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Chamber and committees

Meeting date: Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Meeting of the Parliament 01 April 2020

Agenda: Point of Order, Coronavirus (Scotland) Bill (Emergency Bill), Business Motions, Coronavirus (Scotland) Bill: Stage 1, Coronavirus (Scotland) Bill: Financial Resolution, Deputy Presiding Officer, Scottish Government Legislation Programme, Covid-19 (Social Security), Covid-19, Business Motion, Committee of the Whole Parliament, Coronavirus (Scotland) Bill: Stage 2, Meeting of the Parliament, Coronavirus (Scotland) Bill: Stage 3, Business Motion, Parliamentary Bureau Motions, Decision Time


Contents


Coronavirus (Scotland) Bill: Stage 2

The Convener (Ken Macintosh)

In dealing with the amendments, members should have the marshalled list and the groupings of amendments. I remind members that we will follow normal procedure, which is that the division bell will sound for the first division of the afternoon. Despite the social distancing measures that we have put in place in the chamber, there are enough consoles and desks for every member participating. We hope that each vote will last one minute for the first division after a debate and 30 seconds for divisions thereafter.

Sections 1 and 2 agreed to.

Schedule 1—Eviction from dwelling-houses

The Convener

The first group of amendments is on housing. Amendment 1, in the name of Pauline McNeill, is grouped with amendments 2 to 21, 49 to 51, 55 and 58. If amendment 17 is agreed to, I cannot call amendments 18 to 20, because they will have been pre-empted.

Pauline McNeill (Glasgow) (Lab)

A few weeks ago, after the ministerial statement, I indicated that, should there be larger problems in paying rent due to the coronavirus pandemic, I would want to discuss the notion of rent-free periods. After reflection, I decided not to lodge an amendment that was drafted for me. However, in the frenzied process for today’s proceedings, it has found its way into the marshalled list. I am moving amendment 1 in order that we can have a discussion on the group, but I intend to seek permission to withdraw the amendment. Instead, I will speak to wider points around amendment 48.

With regard to amendment 18, according to Shelter Scotland, many people are being asked to leave their temporary accommodation during the pandemic. Shelter gave me two cases: in Dundee, an 18-year-old was asked to leave their accommodation at short notice on the basis of an outstanding service charge but was subsequently accommodated by the Salvation Army; and another individual was asked to leave when a private hostel closed and was not refunded for the nights that they had already paid for. Amendment 18 could plug a gap in the legislation. We all agree that, during the pandemic, no one should be evicted from temporary accommodation without due process. The drafting might leave a lot to be desired, but I am looking for the minister’s assurances that people in temporary accommodation will not be treated differently or unfairly during the period of the Covid-19 pandemic.

I address Andy Wightman’s amendments in the group. I support the Government’s overall policy of no evictions during the pandemic crisis. It is important to raise awareness of that law, and I want it to be the strongest law that it can be. I was interested in the statements that Andy Wightman made at stage 1 and I am interested to hear in detail what he will say about the many amendments that he has lodged at stage 2. I raise with ministers my concern that the bill does not cover those who have been given notice for eviction; I would like the bill to cover them. If the bill does not cover them at stage 2, I would be interested to discuss with ministers whether anything could be done at stage 3.

I move amendment 1.

The Convener

I call Andy Wightman to speak to amendment 2 and the other amendments in the group. Amendment 19 pre-empts amendment 20, both in the name of Andy Wightman.

Andy Wightman (Lothian) (Green)

Presiding Officer, did you say that amendment 19 pre-empts amendment 20? The note on the grouping says that amendment 17 pre-empts amendments 18, 19 and 20. Thank you. Those are all amendments in my name and it is clearly a measure of the short time that we have had that I have lodged amendments that pre-empt each other—never mind.

I join the Presiding Officer in thanking the Parliament’s legislation team for its remarkable work over the past few hours. I also thank the cabinet secretary and his officials, who have engaged constructively and promptly in what I think is now known as the Mike Russell probing room, committee room 4.

The Greens welcome the provisions in the bill that relate to social and private tenants. I place on record our appreciation for the work that the Government has done in that area. It is a substantial interference in the normal working of the rented housing market, but it is a necessary and proportionate one. For the avoidance of doubt, we wholly support the measures in the bill.

