school, St Margaret’s Hope primary, Stromness academy and Kirkwall grammar school were all in touch and all made the same case. I look forward to meeting Rachel Evans from Kirkwall grammar school early next week.

          The clarity of the strikers’ message, the passion with which they deliver it and their determination to be heard have been striking, and it is incumbent on members of this Parliament to respond positively to that call for urgent and ambitious action.

          The main low-emission vehicle for such action will be the Climate Change (Emissions Reduction Targets) (Scotland) Bill. I look forward to taking part in the debate on the bill next week.

          I accept the minister’s point that we should await the revised advice of the UK Committee on Climate Change, but there is no getting around the fact that more ambitious and decisive action is required on heat, on transport, on agriculture and in other areas.

          There is certainly no need to open up another carbon front, in the form of fracking. The Government amendment conspicuously fails to make any mention of fracking, which is unfortunate, if perhaps not entirely surprising. After the First Minister’s categoric assurance in this chamber that, no ifs, no buts, fracking is banned in Scotland, it must surely have been excruciating for her most loyal colleagues to find that Government lawyers were marching into court to deny that a ban exists and say that such comments were political hot air. As a result, communities that are under threat from fracking developments are left confused and alarmed, which cannot be right.

        • The Minister for Energy, Connectivity and the Islands (Paul Wheelhouse):

          Does the member recognise that Lord Pentland, in his determination on the legal case, made reference to the fact that the process is still under way, which is why the claim was deemed premature, and referenced the Government’s right to express its intent in “robust terms”?

        • Liam McArthur:

          I hear what the minister is saying, but the incongruence between what the First Minister was saying in this chamber and what her lawyers were saying in court will not have escaped anyone who was watching the proceedings.

          The Green amendment gets into difficulty in relation to oil and gas, as other members said. There is widespread if not unanimous agreement on the need to decarbonise our economy, reduce our reliance on fossil fuels and move to more renewable energy production, but to think that the oil and gas sector will not continue to have an important role to play in our energy mix for decades to come is simply naive.

        • Patrick Harvie (Glasgow) (Green):

          Will the member give way?

        • Liam McArthur:

          No. I do not have time.

          There is a transition to be made, absolutely. Activity in that regard is already happening and can and should be accelerated. Moreover, the answers to many of the challenges that face the renewables sector as it embarks on the next phase of its development are likely to be found in the supply chains of the oil and gas sector.

          The determination of some members of the Green Party to shut down the North Sea, in a bid to demonstrate their environmental machismo, is reckless, unnecessary and counterproductive, not least given the need to bring people along in the just transition that is needed.

          Transition is needed in other areas, too. We need to be able to describe the changes that are needed in agriculture, transport and other sectors and how they can be achieved without destroying businesses and communities in the process.

          Earlier today, I attended a meeting that Mark Ruskell hosted, at which we heard from Josephine Zimba, a PhD student from Malawi who is studying climate justice at the University of Glasgow. It is right that we acknowledge that the worst effects of climate change are being felt by those who are least responsible for it. No single weather event should be attributed to climate change, but the patterns that we see are evidence that cannot be ignored. Malawi—a country that is very dear to my heart—has suffered desperately from a succession of droughts and floods and is suffering now, along with Zimbabwe and Mozambique, from the brutal effects of cyclone Idai. The international aspect of climate change needs to be reflected more in our legislation.

          I congratulate Mark Ruskell on his motion, but I cannot support it.

        • The Presiding Officer (Ken Macintosh):

          We turn to the open debate, with speeches of four minutes. We have no time in hand, I am afraid.

          16:23  
        • Gillian Martin (Aberdeenshire East) (SNP):

          We know that we have a global climate crisis. As a historical contributor to global warming, Scotland has a responsibility to be at the heart of how we mitigate its effects.

          I feel strongly that, in response to the climate strikes, we have a responsibility to open the Parliament’s doors a little wider and to involve the young people who took to the streets to make their voices heard, and I am glad that the Green motion specifically mentions those young people. Some of the climate strikers are coming into the Parliament on Tuesday next week to talk to the Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Committee about the kind of society that they believe Scotland has to be if we are to play our part in reducing emissions. Asking for change is the easy part; determining the pathways is the challenge, and it is our job to involve young people in those decisions. I have arranged for the climate strikers also to be in the public gallery as we debate stage 1 of the Climate Change (Emissions Reduction Targets) (Scotland) Bill.

          If the status quo is not an option as we try to reach the ambitious emissions targets that the Scottish Government has set, how should our way of life change? As we decide on radical changes—as we must do—how do we make sure that those changes do not spell economic disaster for communities and leave behind the people who can least afford to adapt, such as people in rural communities who have limited access to public transport and people who live in rented accommodation and have no power to decide how they heat their home?

          I have spoken many times before about the just transition issues in the latter part of the Green motion and the extraction of oil and gas. It is no secret that my area of the north-east of Scotland largely relies on the oil and gas industry and I do not think that it is hyperbolic to say that if we turned off the taps of the oil and gas industry, we would potentially destroy the north-east economy and many lives with it.

          It should be noted that the majority of jobs in oil and gas are not in production; they are in exploration. [Interruption.] I do not know whether someone wants to make an intervention or that was just a lot of noise. I see that the Greens are not making an intervention; they just made a noise, which put me off, so I will carry on.

          A couple of years ago, we had a taste of what might happen, when thousands of people lost their livelihoods because of the global oil price crash. I caught my breath today as figures came out from my area relating to the huge surges in food-bank use, as people have fallen out of work and fallen foul of the United Kingdom welfare system. The climate crisis is real, but the solution is not to shut off an entire sector; the solution is to use the sector’s products differently. We are talking about putting hundreds of thousands of livelihoods at stake, but also about workers with expertise who could lead us into a low-carbon, renewables and carbon capture and storage future if the transition is managed appropriately.

        • Andy Wightman:

          As I mentioned previously in an intervention on the minister’s speech, Mark Ruskell’s motion

          “calls on the Scottish Government to recognise that the policy of maximum economic recovery of oil and gas is incompatible with addressing the climate emergency”.

          Does Gillian Martin agree with that?

        • Gillian Martin:

          To be honest, if I had known that Andy Wightman was going to repeat what he has already said, I would not have wasted the valuable time that I have for my speech.

          The motion strongly hints at the destruction of the oil and gas industry, which I feel very strongly about. Basically, my family has been able to survive economically because of that industry. If over the past three years Andy Wightman had had to see affected constituents in front of him—some of whom have been suicidal about losing their jobs—he might take a different tone. It is no surprise to me that no Green member represents the north-east.

          The oil and gas industry has huge potential as a feedstock industry for practically every type of manufacturing. Crucially, natural gas is a key component of fuels that do not emit carbon, such as hydrogen, which could be the zero-emission replacement fuel for heavily emitting sectors such as heating and transport. Other major economies, such as Australia and Germany, are embracing hydrogen at pace.

          I want a low-carbon future, but I will not stand up and call for an end to the oil and gas industry, which supports the majority of my constituents, could provide the innovation, engineering expertise and raw materials for a transition to net zero emissions and still has a multitude of uses beyond heat and transport.

        • The Presiding Officer:

          Conclude, please.

        • Gillian Martin:

          If we are truly serious about playing our part in tackling climate change, we need to engage all sectors in contributing innovation around low-carbon alternatives. If we are to meet the climate challenge, we need to bring everyone with us. If we do not, we will fail—and we cannot afford to fail.

        • The Presiding Officer:

          I call Peter Chapman. I am afraid that no extra time will be given to him if he takes an intervention.

          16:28  
        • Peter Chapman (North East Scotland) (Con):

          Thank you for that advice, Presiding Officer.

          I welcome the opportunity to speak in this Green Party debate. I am certain that we all agree that climate change is one of the most important issues that we must tackle to protect future generations and the long-term sustainability of the communities that we represent. However, although we agree with aspects of Mark RuskeII’s motion, it does not offer the practical solutions that will ensure that our climate targets are met.

          It is important to stress that the Parliament is already legislating to tackle climate change and is, in many respects, world leading. Following the Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Committee’s stage 1 report, we will have another opportunity to debate the issue next week when we debate the Climate Change (Emissions Reduction Targets) (Scotland) Bill. The bill sets ambitious targets for greenhouse gas emission reductions, including increasing cuts for next year to 56 per cent and introducing a new target of 78 per cent for 2040. The bill also allows a target for net zero to be introduced at a later date if that is deemed possible.

          However, it is pointless to put targets in place if there is no realistic mechanism to achieve them. As an MSP who represents North East Scotland, I disagree with the section of Mark Ruskell’s motion that talks about oil and gas being incompatible with climate change. That completely fails to recognise the importance to the economy in Scotland of that industry, which contributed £9.2 billion in 2016 and supports 135,000 jobs. Although I recognise that our energy needs must adapt, we cannot simply ignore an industry that is vital to our energy security. It is forecast that at least two thirds of the United Kingdom’s primary energy needs will be met by oil and gas until at least 2035.

          On farming, I declare an interest, but I have always said that farming is part of the solution to climate change rather than part of the problem. It is largely our farmers who will plant the extra trees that we need to counter climate change. It is farmers who will put mitigation measures in place to restore peat bogs. It is on farmers’ land that wind turbines and solar panel farms are located. Cattle and sheep get a bad press but, again, the process of grazing grass and keeping it green and growing also helps to lock up carbon. Most of our sheep and cattle are kept on ground that can only grow grass, so those areas are never going to be capable of growing the cereals and beans that vegans would have us survive on. Cereal farmers can become much more efficient in their use of fertiliser, lime and chemicals by using global positioning system technology. Putting in the right inputs in the right quantity and in the right place is good for the environment and good for profits.

          NFUS president Andrew McCornick has said:

          “Reducing emissions in farming will not be easy or immediate.”

          Therefore, the Government has a key role in facilitating and supporting the industry in its efforts to reduce emissions, and that must be part of the new support measures after Brexit. It is clear that our farmers simply do not have the information, access to new technologies or Government support to assist in such measures to tackle climate change, but if they are given that support and guidance, I am convinced that they will play their part in full.

          Educating people about climate change is important and I believe that our children would be better placed to learn about climate change by being inside the classroom rather than outwith it. However, I absolutely recognise why they are concerned and take the matter seriously.

          The opportunity to debate this subject today has been welcome, but we must look at practical ways of tackling the problem, which is why I cannot vote for the Green motion at decision time.

          16:32  
        • Claire Baker (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Lab):

          This afternoon’s welcome debate provides an opportunity to offer support and solidarity to people around the world who are currently experiencing the awful impact of natural disasters that are occurring within the context of climate change. It enables us to recognise the strength of feeling among Scotland’s young people and young people across the world, who are protesting at the failure of global leaders to take strong action to halt climate change. It also gives us an opportunity to consider how we in Scotland can contribute to international efforts, to recognise the impact of our activity and to consider how we are going to minimise that.

          The debate encapsulates one of the greatest challenges of modern times. The impact of climate change entrenches the world’s inequalities, as those countries and people who have done the least to cause climate change are suffering the worst effects of it. We are fortunate in Scotland, in that we have already had our industrial revolution and have received all the benefits of the modern society that came from that change. Our economic growth benefited—and, it can be argued, still benefits—from a model of development that is now hurting developing countries in Africa, Asia and South America. That is just one of the compelling reasons why we have a strong moral obligation to take action now, to set strong targets that resonate across the world and to play our part in showing that a different path is possible.

          I thank Stop Climate Chaos, Christian Aid and Amnesty International for their briefings for the debate. Last April, I hosted a reception for faith leaders, at which they all came together to make it clear that addressing climate change and delivering climate justice for the world’s poorest people are our shared responsibility. The Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009 is important, in that it sets binding targets for greenhouse gas emissions. As Claudia Beamish set out, Labour will push for a target of net zero emissions by 2050 at the latest and an interim target of a 77 per cent reduction in emissions by 2030.

          Scotland has been ambitious in target setting and we can provide leadership. We need international action and our ambition has been recognised in the European arena. However, we must do more to keep on track to achieve our targets. Interim targets are important in creating momentum and embedding change in behaviours; long-term targets are at risk of being dependent on hopes that some new technology will come along to solve the problems in energy, transport or agriculture.

          We have made progress and we see the commitment of the many individuals and groups across Scotland who are working hard to promote behavioural change. However, we need more investment from Governments to support and promote change at a local level.

          In recent weeks, young people have sent out a powerful message. Their open letter says:

          “We finally need to treat the climate crisis as a crisis.”

          They are set to inherit a world that is experiencing huge upheaval and the realities of food shortages, climate refugees and the degradation of biodiversity and marine life—all part of the negative impact of increased temperatures. To prevent that, we need global effort, which is why the Paris climate agreement is so important and why pressure must be applied to all signatories to deliver on that promise.

          So far this afternoon, we have heard lots of agreement in the chamber that something must be done, but that is the easy bit. The harder bit is deciding how we, as a country, will make significant changes that work in the interests of the world and not just our own interests. For many reasons, I have opposed the development of unconventional onshore oil and gas extraction. The area that I represent in Parliament would be prime land for that type of development and I have—many times—set out my concerns about the environmental impact; safety, particularly in relation to water quality; and the risk of such activity, given the population density of Fife. I have also set out the wider argument about pursuing another fossil fuel when we need to move towards a reduction in our emissions from energy. That is why I am disappointed in the further delays to finding a permanent resolution.

          Scotland has benefited from offshore oil and gas extraction, but times are changing for the industry. The reserves that we still have are more difficult to locate and extract, meaning less revenue for the return. However, as someone who grew up in what became an ex-mining village, I know the impact that industrial change has on communities. That is why we are calling for the just transition commission to be given a greater role in managing the change that we need in our energy policy. The next generation will face significant challenges. We must do all that we can to support them in creating their future society.

          16:36  
        • Stewart Stevenson (Banffshire and Buchan Coast) (SNP):

          This 70-minute debate and the number of people who are here in the chamber mean that we, as human beings, will have emitted approximately 1,000 litres of carbon dioxide. All human activity has a price in climate terms, so it is important that we unite in seeking to deal with it.

          Opinions on the subject are pretty uniform in saying that there is a problem. Taking the Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009 through Parliament as Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Climate Change 10 years ago fundamentally changed my attitude to life and everything.

          Greta Thunberg is the flag bearer for the young generation, but she does not stand alone. Even an unlikely suspect, the United States Central Intelligence Agency, in its “Statement for the Record: 2019 Worldwide Threat Assessment of the US Intelligence Community”, makes it clear that

          “Climate hazards such as extreme weather ... are intensifying, threatening infrastructure, health, and water and food security. Irreversible damage to ecosystems and habitats will undermine the economic benefits they provide, worsened by air, soil, water, and marine pollution.”

          There is, therefore, the broadest possible spectrum of people who are for tackling the agenda, and we should respect that.

          However, it also important that we do not imagine that all seven greenhouse gases must come down to zero. The economics and prioritisation that we must bring to the agenda are important. We must tackle the easy-to-reach low-hanging fruit first, and ensure that every pound that we spend delivers the maximum possible benefit.

          Farming suffers in particular because of the way that the emissions inventory works. Farming gets no numerical benefit for its activity in forestry, for example, or for the substantial renewable energy that comes from wind farms on farmers’ fields. That is elsewhere in the inventory and that is fair enough. Peter Chapman is correct that farmers are part of the solution, so we should not talk ourselves into thinking that there is a major crisis in farming.

          However, the IPCC made it clear in its report in October that there is a real and pressing crisis. It talked about the Arctic having no ice whatsoever: if all the ice in the world were to melt, the world’s seas would rise by 60 metres. Every single coastal town and city on the planet would be inundated. It is that serious.

