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Language: English / Gàidhlig


Chamber and committees

Meeting date: Tuesday, November 2, 2021

Meeting of the Parliament (Hybrid) 02 November 2021

Agenda: Time for Reflection, Topical Question Time, Covid-19, Sustainable Procurement and Fair Work Practices, Point of Order, Business Motion, Decision Time, Menopause


Point of Order

On a point of order, Presiding Officer. Earlier today, I asked the Cabinet Secretary for Justice and Veterans about a Scottish Prison Service policy in respect of prison mail. The policy is that contaminated mail items are given to prisoners on their release. I explained that officers are angry and worried about that, and further stated that they feel complicit in what they describe as “state-sponsored drug dealing”. In response, the cabinet secretary stated;

“I do not believe that it is right to call prison officers drug dealers, even to make a political point.”

As a new MSP, I try to avoid making personal attacks and false comments—[Interruption.]

Can we hear the point of order, please?

I strive to avoid making personal attacks and false comments about colleagues of all parties. Presiding Officer, with respect to rule 7.3 of standing orders, which is about order in the chamber, what options are available to you, or to me, in respect of the cabinet secretary’s false and deeply offensive comment?

I thank the member for his point of order. As he will be aware, the content of contributions during proceedings is the responsibility of members themselves—[Interruption.] Excuse me, Mr Halcro Johnston. I am in the middle of responding to your colleague’s point of order. Thank you.

I will repeat that. As the member will be aware, the content of contributions during proceedings is the responsibility of members themselves, and is not a matter for the Presiding Officer. There is a place for robust debate and discussion in the chamber, but members are expected to treat one another with courtesy and respect at all times. Should I or my colleagues in the chair consider that a lack of courtesy or respect is being shown, we will intervene. Thank you.