I also want to thank staff at Shelter for their assistance with my amendments, which take the provisions that are in the bill a little further. The amendments are in line with my comments at stage 1 about our view that nobody should be served with a notice to quit during the emergency period.

Amendments 3 to 11 provide clarification of the grounds for eviction from private residential tenancies as they are considered by the First-tier Tribunal. When it is back up and running, the tribunal will deal with eviction orders made during the emergency period. Schedule 1 to the bill takes all the mandatory grounds for eviction from private rental tenancies that exist in the Private Housing (Tenancies) (Scotland) Act 2016 and makes them discretionary during the emergency period.

The bill as drafted—and this is new—also requires the tribunal to be

“satisfied that it is reasonable to issue an eviction order on account of those facts”.

Those facts are the ones that pertain to the circumstances of the landlord in relation to the specific eviction ground. That is how I read it; I had a brief discussion with Scottish Government officials about the issue and I am happy to be corrected if that is not the case.

In light of that belief, I have inserted amendments 3 to 11 to add the words:

“and, in particular, to any relevant facts relating to coronavirus”.

In the First-tier Tribunal, the facts that must be stated in order to obtain an eviction are facts that relate substantially to the landlord’s condition—in other words to whether the landlord really intends to sell the property. Those are the facts that must be established. There are very few facts that must be established on behalf of the tenant. During the emergency period, some landlords will be affected by the coronavirus, but the situation is most particularly faced by the tenant, who faces losing their home. The landlord does not face losing their home. I want it to be clear—and we may return to this at stage 3—that the First-tier Tribunal can, on new and universally discretionary grounds, take account of relevant facts relating to the coronavirus.

That is my first suite of amendments.

I indicated at stage 1 that I think that the bill should go further in two areas. First, instead of extending the notice period as the bill provides, we should, as I said earlier, suspend completely the ability to serve notices to quit. Many tenants are facing very difficult personal circumstances and will, as the bill stands, still be in receipt during the emergency period of notices to leave, although those notices will be for a longer than normal duration. It is of little comfort to someone in such circumstances to know that they are to be evicted, but not quite yet.

Amendment 16 gives effect to that policy. It is a blanket amendment. It removes all ability for landlords to initiate eviction proceedings. I am aware from our discussions this morning that the bill provides certain grounds for exemption from the extension to the notice period. Those grounds are antisocial behaviour and criminal conduct. Were amendment 16 to be agreed to, I would support any amendments at stage 3 that sought to fetter the blanket effect that amendment 16 currently would create.

Amendments 12, 15 and 17 would remove the parts of schedule 1 that would be redundant were amendment 16 to be agreed to. That deals with a second substantial issue.

16:45  

As I raised at stage 1, a third substantial issue relates to tenancies in which proceedings for eviction have commenced but have not been completed or in which proceedings have been concluded, with orders and decrees granted but not yet enforced. That latter group—those for whom orders and decrees have been granted but the landlord, for whatever reason, has not yet enforced them—are possibly the most vulnerable tenants, because they face imminent eviction.

As far as I can determine is competently possible in the short timeframe that is available, amendments 2, 13, 14, 19 and 20 try to ensure that, in such cases—whether they be Scottish secure tenancies, short Scottish secure tenancies, Scottish assured tenancies or private residential tenancies—legal proceedings can be suspended until after the conclusion of the emergency period. Again, if Parliament is minded to support those amendments, I would be happy to support amendments at stage 3 that would provide some exemptions.

On a separate note, amendment 21 makes modifications to the Housing (Scotland) Act 2001, so that a court, in considering the recovery of possession proceedings in relation to Scottish secure tenancies, takes account of any rent arrears that

“have arisen as a result of coronavirus”.

Currently, that is not the case, but amendment 21 would allow that to happen.

Amendment 50 is on quite a different matter; it relates to the requisition of accommodation. It is evident—no doubt all members will have received correspondence about this—that some accommodation provision needs to be made for homeless people and for key workers who cannot, or, indeed, should not, continue to live in their own home. That might be for public health reasons, because of transport difficulties—the person might live at some distance from their workplace in a hospital—or, indeed, because a family member is isolating or is vulnerable. For the person’s own mental welfare, they might also want to be closer to their place of work. I am aware that, here in Edinburgh, some owners are continuing to offer short-term lets for rent to key workers, in contravention of the Health Protection (Coronavirus) (Restrictions) (Scotland) Regulations 2020, which we will vote on later.