          However, lesser inundations come from lesser changes in the climate. 10 per cent of the ice melting is within practical consideration and would raise the seas by between 6m and 8m, which would cause many cities around the world to suffer. That is an economic problem, for sure, but it is also a real human problem. That is why it is right and proper that the Greens have brought the debate for us today.

          Liam Kirkaldy in Holyrood magazine highlights some of the practical effects by talking about the effect of cyclone Idai on Beira, which is a city of half a million people. Every building in the city has been affected by the cyclone. That is not in and of itself part of the climate change problem, but it is the sort of thing that is happening with increasing frequency as the climate changes.

          As we progress the Climate Change (Emissions Reduction Targets) (Scotland) Bill, it is important that we have vigorous debates such as today’s, but that we also decide unanimously, at the end of the day, on a programme for action. We might have to compromise to get to that, but if we unite we can deal with the issue.

        • The Presiding Officer:

          We move to winding-up speeches.

          16:41  
        • Alex Rowley (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Lab):

          Stewart Stevenson has very eloquently set out the extent of the problem, why we need to take action and, perhaps, why 1.4 million young people across the world highlighted it by taking strike action the other week. Our grandchildren and their children will look back and ask why nobody did anything when they were told what the problems were. On that, there is a consensus in the chamber.

          Stewart Stevenson also talked about taking the low-hanging fruit. I believe that we have done that in Scotland to an extent and, in some ways, by accident. For example, the closure of Longannet power station ensured that we met some of the targets that were set in the early days by Stewart Stevenson, when he was the climate change minister. However, now we come to the difficult bit, and I am not convinced that we are in the best place to do it, even with the Government’s best intentions.

          I totally understand Gillian Martin’s sentiments and her strength of feeling about protecting jobs in her area and the North Sea. We are failing in terms of the just transition. There is a lot of talk about it, but we should be doing so much better in a number of areas.

          I was delighted to read about North Uist in The Press and Journal this morning, and to learn that the construction phase of the community wind project there is being entered. What potential has been lost, however: we should have community wind and renewables projects up and down Scotland, in the ownership of communities, the public sector and councils. There has been a failure of ambition and vision in that specific matter.

          Maurice Golden said that we are world leaders in renewables. I will quote the former UK energy minister, Brian Wilson, who said:

          “As the windiest country in Europe, we should be angry and embarrassed that every single turbine around us has been imported.”

          When is the minister going to introduce a manufacturing strategy for Scotland so that we can get the jobs in Scotland? I met him and raised my concerns about Burntisland Fabrications. Contracts are now being awarded to companies in Belgium, Spain and the United Arab Emirates: we struggle to have contracts being awarded to companies here in Scotland.

          We talk a good game about the just transition, but unless we see the real investment that is needed and the jobs that would come from it, workers in the North Sea and other areas will not be convinced. Although I support the principle behind the Green’s motion, we have to recognise that, sitting alongside that, the jobs must come. The Government has to do more—it has to show more ambition and it needs to produce more jobs.

          Where are we in relation to the commitment to reduce the sale of petrol and diesel cars by 2032? I am not sure that the infrastructure for that is being put in place. We might not be building the electric cars or developing their batteries, but can we develop the software? I see a failure of strategy. We must have a strategy, and there has to be a just transition that protects workers jobs.

          16:45  
        • John Scott (Ayr) (Con):

          I declare an interest as a farmer, a landowner and a member of NFU Scotland.

          I welcome the debate because, today, Parliament is united: all members who have spoken are in agreement about the need to tackle climate change and rising global temperatures.

          As a member of the Environment, Climate and Land Reform Committee, I have heard all the evidence in recent months relating to rising global temperatures and the need for action to reduce or stop that temperature rise as soon as possible.

          Last October, we again heard from the IPCC about the need for urgent action by 2030—within the next 11 years. Alison Johnstone and Stewart Stevenson referred to the threat of coastal inundation from rising sea levels.

          We know that we need to act, so the question is in what way and how quickly. Parliament should be encouraged by the fact that many young people across Scotland, the UK and the world rightly want politicians to provide solutions to the problem, which is an issue that Mairi Gougeon mentioned.

          However, it might be that their generation is the first generation to recognise the problems of temperature rise and climate change, but the last generation that will be able to stop it, if Stewart Stevenson’s apocalyptic warnings come true. That is a big responsibility, and its resolution will affect every man, woman and child in Scotland, as we all begin to take individual responsibility for keeping global temperature rises to a minimum.

          As Claire Baker said, behavioural change will become a new fact of life to which we will all have to aspire. For most of us, that will require lifestyle change. Remarkably, it might well be that our children and grandchildren buy in most quickly to the need for behavioural change and show their parents and grandparents the way forward. For example, it might be children and young people who say to their parents that they want to walk to school or take the bus rather than be driven to school in noxious-gas producing vehicles.

          Preventative spend must become the order of the day, particularly where more than one outcome can be delivered from the money that is spent. For example, ensuring that all homes have an energy performance certificate band C rating or better by 2030 would deliver climate change benefits and physical and mental health benefits. Encouraging bus use, cycling and walking delivers reductions in greenhouse gases and simultaneously leads to health benefits from taking more exercise.

          I turn to rural land use. It is self-evident that we have to encourage land managers, land users and farmers all to play their parts. The farmers and land managers to whom I speak are certainly keen to do that. First, farming and agriculture, which Liam McArthur mentioned, have to be understood and they must be part of the solution, rather than agriculture being portrayed as a sector that is not prepared to put its shoulder to the wheel.

          That will begin if we take a different approach to measuring the optional good works that farmers can do—and already do—to act in an environmentally responsible way. A whole-farm or whole-estate approach must be taken and credit given to farmers and landowners for planting trees to help to meet Government planting targets and to deliver timber and carbon sequestration, which Peter Chapman mentioned.

          Credit must also be given to agriculture for moorland and peatland restoration, better soil management techniques, better livestock husbandry techniques and producing food, as Stewart Stevenson drew attention to.

          Notwithstanding the very stark and real concerns about the need to address climate change, there are many opportunities that must be grasped with both hands to keep temperature rises to a minimum and to deliver better transport services, better landscape protection and enhancement, warmer homes and an increasing standard of living for us all. The Conservatives are willing to play their part in that future, and await the UK Climate Change Committee’s advice, which will perhaps show us more about how to do that.

          16:50  
        • The Minister for Energy, Connectivity and the Islands (Paul Wheelhouse):

          The late governor of New York Mario Cuomo once said:

          “You campaign in poetry. You govern in prose.”

          It is my role to be constrained by prose, and perhaps time, today.

          Climate change is a subject on which people are rightly impassioned, and it moves enlightened individuals such as Greta Thunberg and indeed Stewart Stevenson, who took the previous climate change bill through Parliament, to make powerful calls for action. We all owe a great deal to all those who have rung the alarm bell and inspired action, both on climate change and, as Alison Johnstone said, on climate justice.

          The Government, in responding to the urgency of the matter, has a duty to do so responsibly but also to chart a credible course to meet our legal responsibilities, including environmental ones; ensure a well-managed transition and keep Scotland’s lights on; and ensure that we have secure, affordable energy for our heating and transport systems.

          Scotland should continue to be a world leader on tackling climate change—I believe that we all agree on that. Scotland has halved its emissions since 1990 and some 70 per cent of our electricity demand can now be met from renewable sources, despite key levers being outwith our control. I look forward to Mr Rowley supporting the devolution of energy policy to the Scottish Parliament. Scotland also has a rapidly expanding network of publicly funded electric vehicle charging points.

        • Claudia Beamish:

          Does the minister not agree that the structural issues across the UK can be addressed very well and that, with a Labour Government in the UK, that can happen? We are determined to have a green jobs revolution.

        • Paul Wheelhouse:

          I do not doubt the member’s sincerity, but I have doubts about whether there will be a Labour Government any time soon, I am afraid.

          However, we know that there are hard yards ahead on our journey to net zero emissions. We support those parts of the motion that recognise the urgency of the call to action on climate change, and the Government is meeting the urgency of the challenge head on. Our Climate Change (Emissions Reduction Targets) (Scotland) Bill makes us one of the first countries to propose strengthened statutory targets in response to the Paris agreement. They are set to be the most ambitious targets of any country in the world for 2020 and 2030, as well as meaning that Scotland will be carbon neutral by 2050. If our independent expert advisers and the Committee on Climate Change advise that there are credible pathways for Scotland to have even higher ambition, we will act on that advice.

          The challenge for Scotland, as for many European nations, is that, despite great progress on renewable electricity, we remain 75 per reliant on hydrocarbons for our overall energy needs, and we cannot turn off that reliance overnight. The IPCC’s special report recognises that both oil and natural gas will continue to play a significant role in the global energy mix to 2050.

          Scotland’s energy strategy is credible and consistent with our existing climate targets and we plan to update it to reflect the revised targets in the bill. The strategy sets out a clear role for the oil and gas sector and supply chain in maintaining secure domestic sources of energy during the transition but also in transferring skills and knowledge into renewables and areas such as carbon capture, utilisation and storage and perhaps hydrogen, as mentioned by Gillian Martin. The oil and gas sector, which has a 110,000-strong Scottish workforce and supply chain, is a key component of our energy system and economy and it will play a positive role in supporting the global low-carbon transition. Key industry voices have endorsed our energy strategy and are already embracing alternative energy.

          North Sea oil and gas production is highly regulated and it has some of the most advanced and comparatively least polluting methods in the world. Maintaining efficient domestic production therefore potentially results in lower net global emissions than in a scenario where we become dependent on hydrocarbon imports.

          The Scottish Government’s preferred policy position is that it does not support unconventional oil and gas development in Scotland, and we remain committed to transparency and public engagement on this important issue. We are entering the final stages of the policy-making process. We have repeatedly set out that our preferred policy position will be subject to a strategic environmental assessment and a business and regulatory impact assessment before any policy is adopted. The Parliament debated and endorsed that position on 24 October 2017.

        • Claudia Beamish:

          Will the minister take another very short intervention?

        • Paul Wheelhouse:

          I do not have time, I am afraid.

          We consulted on the SEA environmental report, the preferred policy position and the partial BRIA over eight weeks in late 2018, and the responses that we received led us to form the view that it would be helpful to provide some further clarification on a number of points that were raised in response to the consultation documents. As we set out yesterday, we will therefore publish an addendum to the 2018 consultation documents, inviting further responses. We anticipate that the addendum and related documents will be published for an eight-week consultation following the Easter recess and the responses will then be analysed. Our final policy on unconventional oil and gas will be adopted as soon as possible after that process is completed.

          I am conscious of the strongly held views on all sides of this important issue and of the calls from some colleagues in the chamber for a legislative ban on unconventional oil and gas. Our view is that new legislation is not necessary to control unconventional oil and gas in Scotland. The adoption of a strong policy will provide appropriate and proportionate means to regulate such development. We will defer a decision on any planning application that comes before us until the policy-making process is completed.

          I will emphasise two points. First, the practical effect of the moratorium that was introduced by the Government in 2015 is that no fracking or other unconventional oil and gas activity can take place in Scotland at this time. Secondly, the alternative approaches would also require statutory processes to be completed and to operate to appropriate timescales. Our approach is the only one that will allow us to move at pace towards confirming and adopting a robust final policy on unconventional oil and gas. I support the Government’s amendment today.

        • The Presiding Officer:

          I call Mark Ruskell to conclude the debate. You may go beyond 5 o’clock, as the minister and a few other members have taken a few extra moments.

          16:55  
        • Mark Ruskell (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Green):

          That is excellent. Thank you, Presiding Officer.

          I will conclude the debate with remarks about three areas that we have debated this afternoon: one in which there is strong consensus; another in which Parliament has a majority view and we need to push the Government over the line; and an area in which we do not yet have consensus but hope springs eternal that we will get the rest of the chamber on board with the Greens in the years to come.

          The strong consensus is on the importance of limiting global temperature increases to 1.5°C. It is significant that every amendment and the motion commit us to the target of limiting temperature increases to 1.5°C, which goes beyond the Paris agreement to peg us to 2°C with a global commitment to pursue a limit of 1.5°C. The motion goes beyond that, and I hope that that can now be reflected in the Climate Change (Emissions Reduction Targets) (Scotland) bill at stage 2.

          Those targets and numbers mean very little to communities out there that are suffering the impact of climate change. At lunch time today, we heard from a very eloquent young Malawian woman, Josephine Zimba, who spoke passionately.

        • The Presiding Officer:

          One second, Mr Ruskell. I ask members to keep the conversations down.

        • Mark Ruskell:

          Josephine Zimba spoke passionately about the impact of climate change in a world that is at only 0.7°C of global warming. She spoke about the rural communities that have hard choices to make about what they use their scarce water resources for, and the impact on the economy of families who have to choose how they can raise enough money from growing tomatoes and other products to send their children to school. Communities around the world are facing hard choices because of this climate crisis—Stewart Stevenson, Alison Johnstone and many other members pointed to that reality. The reality that we need to deal with is keeping the world to 1.5°C and the choices that we need to make for that to happen.

          What I think we have a majority in the Parliament for is to support the Government to deliver a legally watertight ban on fracking. I believe that the legal opinion that was produced by Friends of the Earth Scotland at the weekend is a game changer. It opens up the possibility of a legal ban on fracking, either through the climate change bill or through Claudia Beamish’s member’s bill. We respect the work that she has done on that, and she will have the backing of the Greens for whatever she chooses to do with her bill. It remains an option that is on the table and it needs to be taken seriously.

          We need that legally watertight ban. My concern, which I ask the minister to consider, is that the longer we have a temporary moratorium, the more it will be open to legal challenge. There is uncertainty around it. Last year, the Scottish Government granted an extension of exploration licences to the likes of Ineos. Those will end in June this year, and I ask what the Government response will be—will it be another extension to the licences? There were great concerns from communities at the time. Also, the planning decision on the application for coal-bed methane development at Airth still lies undetermined, despite being lodged in 2012; that is also potentially legally challengeable. We need to help to get the Government over the line on a legally watertight ban. I am open to discussion with the minister, as I am sure are members of other parties, about the progress, or the lack of it, that the Government has made and about how we can ensure that we get a legally watertight ban.

          There is perhaps less consensus in the chamber on the last issue that I will talk about briefly: the future of North Sea oil and gas. It is very disappointing that all parties in the chamber have sought in their amendments to delete the line in the Green motion about “maximum economic recovery”. As much as I have a huge amount of respect for Gillian Martin, Liam McArthur and others, I think that there is an element of scaremongering here. Nobody is saying that the North Sea oil and gas industry needs to shut tomorrow. However, there is an uncomfortable truth here that we need to acknowledge, which is that the majority of fossil fuels need to be left in the ground. We cannot have an energy policy that is based on simply having more of everything.

          Globally, real leadership on the issue comes from New Zealand. The New Zealand Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, last year stated that the policy of the New Zealand Government would be that no further oil and gas exploration permits would be granted. That is something that the New Zealand Government did not do lightly—the country is an oil and gas producer and it has regions such as Taranaki, which I am sure that Gillian Martin would recognise as being similar—

        • Liam Kerr:

          Will the member take an intervention?

        • Mark Ruskell:

          I do not have time, unfortunately. Gillian Martin would recognise Taranaki as being similar to Aberdeenshire. The New Zealand economy is building itself up on oil and gas, but it recognises that it has to make a transition.

          I will finish with the words of the New Zealand Prime Minister. She said:

          “Transitions have to start somewhere and unless we make decisions today that will essentially take effect in 30 or more years’ time, we run the risk of acting too late and causing abrupt shocks to communities and our country.”

          New Zealand has taken the decision not to grant any more exploration licences precisely because it is worried about job certainty and security of energy supplies and, of course, it is worried about climate change. It is pursuing the reindustrialisation that Alex Rowley and other members talked about. We need to learn the lessons from the past, we need to learn the lessons from the way we treated the Longannet workforce and we need to prepare for the transition.

