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Chamber and committees

Meeting of the Parliament (Hybrid)

Meeting date: Tuesday, November 15, 2022

Agenda: Time for Reflection, Presiding Officer’s Statement, Point of Order, Topical Question Time, Gaelic and Scots, Decision Time, Neurological Conditions


Contents


Presiding Officer’s Statement

The Presiding Officer (Alison Johnstone)

Before we move to the next item of business, I wish to address an issue that occurred at the Equalities, Human Rights and Civil Justice Committee this morning that members might be aware of, and which members have raised with me.

At that meeting, a visitor to the public gallery was asked to remove a purple, green and white scarf. Having declined to do so, the visitor was informed that she would not be able to return to the gallery. That request was made by officials in connection with the Parliament’s code of conduct for visitors, which sets out that

“The display of banners, flags or political slogans, including on clothing and accessories”

is forbidden.

Let me make one thing crystal clear: suffrage colours are not, and never have been, banned at the Scottish Parliament. We actively support and promote universal suffrage in a number of ways at Holyrood, and we will continue to do so.

I advise the chamber that the action that was taken this morning was not prompted by any member of the committee. The action that was taken was an error, and I apologise for it on behalf of the Parliament. The wearing of a scarf in those colours does not, in itself, breach the code of conduct for visitors. The Parliament wishes people to engage with the democratic process, including observing elected representatives debating and making the law of the country.

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

Presiding Officer, thank you for making it clear that no breach of the code of conduct occurred during this morning’s committee meeting. I had planned to make a point of order regarding the issue. It is important that you have confirmed that MSPs are treated in exactly the same way as members of the public, and that wearing the suffragette colours does not breach the guidelines that have been set by this Parliament. I thank you for your intervention, for sharing that with Parliament and for being clear regarding that matter.