In my view, random Airbnbs—particularly those in shared stairs, many of which are unlawful because they do not have planning consent, are in contravention of title conditions and mortgage lending conditions, and do not have appropriate third-party liability insurance—are singularly ill suited to the job of housing the homeless or key workers. That job should be done in a co-ordinated manner, using accommodation such as hostels, hotels, serviced apartments and the like, where there is no interference with the lives of residents and where health risks can be managed. That is not communism, as Murdo Fraser intimated earlier on Twitter, but a proportionate response to an emergency.

Under the Housing (Scotland) Act 1987, local authorities already have powers to acquire property, and amendment 50 would put it beyond doubt and make it explicit that local authorities have the power to requisition accommodation in connection with the public health emergency that we face.

Amendment 51 is on a separate issue and is concerned with the unsuitable accommodation regulations. It seeks to ensure that everyone has a right not to be housed in unsuitable accommodation for more than one day during the emergency period.

I think that I have covered all my amendments. I apologise that I have not had time to properly consider Pauline McNeill’s amendments but, broadly, they look like they are able to be supported.

Ross Greer (West Scotland) (Green)

I will move amendment 49 as a result of the behaviour of private providers of student halls of residence in Scotland. Members will be aware that, under the terms of the 2016 act, the overwhelming majority of people who live in private rented sector accommodation and who do not live in student accommodation have the right to terminate their lease with 28 days’ notice. Many private rented sector tenants have used that right.

Those who live in student accommodation do not have that right; student accommodation is treated privately. Although every university that I am aware of and a number of private providers, such as Unite housing, have been very accommodating of their students during this time of crisis, some private providers have absolutely not been and have simply attempted to trap students in rooms that they are not using.

That is what spawned the not staying, not paying campaign that the National Union of Students, many members of the Scottish Youth Parliament and a number of student associations are running at the moment. There are students who are being forced to pay for rooms that they are not staying in because they have left—they have followed public health advice and are back staying with their families.

Amendment 49 gives students the right to terminate their lease and, should the amendment be agreed to, I will move a further amendment at stage 3 that will make it clear that the amendment will give students the same right to terminate their lease with 28 days’ notice that other private tenants have. That was the original intent of the amendment; the immediacy of the right that is currently proposed by the amendment is simply a consequence of the rushed process. The purpose is to give students in student accommodation the same rights as anyone else in the private rented sector.

I am aware that the Government has concerns about the proposal relating to the European convention on human rights. Briefly, the issue is about the balance of rights. Landlords have rights, but so do tenants, and they are vulnerable during a crisis—especially young tenants with little income. We are not talking about pensioners who use rental income like a pension, as Conservative colleagues mentioned this morning; we are talking about private companies that run student halls.

Two sections of the ECHR are relevant and I will briefly quote from them. One is article 8.2, which says:

“There shall be no interference by a public authority with the exercise of this right except such as is in accordance with the law and is necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security, public safety or the economic well-being of the country, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.”

This is clearly an issue of public safety and the protection of health as clarified under article 8. Article 2 of protocol 4 also includes relevant points about an individual’s

“liberty of movement and freedom to choose his residence.”

The amendment is simply about giving students those rights. If the Government believes that there are ECHR concerns, my question is about the other bold steps that it is taking to protect private rented sector tenants in other areas, which we welcome. The intention of the amendment is to give students, specifically those in student accommodation, the same rights as anyone else, including students, in the normal private rented sector, and that is why I will move amendment 49.

The Minister for Local Government, Housing and Planning (Kevin Stewart)

The Government has made it clear that no landlord should evict a tenant because they have suffered financial hardship because of the coronavirus. We expect landlords to be flexible with tenants during this financial hardship, and we expect that folk—whether they are in the private or the social rented sector—will be signposted to the financial support that is available. I have already written to all landlords in Scotland about that, and we will continue to communicate with them to ensure that we keep people as safe and secure as possible.