          Having a backstop and having a policy that recognises that maximum economic recovery is not compatible with climate change has to be the starting point. It has to be the starting point for the transition to a low-carbon economy of the future and the jobs that go with it.

      • Business Motion
        • The Presiding Officer (Ken Macintosh):

          The next item of business is consideration of business motion S5M-16579, in the name of Graeme Dey, on behalf of the Parliamentary Bureau, setting out a business programme.

          Motion moved,

          That the Parliament agrees—

          (a) the following programme of business—

          Tuesday 2 April 2019

          2.00 pm Time for Reflection

          followed by Parliamentary Bureau Motions

          followed by Topical Questions (if selected)

          followed by Stage 1 Debate: Climate Change (Emissions Reduction Targets) (Scotland) Bill 

          followed by Standards Procedures and Public Appointments Committee Debate – Changes to Code of Conduct Rule

          followed by Committee Announcements

          followed by Business Motions

          followed by Parliamentary Bureau Motions

          5.00 pm Decision Time

          followed by Members’ Business

          Wednesday 3 April 2019

          2.00 pm Parliamentary Bureau Motions

          2.00 pm Portfolio Questions:
          Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform;
          Rural Economy

          followed by Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party Business

          followed by Business Motions

          followed by Parliamentary Bureau Motions

          5.00 pm Decision Time

          followed by Members’ Business

          Thursday 4 April 2019

          11.40 am Parliamentary Bureau Motions

          11.40 am General Questions

          12.00 pm First Minister's Questions

          followed by Members’ Business

          2.30 pm Parliamentary Bureau Motions

          2.30 pm Portfolio Questions:
          Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity

          followed by Stage 1 Debate: Transport (Scotland) Bill

          followed by Financial Resolution: Transport (Scotland) Bill

          followed by Parliamentary Bureau Motions

          5.00 pm Decision Time

          Tuesday 23 April 2019

          2.00 pm Time for Reflection

          followed by Parliamentary Bureau Motions

          followed by Topical Questions (if selected)

          followed by Social Security Committee Debate: In Work Poverty

          followed by Committee Announcements

          followed by Business Motions

          followed by Parliamentary Bureau Motions

          5.00 pm Decision Time

          followed by Members’ Business

          Wednesday 24 April 2019

          2.00 pm Parliamentary Bureau Motions

          2.00 pm Portfolio Questions:
          Justice and the Law Officers;
          Government Business and Constitutional Relations

          followed by Scottish Government Business

          followed by Business Motions

          followed by Parliamentary Bureau Motions

          5.00 pm Decision Time

          followed by Members’ Business

          Thursday 25 April 2019

          11.40 am Parliamentary Bureau Motions

          11.40 am General Questions

          12.00 pm First Minister's Questions

          followed by Members’ Business

          2.30 pm Parliamentary Bureau Motions

          2.30 pm Portfolio Questions:
          Culture, Tourism and External Affairs

          followed by Final stage: Hutchesons’ Hospital Transfer and Dissolution (Scotland) Bill

          followed by Scottish Government Debate

          5.00 pm Decision Time

          (b) that, in relation to any debate on a business motion setting out a business programme taken on Wednesday 3 April 2019, the second sentence of rule 8.11.3 is suspended and replaced with “Any Member may speak on the motion at the discretion of the Presiding Officer”;

          (c) that, in relation to First Minister’s Questions on Thursday 4 April 2019, in rule 13.6.2, insert at end “and may provide an opportunity for Party Leaders or their representatives to question the First Minister”; and

          (d) that, for the purposes of Portfolio Questions in the week beginning 1 April 2019, in rule 13.7.3, after the word “except” the words “to the extent to which the Presiding Officer considers that the questions are on the same or similar subject matter or” are inserted.—[Graeme Dey]

          Motion agreed to.

      • Parliamentary Bureau Motions
        • The Presiding Officer (Ken Macintosh):

          The next item is consideration of six Parliamentary Bureau motions, S5M-16580 to S5M-16585, on the approval of Scottish statutory instruments.

          Motions moved,

          That the Parliament agrees that the Forestry and Land Management (Scotland) Act 2018 (Consequential Amendments) Regulations 2019 [draft] be approved.

          That the Parliament agrees that the Services of Lawyers and Lawyer’s Practice (EU Exit) (Scotland) (Amendment etc.) Regulations 2019 [draft] be approved.

          That the Parliament agrees that the Plant Health (EU Exit) (Scotland) (Amendment etc.) Regulations 2019 [draft] be approved.

          That the Parliament agrees that the Forestry (Exemptions) (Scotland) Regulations 2019 [draft] be approved.

          That the Parliament agrees that the Forestry (EU Exit) (Scotland) (Amendment etc.) Regulations 2019 [draft] be approved.

          That the Parliament agrees that the Cross-border Health Care (EU Exit) (Scotland) (Amendment etc.) Regulations 2019 [draft] be approved.—[Graeme Dey]

      • Point of Order
        • Patrick Harvie (Glasgow) (Green):

          On a point of order, Presiding Officer. Rule 7.3.1 of the standing orders requires members to conduct themselves in a courteous and respectful manner. As part of the respect that we are asked to show to one another, you and the Deputy Presiding Officers regularly remind us that members who have taken part in debates should be in the chamber for the closing speeches. Is it in keeping with that role, and in keeping with the spirit in which you ask us to show that respect by being present for closing speeches, for a member on the front bench to turn their back on the chamber throughout almost the entirety of a closing speech? Does that show the appropriate respect and is it in keeping with that role?

        • The Presiding Officer (Ken Macintosh):

          I thank Mr Harvie for advance notice of the point of order. Mr Harvie is right: our standing orders, our code of conduct and Presiding Officer’s guidance all emphasise the importance of courtesy and respect being shown by members to one another at all times. I am not aware of whether the member to whom Mr Harvie refers was being deliberately discourteous, but I suggest that all members bear in mind that turning your back on the chair is certainly discourteous, and I recommend that all members be aware of whether their body language is signalling discourtesy to other members.

          I reviewed the earlier point of order and I believe that Mr Arthur was making a political point. The point about the admissibility of amendments was dealt with by the Presiding Officer who was in the chair at the time.

           

      • Decision Time
        • The Presiding Officer (Ken Macintosh):

          The first question is, that amendment S5M-16554.4, in the name of Fiona Hyslop, which seeks to amend motion S5M-16554, in the name of Patrick Harvie, on revoking article 50, be agreed to. Are we agreed?

          Members: No.

        • The Presiding Officer:

          There will be a division.

          For

          Adam, George (Paisley) (SNP)
          Adamson, Clare (Motherwell and Wishaw) (SNP)
          Allan, Alasdair (Na h-Eileanan an Iar) (SNP)
          Arthur, Tom (Renfrewshire South) (SNP)
          Baillie, Jackie (Dumbarton) (Lab)
          Baker, Claire (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Lab)
          Beamish, Claudia (South Scotland) (Lab)
          Beattie, Colin (Midlothian North and Musselburgh) (SNP)
          Bibby, Neil (West Scotland) (Lab)
          Brown, Keith (Clackmannanshire and Dunblane) (SNP)
          Campbell, Aileen (Clydesdale) (SNP)
          Coffey, Willie (Kilmarnock and Irvine Valley) (SNP)
          Cole-Hamilton, Alex (Edinburgh Western) (LD)
          Constance, Angela (Almond Valley) (SNP)
          Crawford, Bruce (Stirling) (SNP)
          Cunningham, Roseanna (Perthshire South and Kinross-shire) (SNP)
          Denham, Ash (Edinburgh Eastern) (SNP)
          Dey, Graeme (Angus South) (SNP)
          Doris, Bob (Glasgow Maryhill and Springburn) (SNP)
          Dornan, James (Glasgow Cathcart) (SNP)
          Dugdale, Kezia (Lothian) (Lab)
          Ewing, Annabelle (Cowdenbeath) (SNP)
          Ewing, Fergus (Inverness and Nairn) (SNP)
          Fabiani, Linda (East Kilbride) (SNP)
          Fee, Mary (West Scotland) (Lab)
          Findlay, Neil (Lothian) (Lab)
          Finnie, John (Highlands and Islands) (Green)
          FitzPatrick, Joe (Dundee City West) (SNP)
          Forbes, Kate (Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch) (SNP)
          Freeman, Jeane (Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley) (SNP)
          Gibson, Kenneth (Cunninghame North) (SNP)
          Gilruth, Jenny (Mid Fife and Glenrothes) (SNP)
          Gougeon, Mairi (Angus North and Mearns) (SNP)
          Grahame, Christine (Midlothian South, Tweeddale and Lauderdale) (SNP)
          Grant, Rhoda (Highlands and Islands) (Lab)
          Gray, Iain (East Lothian) (Lab)
          Greer, Ross (West Scotland) (Green)
          Griffin, Mark (Central Scotland) (Lab)
          Harper, Emma (South Scotland) (SNP)
          Harvie, Patrick (Glasgow) (Green)
          Haughey, Clare (Rutherglen) (SNP)
          Hepburn, Jamie (Cumbernauld and Kilsyth) (SNP)
          Hyslop, Fiona (Linlithgow) (SNP)
          Johnson, Daniel (Edinburgh Southern) (Lab)
          Johnstone, Alison (Lothian) (Green)
          Kelly, James (Glasgow) (Lab)
          Kidd, Bill (Glasgow Anniesland) (SNP)
          Lamont, Johann (Glasgow) (Lab)
          Lennon, Monica (Central Scotland) (Lab)
          Lochhead, Richard (Moray) (SNP)
          Lyle, Richard (Uddingston and Bellshill) (SNP)
          MacDonald, Angus (Falkirk East) (SNP)
          Macdonald, Lewis (North East Scotland) (Lab)
          MacGregor, Fulton (Coatbridge and Chryston) (SNP)
          Mackay, Derek (Renfrewshire North and West) (SNP)
          Mackay, Rona (Strathkelvin and Bearsden) (SNP)
          Maguire, Ruth (Cunninghame South) (SNP)
          Marra, Jenny (North East Scotland) (Lab)
          Martin, Gillian (Aberdeenshire East) (SNP)
          Mason, John (Glasgow Shettleston) (SNP)
          Matheson, Michael (Falkirk West) (SNP)
          McAlpine, Joan (South Scotland) (SNP)
          McArthur, Liam (Orkney Islands) (LD)
          McDonald, Mark (Aberdeen Donside) (Ind)
          McKee, Ivan (Glasgow Provan) (SNP)
          McKelvie, Christina (Hamilton, Larkhall and Stonehouse) (SNP)
          McMillan, Stuart (Greenock and Inverclyde) (SNP)
          McNeill, Pauline (Glasgow) (Lab)
          Paterson, Gil (Clydebank and Milngavie) (SNP)
          Rennie, Willie (North East Fife) (LD)
          Robison, Shona (Dundee City East) (SNP)
          Ross, Gail (Caithness, Sutherland and Ross) (SNP)
          Rowley, Alex (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Lab)
          Rumbles, Mike (North East Scotland) (LD)
          Ruskell, Mark (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Green)
          Sarwar, Anas (Glasgow) (Lab)
          Scott, Tavish (Shetland Islands) (LD)
          Smyth, Colin (South Scotland) (Lab)
          Somerville, Shirley-Anne (Dunfermline) (SNP)
          Stevenson, Stewart (Banffshire and Buchan Coast) (SNP)
          Stewart, David (Highlands and Islands) (Lab)
          Stewart, Kevin (Aberdeen Central) (SNP)
          Swinney, John (Perthshire North) (SNP)
          Todd, Maree (Highlands and Islands) (SNP)
          Torrance, David (Kirkcaldy) (SNP)
          Watt, Maureen (Aberdeen South and North Kincardine) (SNP)
          Wheelhouse, Paul (South Scotland) (SNP)
          White, Sandra (Glasgow Kelvin) (SNP)
          Wightman, Andy (Lothian) (Green)

          Against

          Balfour, Jeremy (Lothian) (Con)
          Ballantyne, Michelle (South Scotland) (Con)
          Bowman, Bill (North East Scotland) (Con)
          Briggs, Miles (Lothian) (Con)
          Burnett, Alexander (Aberdeenshire West) (Con)
          Cameron, Donald (Highlands and Islands) (Con)
          Carlaw, Jackson (Eastwood) (Con)
          Chapman, Peter (North East Scotland) (Con)
          Corry, Maurice (West Scotland) (Con)
          Fraser, Murdo (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Con)
          Golden, Maurice (West Scotland) (Con)
          Greene, Jamie (West Scotland) (Con)
          Halcro Johnston, Jamie (Highlands and Islands) (Con)
          Hamilton, Rachael (Ettrick, Roxburgh and Berwickshire) (Con)
          Harris, Alison (Central Scotland) (Con)
          Kerr, Liam (North East Scotland) (Con)
          Lindhurst, Gordon (Lothian) (Con)
          Lockhart, Dean (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Con)
          Mason, Tom (North East Scotland) (Con)
          Mountain, Edward (Highlands and Islands) (Con)
          Mundell, Oliver (Dumfriesshire) (Con)
          Scott, John (Ayr) (Con)
          Simpson, Graham (Central Scotland) (Con)
          Smith, Liz (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Con)
          Stewart, Alexander (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Con)
          Tomkins, Adam (Glasgow) (Con)
          Wells, Annie (Glasgow) (Con)
          Whittle, Brian (South Scotland) (Con)

          Abstentions

          Neil, Alex (Airdrie and Shotts) (SNP)

        • The Presiding Officer:

          The result of the division is: For 89, Against 28, Abstentions 1.

          Amendment agreed to.

        • The Presiding Officer:

          I remind members that if the amendment in the name of Adam Tomkins is agreed to, the amendment in the name of Neil Findlay will fall.

          The next question is, that amendment S5M-16554.1, in the name of Adam Tomkins, which seeks to amend motion S5M-16554, in the name of Patrick Harvie, be agreed to. Are we agreed?

          Members: No.

        • The Presiding Officer:

          There will be a division.

