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Chamber and committees

Meeting date: Thursday, October 10, 2019

Meeting of the Parliament 10 October 2019

Agenda: Business Motion, General Question Time, First Minister’s Question Time, Portfolio Question Time, Business Motion, Transport (Scotland) Bill: Stage 3 (Day 2), Point of Order, Transport (Scotland) Bill, Non-Domestic Rates (Scotland) Bill: Stage 1, Non-Domestic Rates (Scotland) Bill: Financial Resolution, Business Motion, Decision Time


Point of Order

On a point of order, Presiding Officer. I appreciate that members have had a long couple of days considering the Transport (Scotland) Bill, but I want to make a point of order that relates to chapter 9, “Public Bill Procedures”, of the standing orders. We are just about to have the stage 3 debate on the Transport (Scotland) Bill, which has been curtailed to just 45 minutes. Our party will have only three speakers in it, and other parties have had their allocations curtailed.

We are about to have a debate on whether to pass a fairly substantial piece of legislation. I do not feel that 45 minutes is an adequate amount of time to properly debate—[Interruption.] I am surprised that members disagree. I know that the argument has been presented that the business managers have agreed the timetable for today’s proceedings—indeed, the Parliament voted for it at 11.40—but that does not make it right. This is not the way to make good law in this place, and I would like to express my concern to you, Presiding Officer.

I thank Mr Greene for giving me advance notice of his point of order.

The point is noted. A similar point was made by Murdo Fraser earlier in the day. It picks up on similar points that were made by members yesterday. Such matters are taken into consideration by the business managers and the Parliamentary Bureau. They take a lot of time to consider the balance of members’ needs.

The bill process at stage 3 is supposed to be comprehensive, but that does not mean to say that every member should get to speak for as long as they want as often as they want. The process should be exhaustive but not exhausting. In this case, bureau members took all factors into account and decided that we would be able to curtail the stage 3 debate on the Transport (Scotland) Bill. That was put to the chamber and members agreed to the proposal. However, the point is noted and will be considered by the Parliamentary Bureau in future.