We have moved swiftly on to stage 2 today. I turn first to Pauline McNeill’s amendments. I understand that she intends to withdraw amendment 1 and I am grateful for that. It is unclear how her amendment 18, on evictions from hostels, would stop those evictions. There is a provision in the Housing (Scotland) Act 2001 that looks at minimum rights for hostel dwellers, and it is unclear what amendment 18 would add.

There is already provision for people who are asked to leave hostel accommodation, and that should be picked up by local authorities under their statutory duties to homeless people. I assure Ms McNeill that I have spent almost every waking minute of every day talking to folk about situations across the country. I would be interested in finding out about the two cases that she mentioned and what has been done to help those folk.

At the moment, we are, in the main, getting things right for people throughout the country, thanks to front-line staff from the Simon Community Scotland in Glasgow, Streetwork in Edinburgh and other third sector organisations across the country. I want to ensure that we get folk off the street, out of hostels and into the best temporary accommodation that we can find for them. If Ms McNeill will choose not to move amendment 18, I pledge here and now that we will have further discussions as we move forward about getting it right for everyone across the country.

Bob Doris (Glasgow Maryhill and Springburn) (SNP)

I hope that this is the appropriate grouping in which to raise this particular concern, given the amendments that we are looking at.

I was approached today by a landlord in my constituency whose position is that a small number of tenants—I should point out that I believe that this will be an absolute rarity—who are not financially impacted by Covid-19 may not pay rent despite being perfectly able to do so. As I say, I am sure that that would be an absolute rarity.

Can the minister reinforce the point that those who can pay their rent should continue to do so?

Kevin Stewart

Those folk who can afford to pay their rent should continue to pay it during this time. Those who find themselves in difficulties should look to access the benefits system and the housing element of universal credit. We have already advised landlords in the social rented sector and in the private rented sector that they should be giving their tenants that information now and that tenants should approach their landlords immediately if they fall into difficulties. However, those who can afford to pay their rent should continue to pay it during this time.

Turning to Andy Wightman’s amendments, I will first deal with the amendments that seek to insert the phrase

“and, in particular to any relevant facts relating to coronavirus”.

Inserting that phrase would cause some redrafting difficulties. Beyond that, the tribunal itself will have to look at the reasonableness of all this, and I reassure Mr Wightman that it will have to look reasonably at the impact of coronavirus in making its decisions. I think that Mr Wightman talked to some legal officials earlier about the issue, and I reinforce the point that we will ensure that those reasonableness grounds include the impact of coronavirus.

Andy Wightman

I am grateful to the minister for that clarification. Can he confirm that, when the tribunal considers the reasonableness grounds, it will take into account both the interests of the landlord and the interests of the tenant in relation to the coronavirus situation and that it will pay particular attention to the interests of the tenant, because they face losing their home?

Kevin Stewart

I would expect the First-tier Tribunal on every occasion to look at what is reasonable not only for the landlord but for the tenant, particularly in the situation that we find ourselves in.

We have some disagreements with Mr Wightman around some of the grounds-for-eviction issues. We believe that there should still be an allowance for evictions in three months of folk who display antisocial behaviour and people who carry out criminal acts. That is extremely important, because some of the acts that might be taking place during this situation could be dangerous for other householders in the area. We need to handle this appropriately. The other area where we think that there should still be grounds for eviction is abandonment, but only if it is proven that the tenant has abandoned the property.

Mr Wightman has lodged a huge number of amendments on these issues, some of which—as he has already pointed out—are pre-empted. I think that it would also be fair to say that some of the amendments are a little bit confusing.

Pauline McNeill

I would like to press the minister on the specific situation of tenants having already been given notice of eviction, for whatever reason, and that notice being served during the coronavirus pandemic. Does the minister consider that the bill should cover that situation?

Kevin Stewart

The tribunal has not been sitting for some time, so I find it difficult to believe that anybody has been given a legal eviction notice during this time. Any landlord who serves an illegal eviction notice—one that has not gone through the tribunal—at this time will be committing a criminal act and could face a fine of £50,000 plus imprisonment. If any member finds any case like that, I would like to know about it as soon as possible. I cannot accept Mr Wightman’s amendments on these issues.