          For

          Balfour, Jeremy (Lothian) (Con)
          Ballantyne, Michelle (South Scotland) (Con)
          Bowman, Bill (North East Scotland) (Con)
          Briggs, Miles (Lothian) (Con)
          Burnett, Alexander (Aberdeenshire West) (Con)
          Cameron, Donald (Highlands and Islands) (Con)
          Carlaw, Jackson (Eastwood) (Con)
          Chapman, Peter (North East Scotland) (Con)
          Corry, Maurice (West Scotland) (Con)
          Fraser, Murdo (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Con)
          Golden, Maurice (West Scotland) (Con)
          Greene, Jamie (West Scotland) (Con)
          Halcro Johnston, Jamie (Highlands and Islands) (Con)
          Hamilton, Rachael (Ettrick, Roxburgh and Berwickshire) (Con)
          Harris, Alison (Central Scotland) (Con)
          Kerr, Liam (North East Scotland) (Con)
          Lindhurst, Gordon (Lothian) (Con)
          Lockhart, Dean (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Con)
          Mason, Tom (North East Scotland) (Con)
          Mountain, Edward (Highlands and Islands) (Con)
          Mundell, Oliver (Dumfriesshire) (Con)
          Scott, John (Ayr) (Con)
          Simpson, Graham (Central Scotland) (Con)
          Smith, Liz (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Con)
          Stewart, Alexander (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Con)
          Tomkins, Adam (Glasgow) (Con)
          Wells, Annie (Glasgow) (Con)
          Whittle, Brian (South Scotland) (Con)

          Against

          Adam, George (Paisley) (SNP)
          Adamson, Clare (Motherwell and Wishaw) (SNP)
          Allan, Alasdair (Na h-Eileanan an Iar) (SNP)
          Arthur, Tom (Renfrewshire South) (SNP)
          Baillie, Jackie (Dumbarton) (Lab)
          Baker, Claire (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Lab)
          Beamish, Claudia (South Scotland) (Lab)
          Beattie, Colin (Midlothian North and Musselburgh) (SNP)
          Bibby, Neil (West Scotland) (Lab)
          Brown, Keith (Clackmannanshire and Dunblane) (SNP)
          Campbell, Aileen (Clydesdale) (SNP)
          Coffey, Willie (Kilmarnock and Irvine Valley) (SNP)
          Cole-Hamilton, Alex (Edinburgh Western) (LD)
          Constance, Angela (Almond Valley) (SNP)
          Crawford, Bruce (Stirling) (SNP)
          Cunningham, Roseanna (Perthshire South and Kinross-shire) (SNP)
          Denham, Ash (Edinburgh Eastern) (SNP)
          Dey, Graeme (Angus South) (SNP)
          Doris, Bob (Glasgow Maryhill and Springburn) (SNP)
          Dornan, James (Glasgow Cathcart) (SNP)
          Dugdale, Kezia (Lothian) (Lab)
          Ewing, Annabelle (Cowdenbeath) (SNP)
          Ewing, Fergus (Inverness and Nairn) (SNP)
          Fabiani, Linda (East Kilbride) (SNP)
          Fee, Mary (West Scotland) (Lab)
          Findlay, Neil (Lothian) (Lab)
          Finnie, John (Highlands and Islands) (Green)
          FitzPatrick, Joe (Dundee City West) (SNP)
          Forbes, Kate (Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch) (SNP)
          Freeman, Jeane (Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley) (SNP)
          Gibson, Kenneth (Cunninghame North) (SNP)
          Gilruth, Jenny (Mid Fife and Glenrothes) (SNP)
          Gougeon, Mairi (Angus North and Mearns) (SNP)
          Grahame, Christine (Midlothian South, Tweeddale and Lauderdale) (SNP)
          Grant, Rhoda (Highlands and Islands) (Lab)
          Gray, Iain (East Lothian) (Lab)
          Greer, Ross (West Scotland) (Green)
          Griffin, Mark (Central Scotland) (Lab)
          Harper, Emma (South Scotland) (SNP)
          Harvie, Patrick (Glasgow) (Green)
          Haughey, Clare (Rutherglen) (SNP)
          Hepburn, Jamie (Cumbernauld and Kilsyth) (SNP)
          Hyslop, Fiona (Linlithgow) (SNP)
          Johnson, Daniel (Edinburgh Southern) (Lab)
          Johnstone, Alison (Lothian) (Green)
          Kelly, James (Glasgow) (Lab)
          Kidd, Bill (Glasgow Anniesland) (SNP)
          Lamont, Johann (Glasgow) (Lab)
          Lennon, Monica (Central Scotland) (Lab)
          Lochhead, Richard (Moray) (SNP)
          Lyle, Richard (Uddingston and Bellshill) (SNP)
          MacDonald, Angus (Falkirk East) (SNP)
          Macdonald, Lewis (North East Scotland) (Lab)
          MacGregor, Fulton (Coatbridge and Chryston) (SNP)
          Mackay, Derek (Renfrewshire North and West) (SNP)
          Mackay, Rona (Strathkelvin and Bearsden) (SNP)
          Maguire, Ruth (Cunninghame South) (SNP)
          Marra, Jenny (North East Scotland) (Lab)
          Martin, Gillian (Aberdeenshire East) (SNP)
          Mason, John (Glasgow Shettleston) (SNP)
          Matheson, Michael (Falkirk West) (SNP)
          McAlpine, Joan (South Scotland) (SNP)
          McArthur, Liam (Orkney Islands) (LD)
          McDonald, Mark (Aberdeen Donside) (Ind)
          McKee, Ivan (Glasgow Provan) (SNP)
          McKelvie, Christina (Hamilton, Larkhall and Stonehouse) (SNP)
          McMillan, Stuart (Greenock and Inverclyde) (SNP)
          McNeill, Pauline (Glasgow) (Lab)
          Paterson, Gil (Clydebank and Milngavie) (SNP)
          Rennie, Willie (North East Fife) (LD)
          Robison, Shona (Dundee City East) (SNP)
          Ross, Gail (Caithness, Sutherland and Ross) (SNP)
          Rowley, Alex (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Lab)
          Rumbles, Mike (North East Scotland) (LD)
          Ruskell, Mark (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Green)
          Sarwar, Anas (Glasgow) (Lab)
          Scott, Tavish (Shetland Islands) (LD)
          Smyth, Colin (South Scotland) (Lab)
          Somerville, Shirley-Anne (Dunfermline) (SNP)
          Stevenson, Stewart (Banffshire and Buchan Coast) (SNP)
          Stewart, David (Highlands and Islands) (Lab)
          Stewart, Kevin (Aberdeen Central) (SNP)
          Swinney, John (Perthshire North) (SNP)
          Todd, Maree (Highlands and Islands) (SNP)
          Torrance, David (Kirkcaldy) (SNP)
          Watt, Maureen (Aberdeen South and North Kincardine) (SNP)
          Wheelhouse, Paul (South Scotland) (SNP)
          White, Sandra (Glasgow Kelvin) (SNP)
          Wightman, Andy (Lothian) (Green)

          Abstentions

          Neil, Alex (Airdrie and Shotts) (SNP)

        • The Presiding Officer:

          The result of the division is: For 28, Against 89, Abstentions 1.

          Amendment disagreed to.

        • The Presiding Officer:

          The next question is, that amendment S5M-16554.3, in the name of Neil Findlay, which seeks to amend motion S5M-16554, in the name of Patrick Harvie, be agreed to. Are we agreed?

          Members: No.

        • The Presiding Officer:

          There will be a division.

          For

          Adam, George (Paisley) (SNP)
          Adamson, Clare (Motherwell and Wishaw) (SNP)
          Allan, Alasdair (Na h-Eileanan an Iar) (SNP)
          Arthur, Tom (Renfrewshire South) (SNP)
          Baillie, Jackie (Dumbarton) (Lab)
          Baker, Claire (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Lab)
          Beamish, Claudia (South Scotland) (Lab)
          Beattie, Colin (Midlothian North and Musselburgh) (SNP)
          Bibby, Neil (West Scotland) (Lab)
          Brown, Keith (Clackmannanshire and Dunblane) (SNP)
          Campbell, Aileen (Clydesdale) (SNP)
          Coffey, Willie (Kilmarnock and Irvine Valley) (SNP)
          Constance, Angela (Almond Valley) (SNP)
          Crawford, Bruce (Stirling) (SNP)
          Cunningham, Roseanna (Perthshire South and Kinross-shire) (SNP)
          Denham, Ash (Edinburgh Eastern) (SNP)
          Dey, Graeme (Angus South) (SNP)
          Doris, Bob (Glasgow Maryhill and Springburn) (SNP)
          Dornan, James (Glasgow Cathcart) (SNP)
          Dugdale, Kezia (Lothian) (Lab)
          Ewing, Annabelle (Cowdenbeath) (SNP)
          Ewing, Fergus (Inverness and Nairn) (SNP)
          Fabiani, Linda (East Kilbride) (SNP)
          Fee, Mary (West Scotland) (Lab)
          Findlay, Neil (Lothian) (Lab)
          Finnie, John (Highlands and Islands) (Green)
          FitzPatrick, Joe (Dundee City West) (SNP)
          Forbes, Kate (Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch) (SNP)
          Freeman, Jeane (Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley) (SNP)
          Gibson, Kenneth (Cunninghame North) (SNP)
          Gilruth, Jenny (Mid Fife and Glenrothes) (SNP)
          Gougeon, Mairi (Angus North and Mearns) (SNP)
          Grahame, Christine (Midlothian South, Tweeddale and Lauderdale) (SNP)
          Grant, Rhoda (Highlands and Islands) (Lab)
          Gray, Iain (East Lothian) (Lab)
          Greer, Ross (West Scotland) (Green)
          Griffin, Mark (Central Scotland) (Lab)
          Harper, Emma (South Scotland) (SNP)
          Harvie, Patrick (Glasgow) (Green)
          Haughey, Clare (Rutherglen) (SNP)
          Hepburn, Jamie (Cumbernauld and Kilsyth) (SNP)
          Hyslop, Fiona (Linlithgow) (SNP)
          Johnson, Daniel (Edinburgh Southern) (Lab)
          Johnstone, Alison (Lothian) (Green)
          Kelly, James (Glasgow) (Lab)
          Kidd, Bill (Glasgow Anniesland) (SNP)
          Lamont, Johann (Glasgow) (Lab)
          Lennon, Monica (Central Scotland) (Lab)
          Lochhead, Richard (Moray) (SNP)
          Lyle, Richard (Uddingston and Bellshill) (SNP)
          MacDonald, Angus (Falkirk East) (SNP)
          Macdonald, Lewis (North East Scotland) (Lab)
          MacGregor, Fulton (Coatbridge and Chryston) (SNP)
          Mackay, Derek (Renfrewshire North and West) (SNP)
          Mackay, Rona (Strathkelvin and Bearsden) (SNP)
          Maguire, Ruth (Cunninghame South) (SNP)
          Marra, Jenny (North East Scotland) (Lab)
          Martin, Gillian (Aberdeenshire East) (SNP)
          Mason, John (Glasgow Shettleston) (SNP)
          Matheson, Michael (Falkirk West) (SNP)
          McAlpine, Joan (South Scotland) (SNP)
          McDonald, Mark (Aberdeen Donside) (Ind)
          McKee, Ivan (Glasgow Provan) (SNP)
          McKelvie, Christina (Hamilton, Larkhall and Stonehouse) (SNP)
          McMillan, Stuart (Greenock and Inverclyde) (SNP)
          McNeill, Pauline (Glasgow) (Lab)
          Paterson, Gil (Clydebank and Milngavie) (SNP)
          Robison, Shona (Dundee City East) (SNP)
          Ross, Gail (Caithness, Sutherland and Ross) (SNP)
          Rowley, Alex (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Lab)
          Ruskell, Mark (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Green)
          Sarwar, Anas (Glasgow) (Lab)
          Smyth, Colin (South Scotland) (Lab)
          Somerville, Shirley-Anne (Dunfermline) (SNP)
          Stevenson, Stewart (Banffshire and Buchan Coast) (SNP)
          Stewart, David (Highlands and Islands) (Lab)
          Stewart, Kevin (Aberdeen Central) (SNP)
          Swinney, John (Perthshire North) (SNP)
          Todd, Maree (Highlands and Islands) (SNP)
          Torrance, David (Kirkcaldy) (SNP)
          Watt, Maureen (Aberdeen South and North Kincardine) (SNP)
          Wheelhouse, Paul (South Scotland) (SNP)
          White, Sandra (Glasgow Kelvin) (SNP)
          Wightman, Andy (Lothian) (Green)

          Against

          Balfour, Jeremy (Lothian) (Con)
          Ballantyne, Michelle (South Scotland) (Con)
          Bowman, Bill (North East Scotland) (Con)
          Briggs, Miles (Lothian) (Con)
          Burnett, Alexander (Aberdeenshire West) (Con)
          Cameron, Donald (Highlands and Islands) (Con)
          Carlaw, Jackson (Eastwood) (Con)
          Chapman, Peter (North East Scotland) (Con)
          Cole-Hamilton, Alex (Edinburgh Western) (LD)
          Corry, Maurice (West Scotland) (Con)
          Fraser, Murdo (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Con)
          Golden, Maurice (West Scotland) (Con)
          Greene, Jamie (West Scotland) (Con)
          Halcro Johnston, Jamie (Highlands and Islands) (Con)
          Hamilton, Rachael (Ettrick, Roxburgh and Berwickshire) (Con)
          Harris, Alison (Central Scotland) (Con)
          Kerr, Liam (North East Scotland) (Con)
          Lindhurst, Gordon (Lothian) (Con)
          Lockhart, Dean (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Con)
          Mason, Tom (North East Scotland) (Con)
          McArthur, Liam (Orkney Islands) (LD)
          Mountain, Edward (Highlands and Islands) (Con)
          Mundell, Oliver (Dumfriesshire) (Con)
          Rennie, Willie (North East Fife) (LD)
          Rumbles, Mike (North East Scotland) (LD)
          Scott, John (Ayr) (Con)
          Scott, Tavish (Shetland Islands) (LD)
          Simpson, Graham (Central Scotland) (Con)
          Smith, Liz (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Con)
          Stewart, Alexander (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Con)
          Tomkins, Adam (Glasgow) (Con)
          Wells, Annie (Glasgow) (Con)
          Whittle, Brian (South Scotland) (Con)

          Abstentions

          Neil, Alex (Airdrie and Shotts) (SNP)

        • The Presiding Officer:

          The result of the division is: For 84, Against 33, Abstentions 1.

          Amendment agreed to.

        • The Presiding Officer:

          The next question is, that motion S5M-16554, in the name of Patrick Harvie, on revoking article 50, as amended, be agreed to. Are we agreed?

          Members: No.

        • The Presiding Officer:

          There will be a division.

          For

          Adam, George (Paisley) (SNP)
          Adamson, Clare (Motherwell and Wishaw) (SNP)
          Allan, Alasdair (Na h-Eileanan an Iar) (SNP)
          Arthur, Tom (Renfrewshire South) (SNP)
          Baillie, Jackie (Dumbarton) (Lab)
          Baker, Claire (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Lab)
          Beamish, Claudia (South Scotland) (Lab)
          Beattie, Colin (Midlothian North and Musselburgh) (SNP)
          Bibby, Neil (West Scotland) (Lab)
          Brown, Keith (Clackmannanshire and Dunblane) (SNP)
          Campbell, Aileen (Clydesdale) (SNP)
          Coffey, Willie (Kilmarnock and Irvine Valley) (SNP)
          Cole-Hamilton, Alex (Edinburgh Western) (LD)
          Constance, Angela (Almond Valley) (SNP)
          Crawford, Bruce (Stirling) (SNP)
          Cunningham, Roseanna (Perthshire South and Kinross-shire) (SNP)
          Denham, Ash (Edinburgh Eastern) (SNP)
          Dey, Graeme (Angus South) (SNP)
          Doris, Bob (Glasgow Maryhill and Springburn) (SNP)
          Dornan, James (Glasgow Cathcart) (SNP)
          Dugdale, Kezia (Lothian) (Lab)
          Ewing, Annabelle (Cowdenbeath) (SNP)
          Ewing, Fergus (Inverness and Nairn) (SNP)
          Fabiani, Linda (East Kilbride) (SNP)
          Fee, Mary (West Scotland) (Lab)
          Findlay, Neil (Lothian) (Lab)
          Finnie, John (Highlands and Islands) (Green)
          FitzPatrick, Joe (Dundee City West) (SNP)
          Forbes, Kate (Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch) (SNP)
          Freeman, Jeane (Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley) (SNP)
          Gibson, Kenneth (Cunninghame North) (SNP)
          Gilruth, Jenny (Mid Fife and Glenrothes) (SNP)
          Gougeon, Mairi (Angus North and Mearns) (SNP)
          Grahame, Christine (Midlothian South, Tweeddale and Lauderdale) (SNP)
          Grant, Rhoda (Highlands and Islands) (Lab)
          Gray, Iain (East Lothian) (Lab)
          Greer, Ross (West Scotland) (Green)
          Griffin, Mark (Central Scotland) (Lab)
          Harper, Emma (South Scotland) (SNP)
          Harvie, Patrick (Glasgow) (Green)
          Haughey, Clare (Rutherglen) (SNP)
          Hepburn, Jamie (Cumbernauld and Kilsyth) (SNP)
          Hyslop, Fiona (Linlithgow) (SNP)
          Johnson, Daniel (Edinburgh Southern) (Lab)
          Johnstone, Alison (Lothian) (Green)
          Kelly, James (Glasgow) (Lab)
          Kidd, Bill (Glasgow Anniesland) (SNP)
          Lamont, Johann (Glasgow) (Lab)
          Lennon, Monica (Central Scotland) (Lab)
          Lochhead, Richard (Moray) (SNP)
          Lyle, Richard (Uddingston and Bellshill) (SNP)
          MacDonald, Angus (Falkirk East) (SNP)
          Macdonald, Lewis (North East Scotland) (Lab)
          MacGregor, Fulton (Coatbridge and Chryston) (SNP)
          Mackay, Derek (Renfrewshire North and West) (SNP)
          Mackay, Rona (Strathkelvin and Bearsden) (SNP)
          Maguire, Ruth (Cunninghame South) (SNP)
          Marra, Jenny (North East Scotland) (Lab)
          Martin, Gillian (Aberdeenshire East) (SNP)
          Mason, John (Glasgow Shettleston) (SNP)
          Matheson, Michael (Falkirk West) (SNP)
          McAlpine, Joan (South Scotland) (SNP)
          McArthur, Liam (Orkney Islands) (LD)
          McDonald, Mark (Aberdeen Donside) (Ind)
          McKee, Ivan (Glasgow Provan) (SNP)
          McKelvie, Christina (Hamilton, Larkhall and Stonehouse) (SNP)
          McMillan, Stuart (Greenock and Inverclyde) (SNP)
          McNeill, Pauline (Glasgow) (Lab)
          Paterson, Gil (Clydebank and Milngavie) (SNP)
          Rennie, Willie (North East Fife) (LD)
          Robison, Shona (Dundee City East) (SNP)
          Ross, Gail (Caithness, Sutherland and Ross) (SNP)
          Rowley, Alex (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Lab)
          Rumbles, Mike (North East Scotland) (LD)
          Ruskell, Mark (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Green)
          Sarwar, Anas (Glasgow) (Lab)
          Scott, Tavish (Shetland Islands) (LD)
          Smyth, Colin (South Scotland) (Lab)
          Somerville, Shirley-Anne (Dunfermline) (SNP)
          Stevenson, Stewart (Banffshire and Buchan Coast) (SNP)
          Stewart, David (Highlands and Islands) (Lab)
          Stewart, Kevin (Aberdeen Central) (SNP)
          Swinney, John (Perthshire North) (SNP)
          Todd, Maree (Highlands and Islands) (SNP)
          Torrance, David (Kirkcaldy) (SNP)
          Watt, Maureen (Aberdeen South and North Kincardine) (SNP)
          Wheelhouse, Paul (South Scotland) (SNP)
          White, Sandra (Glasgow Kelvin) (SNP)
          Wightman, Andy (Lothian) (Green)

