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Language: English / Gàidhlig

Chamber and committees

Meeting of the Parliament (Hybrid)

Meeting date: Thursday, October 29, 2020

Agenda: First Minister’s Question Time, Point of Order, Brian Taylor, Portfolio Question Time, European Union Exit (Further and Higher Education), UK Withdrawal from the European Union (Continuity) (Scotland) Bill: Stage 1, Points of Order, UK Withdrawal from the European Union (Continuity) (Scotland) Bill: Financial Resolution, Decision Time


Point of Order

Johann Lamont (Glasgow) (Lab)

On a point of order, Presiding Officer. This relates to the role of members in interrogating the work of the Scottish Government.

I note your willingness to extend the session and I note and particularly respect the First Minister’s willingness to continue answering questions, but we must all accept that there is a serious problem about MSPs being able fully to explore all the issues—Covid and non-Covid—in one session.

I suggest that part of that challenge comes from including a significant statement like today’s as part of First Minister’s questions. Presiding Officer, will you ask the Parliamentary Bureau to consider separating any statement on the progress on levels of restriction—some of which are, I understand, being looked at daily—from FMQs, enabling more questions to be raised? A statement could perhaps be made on Tuesday. Could the bureau also consider the role of the COVID-19 Committee and how it might engage with the First Minister on those serious issues?

The Presiding Officer (Ken Macintosh)

I thank Johann Lamont for her point of order. There are still more than a dozen members who wished to ask the First Minister a question and who have not been able to make a contribution as we have not been able to make time for them today.

This is a matter of on-going debate at the bureau. I suggest that Johann Lamont puts her proposal through her business manager. I will also note it and bring it to the bureau.

I remind all—[Interruption.] One second. Points of order are for me to answer.

I remind all members that, at the moment, the Parliamentary Bureau is leading a specific piece of work on the process of parliamentary scrutiny in light of the stage that we have reached in our response to Covid. We have appealed to all members to bring forward suggestions such as Ms Lamont’s, specifically on the question whether we are allocating enough parliamentary time for members to raise issues on behalf of their constituents. That is on the agenda for Tuesday and I will take Ms Lamont’s suggestion to the bureau.

The First Minister would also like to speak.

The First Minister (Nicola Sturgeon)

I appreciate that there was a lot of information, but I did say in my statement that it is the Government’s intention to come to the Parliament and to make a statement each Tuesday, if changes are being made to the levels. I recognise the limitations of doing that before FMQs.

More broadly, I appreciate that my answers can be lengthy. I am trying to give as much information as possible. Equally, I am always happy to stay here for as long as possible to answer all the questions that MSPs have.

That is noted. The fact that we have had an hour and a half for this session is appreciated. These matters are discussed at the bureau every week.