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Chamber and committees

Meeting of the Parliament

Meeting date: Wednesday, November 23, 2022

Agenda: Presiding Officer’s Statement, Urgent Question, Portfolio Question Time, Primary Care, Cost of Living: Mortgage Rescue Scheme, NHS Forth Valley, Point of Order, Business Motion, Decision Time, International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women


Point of Order

Gillian Mackay (Central Scotland) (Green)

On a point of order, Presiding Officer. During the urgent question, my colleague Ross Greer referenced the number of votes that were won by ourselves and the Scottish National Party and the corresponding number for the Tories, Labour and the Lib Dems in the last election. During that question, from a sedentary position, Douglas Ross was heard by several members shouting, “He’s lying.”

I would like to provide a small maths lesson for Mr Ross, despite the fact that he is not in the chamber. Of all of the votes cast—both regional and constituency votes—the total for the Greens and the SNP was 2,640,892, and for the Tories, Labour and the Lib Dems the total was 2,624,835.

Ms Mackay, as I said yesterday, points of order must refer to matters of procedure that relate to the standing orders.

Gillian Mackay

That was my next sentence.

Given that this is the second time in a week that Mr Ross has used language to either imply or directly accuse others of lying, could you tell the chamber whether that is a breach of the code of conduct and what mechanism can be used to address such poor behaviour?

The Presiding Officer

Within months of the Parliament’s establishment, the first Presiding Officer, Sir David Steel, set out the position that, while

“Challenges to the accuracy of opinions and facts are ... perfectly in order”—

and I will always respect the right of members to make such challenges—

“the chair will not tolerate an accusation that a fellow member”—[Official Report, 16 March 2000; c 752.]

has been deliberately untruthful. I will always protect the rights of members to scrutinise and challenge each other. However, where I am clear that an accusation of that nature has been made, I will intervene.