          Against

          Balfour, Jeremy (Lothian) (Con)
          Ballantyne, Michelle (South Scotland) (Con)
          Bowman, Bill (North East Scotland) (Con)
          Briggs, Miles (Lothian) (Con)
          Burnett, Alexander (Aberdeenshire West) (Con)
          Cameron, Donald (Highlands and Islands) (Con)
          Carlaw, Jackson (Eastwood) (Con)
          Chapman, Peter (North East Scotland) (Con)
          Corry, Maurice (West Scotland) (Con)
          Fraser, Murdo (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Con)
          Golden, Maurice (West Scotland) (Con)
          Greene, Jamie (West Scotland) (Con)
          Halcro Johnston, Jamie (Highlands and Islands) (Con)
          Hamilton, Rachael (Ettrick, Roxburgh and Berwickshire) (Con)
          Harris, Alison (Central Scotland) (Con)
          Kerr, Liam (North East Scotland) (Con)
          Lindhurst, Gordon (Lothian) (Con)
          Lockhart, Dean (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Con)
          Mason, Tom (North East Scotland) (Con)
          Mountain, Edward (Highlands and Islands) (Con)
          Mundell, Oliver (Dumfriesshire) (Con)
          Scott, John (Ayr) (Con)
          Simpson, Graham (Central Scotland) (Con)
          Smith, Liz (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Con)
          Stewart, Alexander (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Con)
          Tomkins, Adam (Glasgow) (Con)
          Wells, Annie (Glasgow) (Con)
          Whittle, Brian (South Scotland) (Con)

          Abstentions

          Neil, Alex (Airdrie and Shotts) (SNP)

        • The Presiding Officer:

          The result of the division is: For 89, Against 28, Abstentions 1.

          Motion, as amended, agreed to,

          That the Parliament commends the more than five million signatories to the UK Parliament petition to revoke Article 50; believes that, unless the UK secures a sufficient extension to the Brexit process to organise and conduct a public vote with an option to remain in the EU, and the UK be faced with a choice of no deal or revoke, then, the UK’s notification under Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union should be revoked immediately, and calls on the UK Government to stop ignoring the views of this Parliament and the overwhelming majority of people in Scotland who wish to remain in the EU.

        • The Presiding Officer:

          I remind members that if the amendment in the name of Roseanna Cunningham is agreed to, the amendments in the names of Maurice Golden and Claudia Beamish will fall.

          The next question is, that amendment S5M-16555.4, in the name of Roseanna Cunningham, which seeks to amend motion S5M-16555, in the name of Mark Ruskell, on climate emergency, be agreed to. Are we agreed?

          Members: No.

        • The Presiding Officer:

          There will be a division.

          For

          Adam, George (Paisley) (SNP)
          Adamson, Clare (Motherwell and Wishaw) (SNP)
          Allan, Alasdair (Na h-Eileanan an Iar) (SNP)
          Arthur, Tom (Renfrewshire South) (SNP)
          Beattie, Colin (Midlothian North and Musselburgh) (SNP)
          Brown, Keith (Clackmannanshire and Dunblane) (SNP)
          Campbell, Aileen (Clydesdale) (SNP)
          Coffey, Willie (Kilmarnock and Irvine Valley) (SNP)
          Constance, Angela (Almond Valley) (SNP)
          Crawford, Bruce (Stirling) (SNP)
          Cunningham, Roseanna (Perthshire South and Kinross-shire) (SNP)
          Denham, Ash (Edinburgh Eastern) (SNP)
          Dey, Graeme (Angus South) (SNP)
          Doris, Bob (Glasgow Maryhill and Springburn) (SNP)
          Dornan, James (Glasgow Cathcart) (SNP)
          Ewing, Annabelle (Cowdenbeath) (SNP)
          Ewing, Fergus (Inverness and Nairn) (SNP)
          Fabiani, Linda (East Kilbride) (SNP)
          FitzPatrick, Joe (Dundee City West) (SNP)
          Forbes, Kate (Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch) (SNP)
          Freeman, Jeane (Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley) (SNP)
          Gibson, Kenneth (Cunninghame North) (SNP)
          Gilruth, Jenny (Mid Fife and Glenrothes) (SNP)
          Gougeon, Mairi (Angus North and Mearns) (SNP)
          Grahame, Christine (Midlothian South, Tweeddale and Lauderdale) (SNP)
          Harper, Emma (South Scotland) (SNP)
          Haughey, Clare (Rutherglen) (SNP)
          Hepburn, Jamie (Cumbernauld and Kilsyth) (SNP)
          Hyslop, Fiona (Linlithgow) (SNP)
          Kidd, Bill (Glasgow Anniesland) (SNP)
          Lochhead, Richard (Moray) (SNP)
          Lyle, Richard (Uddingston and Bellshill) (SNP)
          MacDonald, Angus (Falkirk East) (SNP)
          MacGregor, Fulton (Coatbridge and Chryston) (SNP)
          Mackay, Derek (Renfrewshire North and West) (SNP)
          Mackay, Rona (Strathkelvin and Bearsden) (SNP)
          Maguire, Ruth (Cunninghame South) (SNP)
          Martin, Gillian (Aberdeenshire East) (SNP)
          Mason, John (Glasgow Shettleston) (SNP)
          Matheson, Michael (Falkirk West) (SNP)
          McAlpine, Joan (South Scotland) (SNP)
          McDonald, Mark (Aberdeen Donside) (Ind)
          McKee, Ivan (Glasgow Provan) (SNP)
          McKelvie, Christina (Hamilton, Larkhall and Stonehouse) (SNP)
          McMillan, Stuart (Greenock and Inverclyde) (SNP)
          Neil, Alex (Airdrie and Shotts) (SNP)
          Paterson, Gil (Clydebank and Milngavie) (SNP)
          Robison, Shona (Dundee City East) (SNP)
          Ross, Gail (Caithness, Sutherland and Ross) (SNP)
          Somerville, Shirley-Anne (Dunfermline) (SNP)
          Stevenson, Stewart (Banffshire and Buchan Coast) (SNP)
          Stewart, Kevin (Aberdeen Central) (SNP)
          Swinney, John (Perthshire North) (SNP)
          Todd, Maree (Highlands and Islands) (SNP)
          Torrance, David (Kirkcaldy) (SNP)
          Watt, Maureen (Aberdeen South and North Kincardine) (SNP)
          Wheelhouse, Paul (South Scotland) (SNP)
          White, Sandra (Glasgow Kelvin) (SNP)

          Against

          Baillie, Jackie (Dumbarton) (Lab)
          Baker, Claire (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Lab)
          Balfour, Jeremy (Lothian) (Con)
          Ballantyne, Michelle (South Scotland) (Con)
          Beamish, Claudia (South Scotland) (Lab)
          Bibby, Neil (West Scotland) (Lab)
          Bowman, Bill (North East Scotland) (Con)
          Briggs, Miles (Lothian) (Con)
          Burnett, Alexander (Aberdeenshire West) (Con)
          Cameron, Donald (Highlands and Islands) (Con)
          Carlaw, Jackson (Eastwood) (Con)
          Chapman, Peter (North East Scotland) (Con)
          Cole-Hamilton, Alex (Edinburgh Western) (LD)
          Corry, Maurice (West Scotland) (Con)
          Fee, Mary (West Scotland) (Lab)
          Findlay, Neil (Lothian) (Lab)
          Finnie, John (Highlands and Islands) (Green)
          Fraser, Murdo (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Con)
          Golden, Maurice (West Scotland) (Con)
          Grant, Rhoda (Highlands and Islands) (Lab)
          Gray, Iain (East Lothian) (Lab)
          Greene, Jamie (West Scotland) (Con)
          Greer, Ross (West Scotland) (Green)
          Griffin, Mark (Central Scotland) (Lab)
          Halcro Johnston, Jamie (Highlands and Islands) (Con)
          Hamilton, Rachael (Ettrick, Roxburgh and Berwickshire) (Con)
          Harris, Alison (Central Scotland) (Con)
          Harvie, Patrick (Glasgow) (Green)
          Johnson, Daniel (Edinburgh Southern) (Lab)
          Johnstone, Alison (Lothian) (Green)
          Kelly, James (Glasgow) (Lab)
          Kerr, Liam (North East Scotland) (Con)
          Lamont, Johann (Glasgow) (Lab)
          Lennon, Monica (Central Scotland) (Lab)
          Lindhurst, Gordon (Lothian) (Con)
          Lockhart, Dean (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Con)
          Macdonald, Lewis (North East Scotland) (Lab)
          Marra, Jenny (North East Scotland) (Lab)
          Mason, Tom (North East Scotland) (Con)
          McArthur, Liam (Orkney Islands) (LD)
          McNeill, Pauline (Glasgow) (Lab)
          Mountain, Edward (Highlands and Islands) (Con)
          Mundell, Oliver (Dumfriesshire) (Con)
          Rennie, Willie (North East Fife) (LD)
          Rowley, Alex (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Lab)
          Rumbles, Mike (North East Scotland) (LD)
          Ruskell, Mark (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Green)
          Sarwar, Anas (Glasgow) (Lab)
          Scott, John (Ayr) (Con)
          Scott, Tavish (Shetland Islands) (LD)
          Simpson, Graham (Central Scotland) (Con)
          Smith, Liz (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Con)
          Smyth, Colin (South Scotland) (Lab)
          Stewart, Alexander (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Con)
          Stewart, David (Highlands and Islands) (Lab)
          Tomkins, Adam (Glasgow) (Con)
          Wells, Annie (Glasgow) (Con)
          Whittle, Brian (South Scotland) (Con)
          Wightman, Andy (Lothian) (Green)

        • The Presiding Officer:

          The result of the division is: For 58, Against 59, Abstentions 0.

          Amendment disagreed to.

        • The Presiding Officer:

          I remind members that if the amendment in the name of Maurice Golden is agreed to, the amendment in the name of Claudia Beamish will fall.

          The question is, that amendment S5M-16555.1, in the name of Maurice Golden, which seeks to amend motion S5M-16555, in the name of Mark Ruskell, be agreed to. Are we agreed?

          Members: No.

        • The Presiding Officer:

          There will be a division.

          For

          Balfour, Jeremy (Lothian) (Con)
          Ballantyne, Michelle (South Scotland) (Con)
          Bowman, Bill (North East Scotland) (Con)
          Briggs, Miles (Lothian) (Con)
          Burnett, Alexander (Aberdeenshire West) (Con)
          Cameron, Donald (Highlands and Islands) (Con)
          Carlaw, Jackson (Eastwood) (Con)
          Chapman, Peter (North East Scotland) (Con)
          Corry, Maurice (West Scotland) (Con)
          Fraser, Murdo (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Con)
          Golden, Maurice (West Scotland) (Con)
          Greene, Jamie (West Scotland) (Con)
          Halcro Johnston, Jamie (Highlands and Islands) (Con)
          Hamilton, Rachael (Ettrick, Roxburgh and Berwickshire) (Con)
          Harris, Alison (Central Scotland) (Con)
          Kerr, Liam (North East Scotland) (Con)
          Lindhurst, Gordon (Lothian) (Con)
          Lockhart, Dean (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Con)
          Mason, Tom (North East Scotland) (Con)
          Mountain, Edward (Highlands and Islands) (Con)
          Mundell, Oliver (Dumfriesshire) (Con)
          Scott, John (Ayr) (Con)
          Simpson, Graham (Central Scotland) (Con)
          Smith, Liz (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Con)
          Stewart, Alexander (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Con)
          Tomkins, Adam (Glasgow) (Con)
          Wells, Annie (Glasgow) (Con)
          Whittle, Brian (South Scotland) (Con)

