Skip to main content

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

Emma Roddick (Highlands and Islands) (SNP)

On a point of order, Presiding Officer. I would like to raise a serious concern that proper parliamentary procedure has not been followed ahead of today’s Conservative Party debates.

As you might know, members across the chamber, outwith the Conservative Party, did not have official advance sight of the second of today’s party business debates until after 1 pm yesterday, which was late in the parliamentary working day. We were informed of the topic of the debate only when a pre-prepared briefing from Scottish Land & Estates and the Scottish Association of Landlords landed in members’ inboxes at 3.40 pm the day before.

Further, the Conservative Party appears to have issued a press release to the media containing details of today’s motion before that motion was agreed by the Parliamentary Bureau. [Interruption.]

The Deputy Presiding Officer (Liam McArthur)

Members, please listen to Ms Roddick with a degree of respect.

Emma Roddick

That the Conservative Party thought it appropriate to communicate parliamentary business to landlord lobby groups and the press before it did so to the Parliament is a matter of profound concern. Indeed, given that the Tory member Stephen Kerr has previously stated in the chamber that it is

“a matter of fundamental respect to the Scottish Parliament”—[Official Report, 15 December 2022; c 29.]

that business is communicated first to the Presiding Officer and members—as opposed to the media or interested stakeholders—it is only appropriate that I raise this point of order and request an apology from the Scottish Conservatives, so that proper democratic process and the integrity of the Scottish Parliament are not further undermined.

The Deputy Presiding Officer

I thank Ms Roddick for advance notice of her point of order. Although guidance determines that the Government must respect the place of Parliament when making announcements, there is no formal arrangement in relation to Opposition parties. I can inform members that there was a delay on one of the motions being circulated while issues of admissibility were considered. However, as a matter of courtesy and respect, it would have been preferable had the details of the debates not appeared in the public domain before the wider Parliament was informed of the topics.