Meeting date: Friday, April 24, 2020
COVID-19 Committee 24 April 2020
Agenda: Convener, Deputy Convener, Covid-19 (Scottish Government Response), Work Programme
I welcome members to the first meeting of the Covid-19 Committee.
I acknowledge that the committee exists only because of the extraordinary circumstances that we face. I record the committee’s condolences to all those who have lost loved ones, and we applaud all those who are working tirelessly to save lives and those who are working to keep us safe and well in our homes.
I thank all members for their attendance today in these unusual circumstances. I also thank our parliamentary staff—in particular, the broadcasting office—for all their hard work in setting up this remote formal meeting of the committee.
As we are meeting remotely, I request that members speak only via the chair. No apologies have been received.
The first item that is listed on our agenda is declarations of relevant interests; members all have an entry in the published register of members’ interests. However, given that we are meeting remotely, rather than go round each member individually now, I invite members to declare relevant interests when they speak for the first time. I have no relevant interests to declare.
Under agenda item 2, the committee’s task is to choose a convener. The procedure is explained in paper 2 from the clerks.
The Parliament has agreed that only members of the Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party are eligible for nomination as convener of the committee. I understand that Murdo Fraser is that party’s nominee for the post. No member objects to Murdo Fraser being chosen as convener. As there are no objections, we agree to his being chosen. I congratulate Murdo on his appointment, and now hand over the chair to him.
Murdo Fraser was chosen as convener.
I thank Stewart Stevenson for chairing the first two pieces of committee business, and I thank the committee for choosing me as its convener.
As Stewart Stevenson acknowledged, this committee would not exist if not for the pandemic that we are facing. I add my sympathy for those who have lost loved ones, and I express, on behalf of all the committee’s members, our thanks to all those who are working so hard to keep us safe and well.
I also thank the people in the Parliament who have helped us to set up the committee meeting today. The committee is in a unique set of circumstances that will bring their own challenges in the time ahead.
The committee sees its role very much as being to support all those who are on the front line and in Government, through scrutiny of public policy.
I declare, as is in my register of interests, that I am a member of the Law Society of Scotland and that I have property interests that generate rental income.