          Against

          Adam, George (Paisley) (SNP)
          Adamson, Clare (Motherwell and Wishaw) (SNP)
          Allan, Alasdair (Na h-Eileanan an Iar) (SNP)
          Arthur, Tom (Renfrewshire South) (SNP)
          Baillie, Jackie (Dumbarton) (Lab)
          Baker, Claire (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Lab)
          Beamish, Claudia (South Scotland) (Lab)
          Beattie, Colin (Midlothian North and Musselburgh) (SNP)
          Bibby, Neil (West Scotland) (Lab)
          Brown, Keith (Clackmannanshire and Dunblane) (SNP)
          Campbell, Aileen (Clydesdale) (SNP)
          Coffey, Willie (Kilmarnock and Irvine Valley) (SNP)
          Cole-Hamilton, Alex (Edinburgh Western) (LD)
          Constance, Angela (Almond Valley) (SNP)
          Crawford, Bruce (Stirling) (SNP)
          Cunningham, Roseanna (Perthshire South and Kinross-shire) (SNP)
          Denham, Ash (Edinburgh Eastern) (SNP)
          Dey, Graeme (Angus South) (SNP)
          Doris, Bob (Glasgow Maryhill and Springburn) (SNP)
          Dornan, James (Glasgow Cathcart) (SNP)
          Dugdale, Kezia (Lothian) (Lab)
          Ewing, Annabelle (Cowdenbeath) (SNP)
          Ewing, Fergus (Inverness and Nairn) (SNP)
          Fabiani, Linda (East Kilbride) (SNP)
          Fee, Mary (West Scotland) (Lab)
          Findlay, Neil (Lothian) (Lab)
          Finnie, John (Highlands and Islands) (Green)
          FitzPatrick, Joe (Dundee City West) (SNP)
          Forbes, Kate (Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch) (SNP)
          Freeman, Jeane (Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley) (SNP)
          Gibson, Kenneth (Cunninghame North) (SNP)
          Gilruth, Jenny (Mid Fife and Glenrothes) (SNP)
          Gougeon, Mairi (Angus North and Mearns) (SNP)
          Grahame, Christine (Midlothian South, Tweeddale and Lauderdale) (SNP)
          Grant, Rhoda (Highlands and Islands) (Lab)
          Gray, Iain (East Lothian) (Lab)
          Greer, Ross (West Scotland) (Green)
          Griffin, Mark (Central Scotland) (Lab)
          Harper, Emma (South Scotland) (SNP)
          Harvie, Patrick (Glasgow) (Green)
          Haughey, Clare (Rutherglen) (SNP)
          Hepburn, Jamie (Cumbernauld and Kilsyth) (SNP)
          Hyslop, Fiona (Linlithgow) (SNP)
          Johnson, Daniel (Edinburgh Southern) (Lab)
          Johnstone, Alison (Lothian) (Green)
          Kelly, James (Glasgow) (Lab)
          Kidd, Bill (Glasgow Anniesland) (SNP)
          Lamont, Johann (Glasgow) (Lab)
          Lennon, Monica (Central Scotland) (Lab)
          Lochhead, Richard (Moray) (SNP)
          Lyle, Richard (Uddingston and Bellshill) (SNP)
          MacDonald, Angus (Falkirk East) (SNP)
          Macdonald, Lewis (North East Scotland) (Lab)
          MacGregor, Fulton (Coatbridge and Chryston) (SNP)
          Mackay, Derek (Renfrewshire North and West) (SNP)
          Mackay, Rona (Strathkelvin and Bearsden) (SNP)
          Maguire, Ruth (Cunninghame South) (SNP)
          Marra, Jenny (North East Scotland) (Lab)
          Martin, Gillian (Aberdeenshire East) (SNP)
          Mason, John (Glasgow Shettleston) (SNP)
          Matheson, Michael (Falkirk West) (SNP)
          McAlpine, Joan (South Scotland) (SNP)
          McArthur, Liam (Orkney Islands) (LD)
          McDonald, Mark (Aberdeen Donside) (Ind)
          McKee, Ivan (Glasgow Provan) (SNP)
          McKelvie, Christina (Hamilton, Larkhall and Stonehouse) (SNP)
          McMillan, Stuart (Greenock and Inverclyde) (SNP)
          McNeill, Pauline (Glasgow) (Lab)
          Neil, Alex (Airdrie and Shotts) (SNP)
          Paterson, Gil (Clydebank and Milngavie) (SNP)
          Rennie, Willie (North East Fife) (LD)
          Robison, Shona (Dundee City East) (SNP)
          Ross, Gail (Caithness, Sutherland and Ross) (SNP)
          Rowley, Alex (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Lab)
          Rumbles, Mike (North East Scotland) (LD)
          Ruskell, Mark (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Green)
          Sarwar, Anas (Glasgow) (Lab)
          Scott, Tavish (Shetland Islands) (LD)
          Smyth, Colin (South Scotland) (Lab)
          Somerville, Shirley-Anne (Dunfermline) (SNP)
          Stevenson, Stewart (Banffshire and Buchan Coast) (SNP)
          Stewart, David (Highlands and Islands) (Lab)
          Stewart, Kevin (Aberdeen Central) (SNP)
          Swinney, John (Perthshire North) (SNP)
          Todd, Maree (Highlands and Islands) (SNP)
          Torrance, David (Kirkcaldy) (SNP)
          Watt, Maureen (Aberdeen South and North Kincardine) (SNP)
          Wheelhouse, Paul (South Scotland) (SNP)
          White, Sandra (Glasgow Kelvin) (SNP)
          Wightman, Andy (Lothian) (Green)

        • The Presiding Officer:

          The result of the division is: For 28, Against 90, Abstentions 0.

          Amendment disagreed to.

        • The Presiding Officer:

          The next question is, that amendment S5M-16555.3, in the name of Claudia Beamish, which seeks to amend motion S5M-16555, in the name of Mark Ruskell, be agreed to. Are we agreed?

          Members: No.

        • The Presiding Officer:

          There will be a division.

          For

          Baillie, Jackie (Dumbarton) (Lab)
          Baker, Claire (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Lab)
          Beamish, Claudia (South Scotland) (Lab)
          Bibby, Neil (West Scotland) (Lab)
          Dugdale, Kezia (Lothian) (Lab)
          Fee, Mary (West Scotland) (Lab)
          Findlay, Neil (Lothian) (Lab)
          Grant, Rhoda (Highlands and Islands) (Lab)
          Gray, Iain (East Lothian) (Lab)
          Griffin, Mark (Central Scotland) (Lab)
          Johnson, Daniel (Edinburgh Southern) (Lab)
          Kelly, James (Glasgow) (Lab)
          Lamont, Johann (Glasgow) (Lab)
          Lennon, Monica (Central Scotland) (Lab)
          Macdonald, Lewis (North East Scotland) (Lab)
          Marra, Jenny (North East Scotland) (Lab)
          McDonald, Mark (Aberdeen Donside) (Ind)
          McNeill, Pauline (Glasgow) (Lab)
          Rowley, Alex (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Lab)
          Sarwar, Anas (Glasgow) (Lab)
          Smyth, Colin (South Scotland) (Lab)
          Stewart, David (Highlands and Islands) (Lab)

          Against

          Adam, George (Paisley) (SNP)
          Adamson, Clare (Motherwell and Wishaw) (SNP)
          Allan, Alasdair (Na h-Eileanan an Iar) (SNP)
          Arthur, Tom (Renfrewshire South) (SNP)
          Balfour, Jeremy (Lothian) (Con)
          Ballantyne, Michelle (South Scotland) (Con)
          Beattie, Colin (Midlothian North and Musselburgh) (SNP)
          Bowman, Bill (North East Scotland) (Con)
          Briggs, Miles (Lothian) (Con)
          Brown, Keith (Clackmannanshire and Dunblane) (SNP)
          Burnett, Alexander (Aberdeenshire West) (Con)
          Cameron, Donald (Highlands and Islands) (Con)
          Campbell, Aileen (Clydesdale) (SNP)
          Carlaw, Jackson (Eastwood) (Con)
          Chapman, Peter (North East Scotland) (Con)
          Coffey, Willie (Kilmarnock and Irvine Valley) (SNP)
          Cole-Hamilton, Alex (Edinburgh Western) (LD)
          Constance, Angela (Almond Valley) (SNP)
          Corry, Maurice (West Scotland) (Con)
          Crawford, Bruce (Stirling) (SNP)
          Cunningham, Roseanna (Perthshire South and Kinross-shire) (SNP)
          Denham, Ash (Edinburgh Eastern) (SNP)
          Dey, Graeme (Angus South) (SNP)
          Doris, Bob (Glasgow Maryhill and Springburn) (SNP)
          Dornan, James (Glasgow Cathcart) (SNP)
          Ewing, Annabelle (Cowdenbeath) (SNP)
          Ewing, Fergus (Inverness and Nairn) (SNP)
          Fabiani, Linda (East Kilbride) (SNP)
          Finnie, John (Highlands and Islands) (Green)
          FitzPatrick, Joe (Dundee City West) (SNP)
          Forbes, Kate (Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch) (SNP)
          Fraser, Murdo (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Con)
          Freeman, Jeane (Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley) (SNP)
          Gibson, Kenneth (Cunninghame North) (SNP)
          Gilruth, Jenny (Mid Fife and Glenrothes) (SNP)
          Golden, Maurice (West Scotland) (Con)
          Gougeon, Mairi (Angus North and Mearns) (SNP)
          Grahame, Christine (Midlothian South, Tweeddale and Lauderdale) (SNP)
          Greene, Jamie (West Scotland) (Con)
          Greer, Ross (West Scotland) (Green)
          Halcro Johnston, Jamie (Highlands and Islands) (Con)
          Hamilton, Rachael (Ettrick, Roxburgh and Berwickshire) (Con)
          Harper, Emma (South Scotland) (SNP)
          Harris, Alison (Central Scotland) (Con)
          Harvie, Patrick (Glasgow) (Green)
          Haughey, Clare (Rutherglen) (SNP)
          Hepburn, Jamie (Cumbernauld and Kilsyth) (SNP)
          Hyslop, Fiona (Linlithgow) (SNP)
          Johnstone, Alison (Lothian) (Green)
          Kerr, Liam (North East Scotland) (Con)
          Kidd, Bill (Glasgow Anniesland) (SNP)
          Lindhurst, Gordon (Lothian) (Con)
          Lochhead, Richard (Moray) (SNP)
          Lockhart, Dean (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Con)
          Lyle, Richard (Uddingston and Bellshill) (SNP)
          MacDonald, Angus (Falkirk East) (SNP)
          MacGregor, Fulton (Coatbridge and Chryston) (SNP)
          Mackay, Derek (Renfrewshire North and West) (SNP)
          Mackay, Rona (Strathkelvin and Bearsden) (SNP)
          Maguire, Ruth (Cunninghame South) (SNP)
          Martin, Gillian (Aberdeenshire East) (SNP)
          Mason, John (Glasgow Shettleston) (SNP)
          Mason, Tom (North East Scotland) (Con)
          Matheson, Michael (Falkirk West) (SNP)
          McAlpine, Joan (South Scotland) (SNP)
          McArthur, Liam (Orkney Islands) (LD)
          McKee, Ivan (Glasgow Provan) (SNP)
          McKelvie, Christina (Hamilton, Larkhall and Stonehouse) (SNP)
          McMillan, Stuart (Greenock and Inverclyde) (SNP)
          Mountain, Edward (Highlands and Islands) (Con)
          Mundell, Oliver (Dumfriesshire) (Con)
          Neil, Alex (Airdrie and Shotts) (SNP)
          Paterson, Gil (Clydebank and Milngavie) (SNP)
          Rennie, Willie (North East Fife) (LD)
          Robison, Shona (Dundee City East) (SNP)
          Ross, Gail (Caithness, Sutherland and Ross) (SNP)
          Rumbles, Mike (North East Scotland) (LD)
          Ruskell, Mark (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Green)
          Scott, John (Ayr) (Con)
          Scott, Tavish (Shetland Islands) (LD)
          Simpson, Graham (Central Scotland) (Con)
          Smith, Liz (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Con)
          Somerville, Shirley-Anne (Dunfermline) (SNP)
          Stevenson, Stewart (Banffshire and Buchan Coast) (SNP)
          Stewart, Alexander (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Con)
          Stewart, Kevin (Aberdeen Central) (SNP)
          Swinney, John (Perthshire North) (SNP)
          Todd, Maree (Highlands and Islands) (SNP)
          Tomkins, Adam (Glasgow) (Con)
          Torrance, David (Kirkcaldy) (SNP)
          Watt, Maureen (Aberdeen South and North Kincardine) (SNP)
          Wells, Annie (Glasgow) (Con)
          Wheelhouse, Paul (South Scotland) (SNP)
          White, Sandra (Glasgow Kelvin) (SNP)
          Whittle, Brian (South Scotland) (Con)
          Wightman, Andy (Lothian) (Green)

        • The Presiding Officer:

          The result of the division is: For 22, Against 96, Abstentions 0.

          Amendment disagreed to.

        • The Presiding Officer:

          The next question is, that motion S5M-16555, in the name of Mark Ruskell, on climate emergency, be agreed to. Are we agreed?

          Members: No.

        • The Presiding Officer:

          There will be a division.

          For

          Finnie, John (Highlands and Islands) (Green)
          Greer, Ross (West Scotland) (Green)
          Harvie, Patrick (Glasgow) (Green)
          Johnstone, Alison (Lothian) (Green)
          Ruskell, Mark (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Green)
          Wightman, Andy (Lothian) (Green)

          Against

          Adam, George (Paisley) (SNP)
          Adamson, Clare (Motherwell and Wishaw) (SNP)
          Allan, Alasdair (Na h-Eileanan an Iar) (SNP)
          Arthur, Tom (Renfrewshire South) (SNP)
          Baillie, Jackie (Dumbarton) (Lab)
          Baker, Claire (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Lab)
          Balfour, Jeremy (Lothian) (Con)
          Ballantyne, Michelle (South Scotland) (Con)
          Beamish, Claudia (South Scotland) (Lab)
          Beattie, Colin (Midlothian North and Musselburgh) (SNP)
          Bibby, Neil (West Scotland) (Lab)
          Bowman, Bill (North East Scotland) (Con)
          Briggs, Miles (Lothian) (Con)
          Brown, Keith (Clackmannanshire and Dunblane) (SNP)
          Burnett, Alexander (Aberdeenshire West) (Con)
          Cameron, Donald (Highlands and Islands) (Con)
          Campbell, Aileen (Clydesdale) (SNP)
          Carlaw, Jackson (Eastwood) (Con)
          Chapman, Peter (North East Scotland) (Con)
          Coffey, Willie (Kilmarnock and Irvine Valley) (SNP)
          Cole-Hamilton, Alex (Edinburgh Western) (LD)
          Constance, Angela (Almond Valley) (SNP)
          Corry, Maurice (West Scotland) (Con)
          Crawford, Bruce (Stirling) (SNP)
          Cunningham, Roseanna (Perthshire South and Kinross-shire) (SNP)
          Denham, Ash (Edinburgh Eastern) (SNP)
          Dey, Graeme (Angus South) (SNP)
          Doris, Bob (Glasgow Maryhill and Springburn) (SNP)
          Dornan, James (Glasgow Cathcart) (SNP)
          Dugdale, Kezia (Lothian) (Lab)
          Ewing, Annabelle (Cowdenbeath) (SNP)
          Ewing, Fergus (Inverness and Nairn) (SNP)
          Fabiani, Linda (East Kilbride) (SNP)
          Fee, Mary (West Scotland) (Lab)
          Findlay, Neil (Lothian) (Lab)
          FitzPatrick, Joe (Dundee City West) (SNP)
          Forbes, Kate (Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch) (SNP)
          Fraser, Murdo (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Con)
          Freeman, Jeane (Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley) (SNP)
          Gibson, Kenneth (Cunninghame North) (SNP)
          Gilruth, Jenny (Mid Fife and Glenrothes) (SNP)
          Golden, Maurice (West Scotland) (Con)
          Gougeon, Mairi (Angus North and Mearns) (SNP)
          Grahame, Christine (Midlothian South, Tweeddale and Lauderdale) (SNP)
          Grant, Rhoda (Highlands and Islands) (Lab)
          Gray, Iain (East Lothian) (Lab)
          Greene, Jamie (West Scotland) (Con)
          Griffin, Mark (Central Scotland) (Lab)
          Halcro Johnston, Jamie (Highlands and Islands) (Con)
          Hamilton, Rachael (Ettrick, Roxburgh and Berwickshire) (Con)
          Harper, Emma (South Scotland) (SNP)
          Harris, Alison (Central Scotland) (Con)
          Haughey, Clare (Rutherglen) (SNP)
          Hepburn, Jamie (Cumbernauld and Kilsyth) (SNP)
          Hyslop, Fiona (Linlithgow) (SNP)
          Johnson, Daniel (Edinburgh Southern) (Lab)
          Kelly, James (Glasgow) (Lab)
          Kerr, Liam (North East Scotland) (Con)
          Kidd, Bill (Glasgow Anniesland) (SNP)
          Lamont, Johann (Glasgow) (Lab)
          Lennon, Monica (Central Scotland) (Lab)
          Lindhurst, Gordon (Lothian) (Con)
          Lochhead, Richard (Moray) (SNP)
          Lockhart, Dean (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Con)
          Lyle, Richard (Uddingston and Bellshill) (SNP)
          MacDonald, Angus (Falkirk East) (SNP)
          Macdonald, Lewis (North East Scotland) (Lab)
          MacGregor, Fulton (Coatbridge and Chryston) (SNP)
          Mackay, Derek (Renfrewshire North and West) (SNP)
          Mackay, Rona (Strathkelvin and Bearsden) (SNP)
          Maguire, Ruth (Cunninghame South) (SNP)
          Marra, Jenny (North East Scotland) (Lab)
          Martin, Gillian (Aberdeenshire East) (SNP)
          Mason, Tom (North East Scotland) (Con)
          Matheson, Michael (Falkirk West) (SNP)
          McAlpine, Joan (South Scotland) (SNP)
          McArthur, Liam (Orkney Islands) (LD)
          McDonald, Mark (Aberdeen Donside) (Ind)
          McKee, Ivan (Glasgow Provan) (SNP)
          McKelvie, Christina (Hamilton, Larkhall and Stonehouse) (SNP)
          McMillan, Stuart (Greenock and Inverclyde) (SNP)
          McNeill, Pauline (Glasgow) (Lab)
          Mountain, Edward (Highlands and Islands) (Con)
          Mundell, Oliver (Dumfriesshire) (Con)
          Neil, Alex (Airdrie and Shotts) (SNP)
          Paterson, Gil (Clydebank and Milngavie) (SNP)
          Rennie, Willie (North East Fife) (LD)
          Robison, Shona (Dundee City East) (SNP)
          Ross, Gail (Caithness, Sutherland and Ross) (SNP)
          Rowley, Alex (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Lab)
          Rumbles, Mike (North East Scotland) (LD)
          Sarwar, Anas (Glasgow) (Lab)
          Scott, John (Ayr) (Con)
          Scott, Tavish (Shetland Islands) (LD)
          Simpson, Graham (Central Scotland) (Con)
          Smith, Liz (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Con)
          Smyth, Colin (South Scotland) (Lab)
          Somerville, Shirley-Anne (Dunfermline) (SNP)
          Stevenson, Stewart (Banffshire and Buchan Coast) (SNP)
          Stewart, Alexander (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Con)
          Stewart, David (Highlands and Islands) (Lab)
          Stewart, Kevin (Aberdeen Central) (SNP)
          Swinney, John (Perthshire North) (SNP)
          Todd, Maree (Highlands and Islands) (SNP)
          Tomkins, Adam (Glasgow) (Con)
          Torrance, David (Kirkcaldy) (SNP)
          Watt, Maureen (Aberdeen South and North Kincardine) (SNP)
          Wells, Annie (Glasgow) (Con)
          Wheelhouse, Paul (South Scotland) (SNP)
          White, Sandra (Glasgow Kelvin) (SNP)
          Whittle, Brian (South Scotland) (Con)

