Skip to main content

Language: English / Gàidhlig


Chamber and committees

Meeting date: Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Meeting of the Parliament (Hybrid) 10 June 2020

Agenda: First Minister’s Question Time, Business Motion, Covid-19 (Tourism), Showing Solidarity with Anti-racism, Disclosure (Scotland) Bill: Stage 3, Disclosure (Scotland) Bill, Point of Order, Business Motion, Parliamentary Bureau Motions, Decision Time


Point of Order

On a point of order, Presiding Officer. At First Minister’s question time this afternoon, Richard Leonard raised concerns regarding the provision of personal protective equipment for front-line national health service and social care staff. During his exchange with the First Minister, he spoke about concerns that staff have raised directly with him. He said:

“Staff tell me that their PPE is sub-optimal and that they are still being instructed to use PPE that is out of date, including critical equipment such as FFP3 respiratory masks. Will the First Minister give NHS and care staff a guarantee that PPE guidance and supplies will be enhanced, that out-of-date PPE will be withdrawn immediately, and that regular and routine testing will be rolled out without further delay?”

While Richard Leonard was raising those concerns on behalf of our hard-working front-line staff, the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport, Jeane Freeman, shouted, “Lies! Lies!” about those concerns.

Presiding Officer, not only do I believe that it is unfortunate that the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport used unparliamentary language in the chamber, I am concerned that such behaviour and response to legitimate questioning will act as a barrier to the many hard-working NHS and social care staff coming forward in the future to raise concerns.

Presiding Officer, what action can you take to ensure that those on the front line can have their voices heard in this chamber through elected members, without accusation from a cabinet secretary that the information that they have provided is lies?

I thank Ms Boyack for giving me advance notice of the point of order. I was in the chair throughout those proceedings and I did not hear any discourteous remarks shouted across the chamber. However, I remind all members from all parties to treat each other with respect, not to make remarks from a sedentary position and not to use unparliamentary language. The concerns that Ms Boyack has raised are now on the record, and I hope that she will be satisfied with that.