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Language: English / Gàidhlig

Chamber and committees

Meeting of the Parliament

Meeting date: Tuesday, March 14, 2023

Agenda: Time for Reflection, Topical Question Time, Trade (Australia and New Zealand) Bill: United Kingdom Legislation, Net Zero: Local Government and Cross-sectoral Partners, Business Motions, Parliamentary Bureau Motion, Decision Time, International Long Covid Day


Parliamentary Bureau Motion

The Deputy Presiding Officer (Annabelle Ewing)

The next item of business is consideration of Parliamentary Bureau motion S6M-08230, on the suspension of standing orders.

Motion moved,

That the Parliament agrees that Rule 15.2.1 of Standing Orders be suspended on 15 March 2023.—[George Adam]


Neil Bibby (West Scotland) (Lab)

I oppose the suspension of rule 15.2.1 of standing orders, which would close the public gallery tomorrow, Wednesday, 15 March 2023.

This is the second time that such a motion has been put to the chamber in a matter of weeks as a result of our parliamentary staff lawfully withdrawing their labour. It was wrong previously to shut the public gallery and it is wrong now. As I have said before, in excluding the public from the Parliament’s meetings, we are in direct contradiction of not only the Parliament’s founding principles but the Scotland Act 1998. Therefore, we should reject the motion. We should not casually cast aside the principles of openness and accountability whenever they are inconvenient, especially when there are viable alternatives, as our colleagues in the Welsh Senedd have shown.

Regardless of our views on the industrial action, as parliamentarians and democrats who are accountable to the people of Scotland, we should surely all agree that to close the public gallery is wrong. We are now further down a slippery slope where it is deemed convenient to shut the people out of the Parliament. Therefore, I ask members to oppose the motion.


The Scottish Parliament is sitting tomorrow, and the Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body has recommended that the public gallery should close due to staffing levels. I accept that recommendation from the SPCB.

The question on the motion will be put at decision time.