        • The Presiding Officer:

          The result of the division is: For 6, Against 111, Abstentions 0.

          Motion disagreed to.

        • The Presiding Officer:

          I propose to ask a single question on motions S5M-16580 to S5M-16585, on the approval of Scottish statutory instruments. As no members object, the question is, that motions S5M-16580 to S5M-16585, in the name of Graeme Dey, on the approval of SSIs, be agreed to.

          Motions agreed to,

          That the Parliament agrees that the Forestry and Land Management (Scotland) Act 2018 (Consequential Amendments) Regulations 2019 [draft] be approved.

          That the Parliament agrees that the Services of Lawyers and Lawyer’s Practice (EU Exit) (Scotland) (Amendment etc.) Regulations 2019 [draft] be approved.

          That the Parliament agrees that the Plant Health (EU Exit) (Scotland) (Amendment etc.) Regulations 2019 [draft] be approved.

          That the Parliament agrees that the Forestry (Exemptions) (Scotland) Regulations 2019 [draft] be approved.

          That the Parliament agrees that the Forestry (EU Exit) (Scotland) (Amendment etc.) Regulations 2019 [draft] be approved.

          That the Parliament agrees that the Cross-border Health Care (EU Exit) (Scotland) (Amendment etc.) Regulations 2019 [draft] be approved.

      • Diet Products (Celebrity Endorsements)
        • The Deputy Presiding Officer (Christine Grahame):

          The final item of business is a members’ business debate on motion S5M-16069, in the name of Shona Robison, on the impact of celebrity endorsements of diet products. The debate will be concluded without any question being put.

          Motion debated,

          That the Parliament recognises the petition, “LET’S STOP influencers and celebrities working with products promoting speedy weight loss”, which has been organised by the founder of the Empowered Women Project, Mandy Jones, and can be found on change.org; understands that Mandy has launched the petition to highlight the dangers of advertising products that encourage rapid weight loss; believes that many celebrities have stated that weight loss companies require a before and after photo when promoting their products, often taken on the same day, which can construct an inaccurate portrayal of healthy weight loss as a result of using a product; acknowledges the potentially significant damaging effects that portrayals of unrealistic body expectations, which are often perpetuated by, and shared widely across, social media, can have on the mental health of young people and adults; notes that Wellbeing Works, Dundee supports the petition stating that the inaccurate portrayal of healthy weight loss as a result of using a product is just one of many messages that young people might be vulnerable to, and that will impact negatively on their confidence and self-esteem and on the relationship that they have with their bodies, and considers that, in some cases, these negative perceptions and poor self-image could potentially go on to affect young women in their life choices, relationships and career opportunities, and ultimately impact on their mental health and wellbeing as they move into adulthood.

          17:16  
        • Shona Robison (Dundee City East) (SNP):

          I thank the many MSPs across the chamber who have added their names to my motion. It shows that the issue and, importantly, the need to confront it has overwhelming support from across this Parliament.

          My motion highlights the petition, “LET’S STOP influencers and celebrities working with products promoting speedy weight loss”, which can be found on change.org. It has already gained more than 7,000 signatures and was organised by the founder of the empowered women project, Mandy Jones, whom I welcome to Parliament, along with others.

          We all know the pressures that young people, particularly girls and women, face these days to look good or have the perfect body, and the damaging effect that that can have on their mental wellbeing. As the mum of a 15-year-old daughter, I know that very well.

          The Office for National Statistics reported that young people who describe themselves as relatively unhappy with their appearance report higher levels of behavioural and emotional difficulties than those who are relatively happy with their appearance. In Scotland, the health behaviour in school-aged children survey found that at the age of 15 more than half of girls described themselves as too fat. According to Wellbeing Works, Dundee, that perception makes them incredibly vulnerable to the kind of irresponsible and false advertising that promotes speedy weight loss.

          A lot of the time, that advertising uses influencers or celebrities to get its message across and it is put out across social media to target specific audiences. The adverts are generally accompanied by before and after photos, often taken on the same day, giving an inaccurate portrayal of the effect of the advertised product. Examples of that type of advert that have then been banned are not hard to find. One for Flat Tummy Tea that appeared on Instagram with before and after photos was banned for the misleading health claims that it made, while others have been banned on the ground of social irresponsibility for promoting unhealthy body images.

          I recognise the work that the Advertising Standards Authority does in investigating those types of adverts, but I would like further restrictions to be introduced and for the ASA to take a more proactive role in policing that type of advertising. To that end, I have been working closely with my colleague Alison Thewliss MP, because the role of the ASA is reserved, to see how we can further highlight the issues and work with the ASA to combat them.

          I met the ASA recently and I know that it would like to do more. One of the outcomes of the meeting was an agreement that my office would collect and compile a dossier of examples of that type of advert to pass on to the ASA for further investigation. I urge my fellow MSPs and the public to get in touch with me with any examples of adverts that they have concerns about and we will take them forward.

          I would like celebrities and others to understand the influence that they can have on younger people and, ultimately, for them to stop endorsing those unhealthy and damaging weight-loss products. They need to realise the negative impact of their endorsements, as Lucinda Evelyn did. She is an Instagram influencer from Glasgow who came out against promoting weight-loss products, saying:

          “It’s almost sort of selling anorexia, eating disorders and mental health problems. It was selling people insecurity and I didn't really agree with that so decided to step back from those kinds of products”.

          Good for her!

          In July 2018, the Scottish Government published “A Healthier Future—Scotland’s Diet & Healthy Weight Delivery Plan”, which recognised the role that advertising, including celebrity endorsements, can play in helping people to make healthier, more responsible food choices. The plan highlighted the need to

          “shift advertising towards healthier options to empower people to make choices ... that support their”

          health

          “and wellbeing”.

          I hope that, rather than contributing to the problem, celebrities will help to promote that vision.

          I understand that the Scottish Government will soon publish research that explores the reported worsening of mental wellbeing among adolescent girls in Scotland, to which body image and social media appear to be large contributing factors. Perhaps in her reply, the minister could outline what action the Scottish Government might take as a result of the research.

          Although the Advertising Standards Authority, Governments and, ultimately, celebrities and influencers have their part to play, social media companies need to take more responsibility for the content that is advertised on their platforms. Unfortunately, I am still waiting on a response from Facebook and Instagram. I would like those companies to be more proactive and socially responsible in dealing with such advertising, and I invite them to let us know what action they will take to address those issues.

          We all need to work together if we are to tackle the issues effectively. I would also like to use the debate to enable a wider discussion on the societal pressures on young people and adults to obtain Instagram-worthy lives and the impact that that is having on mental health. As I said, I have a 15-year-old daughter, so I see at first hand the pressure on young people to conform to a societal or social media definition of what is beautiful. I am sure that we can all relate to that.

          We want to send a different message to our young people, one with the hashtags #BeHappyAndHealthy, #BeBeautifulInYourOwnWay and #BeWhatMakesYouYou. I hope that the debate will contribute to achieving that aim and will serve as a call to address the issues. [Applause.]

          17:21  
        • Kenneth Gibson (Cunninghame North) (SNP):

          I congratulate my colleague Shona Robison on bringing this important topic to the chamber, and Mandy Jones, the founder of the empowered women project, on her petition calling on the Advertising Standards Authority to better regulate social media influencers.

          Celebrity endorsements are almost as old as advertising itself, but in recent years there has been a worrying rise in the number of celebrities endorsing diet or weight-loss products, particularly online. Those adverts often take the form of a young woman posing with a packet of a so-called “flat-tummy tea”, which usually has not even been opened for the picture. Such adverts are not on the sides of buses or in magazines; instead, they populate the lnstagram feeds of the rich and famous.

          Behind the glamorous photos lies an ugly reality: many such products are simply laxatives or diuretics that might cause cramping, stomach pains, diarrhoea and dehydration. Worryingly, the posts offer little or no information about the product’s side effects and main ingredients, the potential harm that could be caused or the science behind how the product is supposed to work. Instead, we see glossy adverts by paid celebrities and influencers who have no expertise or authority in nutrition, medicine or human biology.

          Some online celebrities have shared their experiences of predatory companies. One such celebrity, with 230,000 Twitter followers and 178,000 Instagram followers, said:

          “I’ve had numerous requests from ‘detox tea’ companies who want me to promote their product. They never stipulate that I need to use the product, they just want me to post a pretty picture and imply that I look good because of their poisonous tea.”

          What is particularly galling about the practice is that the wealthy celebrities who promote the products might never have even sampled them, and can thank their personal trainer, nutritionist or plastic surgeon, or Photoshop, for the public physique that their followers hope to emulate.

          That false and irresponsible advertising is part of a pervasive and disturbing rhetoric that preys on eating-disordered behaviour and often exploits young, naive and vulnerable consumers who may not understand the health implications of using diet products. Last year, 536 people were treated for an eating disorder in Scotland, and their recovery is threatened by reckless advertising practices. Science tells us that quick-fix weight loss is never the answer and that the risks far outweigh any perceived benefits. As the old saying goes, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

          Doctors are now asking that the unethical advertising practice of celebrity ads for diet aids be banned by social media companies. The ASA now takes complaints against celebrity diet endorsements seriously. A high-profile complaint was recently upheld against “Geordie Shore” personage Sophie Kasaei. In one photograph, she is seen with a bloated belly and a high ponytail; in the next photo, her weight and hair are down. The caption reads:

          “Nothings gonna get you flat the same as this tea will. The excuses are in the past, much like the water weight I used to have.”

          The ASA investigated two complaints about Kasaei’s post, upholding both as breaching the Committees of Advertising Practice code. The first challenged Kasaei’s claim that the tea could help with water retention, finding that Nomad Choice, the company that sold Flat Tummy Tea, had no scientific data to back it up. The second challenged Flat Tummy Tea’s name, which is not compliant with the EU’s register of nutrition and health claims. Although I am pleased that the advert was subsequently banned and that the ASA took action, it only happened seven months after its first appearance on the home pages of Kasaei’s 1.9 million online followers. The damage had already been done.

          Indeed, although such complaints create headlines, it is important to remember that only the UK is under the ASA’s jurisdiction, while our mobile phones give us access to global content. It is therefore incumbent on platforms such as lnstagram, Twitter and Facebook to police the kind of paid promotion that is permitted on their apps. In the terms of use, Instagram users are asked to agree to foster

          “a positive, inclusive, and safe environment.”

          The promotion of potentially dangerous diet products quite clearly flies in the face of that, and Instagram must do more to protect its users. One would also hope that celebrities would consider the potential impact on impressionable people before accepting payment for such endorsements.

          I am pleased by the UK Government’s plans to create a new independent regulator to enforce a duty of care for social media platforms, with far-reaching powers requiring firms to take down illegal or harmful material under new legally binding codes. I again thank Shona Robison and hope that the issues raised in her motion are incorporated into those plans in order to diminish the disingenuous and dangerous marketing of harmful diet products. [Applause.]

        • The Deputy Presiding Officer:

          I note the applause from the gallery. I understand why people might do it, but we do not permit the public to applaud during a debate.

          17:26  
        • Annie Wells (Glasgow) (Con):

          I am really thankful to Shona Robison for securing this important debate, and I, too, thank Mandy Jones, the founder of the empowered woman project, for submitting her petition.

          Of course, it is not just women who are affected by this, but speaking as a woman, I am only too aware of the pressures that we face to look a certain way. In the past, I have succumbed to diet products that promised me the world but left me disappointed, and I am sure that I am not the only person in this place to have bought meal replacement milkshakes and celebrity fitness videos.

          However, I see the hidden pressures that are faced by young people, and the peer-led advertisements on social media with which teenagers are continually being bombarded and which are more discreet than traditional television advertising. Sometimes they are for products that encourage rapid weight loss and which, as a result, potentially create unrealistic body expectations and low self-esteem. It is absolutely right that we tackle this issue together and call out a practice that has hidden dangers for the mental health of an entire generation of women.

          As much as I like to think of myself as being young, I am not the target market for these celebrity endorsements. I do not watch much reality TV, I do not really use Instagram and I have reached an age at which I am cynical enough to recognise false promises. However, the scary thing is that this sort of advertising is very much targeted at young people and predominantly young women. The difference between now and 20—or even 10—years ago is the existence of the smartphone, which, as we know, is increasingly coming under fire for the impact that it can have on people’s mental health. Instead of the odd TV advert catching people’s attention, peer-led or sponsored advertising is constantly bombarding young people and adults via social media. If we bear in mind how often we are on our phones these days, it is hardly surprising that this has become a lucrative business.

          According to the experts, diet supplements pose a risk to health. Detox teas and weight-loss coffees are among the products that in recent years have surged in popularity due to celebrity endorsements. However, the same products are often not endorsed by official bodies, so we cannot say what has or has not been medically approved. As we have heard, some products have come under fire for not clearly advertising that they contain laxatives, and even those that do not contain laxatives often contain diuretics that can cause dehydration, diarrhoea and fluid loss followed by fluid regain. Often they are sold on the basis that they should be taken continually over a certain period of time, but without much guidance on what people should be eating.

