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Language: English / Gàidhlig

Chamber and committees

Meeting of the Parliament

Meeting date: Wednesday, January 25, 2023

Agenda: Point of Order, Portfolio Question Time, Urgent Question, Point of Order, Homelessness, Housing, Genetic Technology (Precision Breeding) Bill, Public Order Bill, UK Infrastructure Bank Bill, Business Motion, Parliamentary Bureau Motions, Decision Time, Childcare


Point of Order

The Deputy Presiding Officer (Liam McArthur)

Good afternoon.

Christine Grahame (Midlothian South, Tweeddale and Lauderdale) (SNP)

On a point of order, Presiding Officer. The events over the past week have been unprecedented. The United Kingdom Government’s decision to invoke a section 35 order in response to the Scottish Parliament overwhelmingly passing the Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Bill in December raises serious questions about devolution that should be of huge concern to every member serving the Scottish people in this institution.

Furthermore, concerns about the matter have been amplified in recent days, given that UK Government ministers—namely, Alister Jack and Kemi Badenoch—have refused three invitations to appear before Scottish Parliament committees to explain their extraordinary use of a section 35 order to block a bill that is defined clearly within the powers and responsibilities of the Scottish Parliament.

In the light of that, under rule 12.4 of standing orders, which refers to section 23 of the Scotland Act 1998, what can be done to ensure that the UK Government respects the Scottish Parliament, its devolved powers and the legislation that we pass, and that this Parliament holds the UK Government accountable for blocking the passing of a devolved law that, as I said, was overwhelmingly supported by parties across the chamber?

The Deputy Presiding Officer

I thank Ms Grahame for advance notice of her point of order. I know that the committees sent out letters, and I have noted the responses. In the first instance, it is a matter for the committees to decide how they wish to proceed in eliciting the information that they are looking for. I do not think that there is an awful lot more that I can add at this stage.