          Such products are sold by celebrities who are approached by companies because of their popularity and following on social media. What makes that all the more concerning is that the companies wish to benefit from the relationship between celebrity and fan—a relationship that is based on trust and adoration.

          I admit that, until I started writing my speech for the debate, I had not heard of most of the products that have been referred to. To get a better understanding, I asked a young member of my team to show me some of the celebrity accounts that push such products, and I was shocked by how image focused the posts are and how difficult it would be for most people to obtain a similar physique. More to the point, I can understand how, when bombarded by such images, those who are exposed forget that it is possible to be a healthy weight without looking like their favourite celebrity. Such images risk making unrealistic body expectations the norm, and those expectations negatively affect people’s self-esteem. No one wants that to happen, particularly when it can have a long-term impact on people’s lives.

          I again thank Mandy Jones for her hard work on the campaign. As so many children and young people are affected by mental health issues, it makes absolutely no sense for images and products that we know to be potentially harmful to be promoted simply to line the pockets of a few individuals. I believe that social media companies and celebrities have a greater role to play, and I hope that the debate will spark a wider discussion on this important topic.

          17:30  
        • Monica Lennon (Central Scotland) (Lab):

          I thank Shona Robison for securing this important debate and I pay tribute to Mandy Jones for highlighting the issue, which is important. I hope that, by the end of the debate, more people will have signed Mandy’s petition.

          Social media can be a positive platform and, used responsibly, it can change society for the better. Personally, I find social media to be a useful tool to promote campaigns, such as those spreading period positive messages, and to bring together wonderful campaigners. However, there is a very ugly side of social media that involves people spreading hate speech and the trolls who viciously target others, often with little action from Twitter or Facebook, which in my experience do not often reply even to politicians.

          Young social media users are exposed to the good and the bad. Young people such as my 12-year-old daughter now have greater access than ever to the celebrities who they admire. Young people look up to their heroes and want to be a little bit like them. They follow make-up tutorials and fashion trends, and they buy perfumes, make-up and clothing branded with their favourite celebrity’s name and image. However, shockingly, those everyday product endorsements have, as we have heard, become something far more sinister, especially through social media. Weight-loss products are being marketed to our young people in a damaging and entirely unethical way. Celebrities and influencers are endorsing diet and detox products that they know little about and exploiting young people’s trust while reaping the financial rewards.

          As well as the fact that the products are untried and untested by the celebrity endorsers, the claims about the results that they bring are completely misleading. Maintaining a healthy weight is important and, for most of us, it can be achieved by a good diet and exercise. However, these products falsely promise a quick fix. As Shona Robison explained, before and after photographs are often taken on the same day, but with slightly different lighting, so they are entirely fake. Young people are parting with their pocket money or hard-earned cash for nothing more than magic beans.

          Like other members, I am extremely concerned about the potential harm to health. Ingredients have been found to be toxic and, tragically, people have died after taking diet pills. Just last month, Scotland’s food watchdog issued a warning about the deadly substance known as DNP, which is found in some diet pills and which has caused 26 people to die since 2007. Huge harm is also done by encouraging disordered eating. We know that eating disorders can be fatal, and the charity Beat has said that anorexia nervosa has the highest mortality rate of any psychiatric illness. Anorexia is experienced by more women than men, which is unsurprising when we are surrounded by damaging portrayals about how women should look.

          It is important to stress that many celebrities use their status to inspire and empower others. For example, Jameela Jamil has used her celebrity platform to call out celebrity diet pill endorsements. I agree with her when she describes those celebrities as

          “double agents for the patriarchy”.

          These predatory adverts are saying to young people, “You’re not good enough as you are, but take this pill and you will be.” That exacerbates people’s insecurities. Is it any wonder that people are tempted to take diet pills that promise a quick fix when they come recommended by trusted idols?

          I pay tribute to all campaigners who use their platforms for good by spreading body-positive images and messages and seeking to ban predatory celebrity endorsements. Shona Robison is correct to say that the ASA should be more proactive and social media firms should stop advertising potentially harmful products.

          17:35  
        • Angela Constance (Almond Valley) (SNP):

          Like other members, I express my appreciation for and gratitude to Shona Robison for securing this evening’s important debate, which exposes the unhealthy impacts and risks of celebrity-endorsed diet products.

          I also thank the project in Dundee that Ms Robison mentioned, Wellbeing Works, and welcome our guests to the public gallery. I appreciate the work of Mandy Jones, from the empowered women project, in launching the significant “Let’s stop” petition on change.org.

          Like Monica Lennon, I have been struck by the positive action of some celebrities, such as the actress Jameela Jamil, who has called out what is a scary rise in celebrity endorsements of quick-fix diets and detox programmes and she has called on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and Snapchat to ban such adverts. I think that all members who are in the chamber tonight support that call. Jameela Jamil’s testimony is important, because she experienced anorexia as a teenager. She talks about how she was influenced by celebrities as role models when she was growing up.

          In the few minutes that I have to speak in the debate, I will succeed, I suppose, in sounding either very old or just like my mother, but the great thing about being in my 40s—and I am well into my 40s—is that I have learned to dump certain concerns. I stopped caring a long time ago about things like varicose veins, cellulite and the size of my—how can I put it in parliamentary language?—derrière, simply on the basis that I do not need to look at what is behind me.

          My mother always said that being the perfect 10 would not make me happier, and she was absolutely right. As I look back on all my adult life, I can see that if I had been a size 10 as opposed to a size 14, absolutely nothing would have changed; there is nothing in my life that makes me happy now that would be affected in any shape or form by that.

          Being the ideal weight or body shape changes absolutely nothing. However, unhealthy weight loss and obsession with body shape and size can—and do—have massive consequences for people of all ages, particularly young people.

          Professor Stephen Powis, along with many other experts, has spoken about the risks of quick-fix weight loss and how they always outweigh the benefits. We heard from Kenny Gibson about various side effects.

          I am sure that all members agree that we have a responsibility to protect young people’s mental health. Celebrities on social media must not stoke body image anxiety among young girls—and boys; all our young people face unprecedented pressures.

          It is difficult to impart to young people the resilience that comes with age and experience without sounding old, patronising or out of touch, but I have been genuinely shocked by some of the images on social media that I have seen. It is easy for someone like me, who is well into their 40s, to be flippant and to laugh about the fact that all the cabbage soup and detox tea in the world could never result in any part of my anatomy defying gravity. However, members will know that I am thinking about Kim Kardashian, et cetera.

          Like other members, I want social media outlets and advertising agencies to take further action to protect our young people. There are many parallels with the action that has been taken on cigarette and alcohol advertising and the work that the Government is doing to consider regulations relating to other cosmetic products.

          The biggest thing that we can do for our young people is to support them to have critical minds and to be critical about the adult world around us. We need to nurture our young people to know their own minds and to be strong and resilient enough to make their own informed choices and to lead their own lives.

        • The Deputy Presiding Officer:

          I reassure Ms Constance and Ms Wells that nobody is old while I am in the chair; I can give you 30 years.

          17:40  
        • Brian Whittle (South Scotland) (Con):

          Angela Constance should not worry about having to say that she is in her late 40s; I wish I was able to say that.

          I, too, thank Shona Robison for bringing the debate to the chamber and giving us the opportunity to highlight what is becoming a growing health problem.

          In just about any circumstance—crash dieting or the use of so-called weight loss products, for example—rapid weight loss is unhealthy and inherently dangerous. Furthermore, such an approach to weight loss is destined to fail. The human body is not designed to fast; when it is starved of nutrients, it will begin to consume itself. That can cause lasting damage to internal organs. It also slows down the metabolism, which means that the body will function on fewer calories, which will necessitate even less food consumption to maintain body weight. In other words, it is an unsustainable way to lose weight. I will not apologise for being quite so graphic, because that is the reality of what we are discussing.

          I have said many times in the chamber that we need to change the conversation. We need to stop talking about fat and thin, about active and inactive, and about food that is good for us and food that is bad for us. No wonder there is so much confusion out there among our youth. We need to start talking about maintaining a healthy, balanced lifestyle, and we need to take that conversation into schools for children at the youngest possible age.

          The use of celebrity endorsements is not new, of course, but celebrities need to have a certain degree of responsibility, as has been said. I totally understand that people are making a living while they can, but endorsements such as those for magic weight-loss pills are simply dangerous, as I have already mentioned, and celebrities who associate themselves with and endorse such products will damage their reputation in the end.

          The solution is multifaceted. We not only need to highlight and call out the practices that are highlighted in Shona Robison’s motion; a sustained campaign on what a healthy, active lifestyle looks like is crucial to the success of Mandy Jones’s petition. We should shout louder than them—I know that some MSPs are particularly good at that. Governments are probably the only organisations that are positioned to counter such marketing strategies and that have the budgets to do so.

          We should start to use positive role models. In my experience, sportsmen and women are much more careful about what they associate themselves with and are much more cognisant of the impact of the products that they endorse. We need look no further than our own back door for great candidates: athletes such as Laura Muir, Lynsey Sharp and Elish McColgan; the Scottish women’s football team captain, Rachel Corsie; and the Scotland rugby captain, Lisa Thomson, for example. Surely it is within the competence of the Parliament to run our own positive campaign against those bad practices, using such women as role models. As I have said, it is about changing the conversation.

          Another consideration is managing expectations. I was once asked if I could write a training programme that would give the recipient abs like Jessica Ennis’s. Of course, it is entirely possible to have them—as long as the person has six hours a day to train.

          That is the crux of what we are saying. The unrealistic expectations that bombard our youngsters through all media channels are driving behaviour that endangers the health of those who search for the magic bullet. We need to be able to tell them that the solution that they are looking for lies in a normal active, healthy lifestyle. We also need to ensure that there is access to that opportunity—but that is a debate for another time.

          In conclusion, we need to change the conversation. If a person wants cake, they can have it, but they should make sure that it is not their staple diet.

          17:45  
        • The Minister for Mental Health (Clare Haughey):

          I begin by thanking Shona Robison for lodging the motion. I also want to congratulate Mandy Jones, who launched the petition, and welcome her to the Parliament.

          I am fairly certain that this is the first time that this topic has been brought to the chamber. However, what we have heard today clearly shows that it is a serious emerging issue that merits our full attention. I will talk about what we are doing in Scotland, but we should not forget that this matters to people worldwide. The ubiquity of social media, and its effects on body image, should be of universal concern.

          I agree with Shona Robison that we all need to start thinking carefully about the impact that celebrity endorsement of dietary supplements can have on our physical and mental health. I will use some of my time to speak about that broader picture.

          First, it is worth focusing on the consequences for mental health of this type of advertising, and the connections between it and negative body image. They are closely interrelated. There is good evidence that body image concerns are associated with poorer mental wellbeing among children and adolescents. Across the UK, young people who describe themselves as being “relatively unhappy” with their appearance report higher levels of behavioural and emotional difficulties than those who are “relatively happy” with their appearance. Similarly, adolescents who describe themselves as being “too fat” report lower mental wellbeing than those who describe themselves as being “about the right size”. We also know that adolescent girls in Scotland tend to have a poorer perception of how they look than boys do, and that gap is widening. The 2014 health behaviours in school-aged children survey found that, at all ages, girls are more likely than boys to report that they are “too fat”, and are less likely to think that they are good looking. Those numbers are hugely concerning.

          There is an overarching point about stigma. Young people tell us that there are all sorts of barriers that prevent them from talking openly about their mental health, and seeking help when they need it. One of those many reasons is the pressure on young people that unrealistic images can create, particularly when presented on social media. That, in turn, risks the normalisation of unhealthy behaviours.

          We should not be in any doubt about how normalised dietary supplements have become. The issue is not just how they are marketed, particularly through social media. It is also to do with the fact that they are sold widely, including on the high street. We should also be in no doubt that they are potentially unhealthy—I use that term in the broadest possible sense.

          As we have heard, celebrities and many others have promoted a variety of dietary products through their various social media channels. Those promotions can reach literally tens of millions of people in real time. The demographics of platforms such as Instagram mean that, very often, those are young people.

          The products in question are carefully and deliberately marketed as a lifestyle choice, and are often sold in packs containing weekly or monthly supplies. They are clearly designed to encourage people to take them every day; they are self-evidently not one-off supplements. They are also unregulated, with their full effects often disguised, or undisclosed entirely.

          These products promise quick and easy weight loss and associated health benefits. At best, they are misleading; at worst, they can be actively dangerous. The fact that they are casually promoted through platforms such as Instagram or Twitter, as if just part of the normal browsing experience, is deeply troubling.

          Just last month, we had eating disorders awareness week. What we have heard today is part of that story. This is ultimately about the relentless pressure that society exerts on people, and particularly young women, to conform to an expectation of perfection. More and more young people tell us that body image, and dissatisfaction with their appearance, harms their mental wellbeing. Seeing celebrities who have tens of millions of followers on social media promoting appetite-suppressing products is a significant contributing factor to that harm.

          I want to mention three specific pieces of work that the Government will be taking forward in response to some of these issues. First, we will publish an analytical research report over the coming weeks that will explore the reported worsening of mental wellbeing among young women in Scotland. Body image and social media are two of the key themes of that report, which I hope will also address the relevant recommendations that are contained in the Public Audit and Post-legislative Scrutiny Committee’s “Report on children and young people's mental health”, which was published earlier this month.

          Secondly, I announced in February that we will produce Scotland-specific advice on the healthy use of social media. That advice will be co-produced by young people for young people, and I intend for it to be world leading. I am happy to commit today that this topic will be included in the advice. In particular, I want to ensure that young people are properly informed about how social media can promote unrealistic expectations, and how they can avoid that trap.

          Thirdly, we will continue our direct conversations with young people on what matters to them with regard to mental health. Members might be aware of our feels FM campaign—in partnership with the see me programme—which used the power of music to encourage young people to talk about how they are feeling. Thousands of young people took part and the details of what they told us will be published over the coming months. I am determined that an on-going dialogue with young people will be at the heart of how we develop our policy on mental health, and body image is an issue that young people frequently raise as a concern.

        • Monica Lennon:

          I am sure that, like me, the minister welcomes the steps that Shona Robison outlined and the work that Alison Thewliss is doing to take these issues up with the Advertising Standards Authority directly. Can the minister outline any steps that this Government is taking to raise these matters directly with the UK Government, the ASA and the social media companies that we have all talked about tonight?

        • Clare Haughey:

          As Monica Lennon is aware, internet safety regulation remains a reserved issue and any decisions on regulation and legislation are currently made by the UK Government. However, we work with partners to encourage safe and responsible use of the internet. We actively engage with the UK Government on the development of its internet safety strategies and are engaging with it on its white paper on online harms, and we will engage with it on any subsequent regulation or legislation that comes out of that. As I said at the start of my speech, it is important that we do not see this as a Scotland-only issue; this is a worldwide problem.

          When I have been out and about in my Rutherglen constituency, I have heard personally many times about the concerns that young people have about the effect that social media has on them. Pupils at my local schools are fearless in talking about the topic—they say that it matters to them. We must ensure that young people are able to talk with the Government directly so that we can act on what we hear and provide the advice and support that young people feel that they need.

          All the speakers this evening have made interesting contributions. It was encouraging to hear so much consensus from Kenneth Gibson, Annie Wells, Monica Lennon, Angela Constance and Brian Whittle on the importance of the issue, and on how a cross-party approach will help us to ensure that young people get the voice that they need in developing policy across the UK.

          In closing, I note that the theme of the forthcoming mental health awareness week 2019 is “Body Image—how we think and feel about our bodies.” I warmly welcome that and I understand that the Mental Health Foundation will publish a research report during the week, which will make specific recommendations. The Government will consider those very carefully and I hope that the report will take the opportunity to address the issues that were raised this evening.

          I thank all members who contributed to the debate and, again, pay tribute to my colleague Shona Robison for bringing the issue to the chamber this evening.

          Meeting closed at 17:53.