17:00  

Mr Wightman’s amendment 50 raises real ECHR issues, and I cannot accept it. The proposed new paragraph 7A(2) of schedule 7 says that the definition of

“‘holiday letting’ has the meaning given by Regulation 4(4)”,

which is a regulation that could change at any time, so there are also technical difficulties with the amendment.

I reassure Mr Wightman that I have spoken to many local authorities and others in the sector over the past few weeks. Many local authorities are already looking at utilising accommodation that was previously used for short-term lets as temporary accommodation for homeless people, and I encourage all local authorities to consider doing that. Beyond that, we have set up linkages between the Scottish Association of Landlords and some local authorities to ensure that we are utilising empty homes in the private rented sector to accommodate folk who find themselves homeless. I hope that we will do everything that we possibly can to get homeless people into mainstream temporary accommodation at this time.

We have made great efforts to move folk who have been rough sleeping off the streets and into hotel accommodation in Glasgow and Edinburgh, but I want to go further and get people into mainstream temporary accommodation. I thank everyone who is helping the Scottish Government to do that.

Andy Wightman

The purpose of amendment 50 is to ensure that, as a last resort, local authorities have the legal power to requisition property if they need to. The minister’s response has been to say that that is already happening, and I welcome that, of course. However, can he clarify whether, in extremis, if property is needed, local authorities will have that legal power?

Kevin Stewart

Local authorities have a lot of powers at their disposal, and they often do not use them. I would argue that, if we were to move to requisition, by the time we had looked at all the implications of that, including the ECHR issues, the pandemic would be well over. As it stands, local authorities can use their compulsory purchase power to take buildings into their use. That power is used very rarely, but it is now being used more because we have changed the guidance on it.

In this situation, we could move to something after we have ironed out all the possible difficulties, but it probably could not come into play for a very long time. I would much rather reach a mutual agreement to use empty properties right across the country during the current situation. It is in everybody’s interests that we do so. Local authorities need to carry out their duties to house homeless people properly, and it is in the interests of landlords—whether they be short-term letters or in the private rented sector—that their properties are used. I would argue that it would be very difficult for some of them to attract tenants by other means during the period of lockdown and beyond. I would much rather that mutual consent was reached on these issues, and I am sure that we can achieve it.

I turn to Mr Greer’s amendment 49, which is very complex and would convert all institutionally provided student accommodation into private residential tenancies. That would have huge ramifications for students and landlords. For example, if students did not wish to terminate, their tenancy type would suddenly change dramatically.

The legal issues with the amendment need much further consideration. We cannot say today that the amendment is compatible with the ECHR. It would treat students differently—

Ross Greer

Will the minister give way?

Kevin Stewart

I will take Mr Greer’s intervention, if he will just let me finish this point first.

It would treat students differently from other categories of tenant, and there has been no examination of the balance between the landlord’s and the tenant’s rights. For that reason alone, I urge members not to risk this important bill by agreeing to amendment 49.

Ross Greer

I am interested in the minister’s point about our not being able to say for certain in relation to the ECHR. The reality is that we cannot say for certain about any of the provisions in relation to the ECHR. Through the bill, the Government is making a number of bold provisions that will affect the balance of rights between landlords and tenants in other areas. If a private student hall provider believed that its rights had been undermined by the amendment, it would be able to make a legal challenge and seek redress if it wished to.

The amendment would affect the bill overall only if the Advocate General decided, between now and royal assent, that it was an issue and therefore paused the whole bill. That is not going to happen with a piece of emergency legislation such as this. If private accommodation providers wanted to seek legal redress, they would have the same right to do so as anyone else.

Kevin Stewart

In relation to the other provisions that we have put forward, we have looked at that balance and have justified the moves that we are making. We have to be absolutely certain that we get the bill right. There will be an acceleration to royal assent, and we cannot risk any difficulties at all in ensuring that the bill gains royal assent. I therefore have real concerns about the legal aspects of amendment 49.

Daniel Johnson (Edinburgh Southern) (Lab)

I recognise the difficulty that the minister faces and the need to ensure that the bill gains royal assent. However, this is a very significant issue, with students left with accommodation that they frankly do not need any more, because the universities are no longer providing education. That is a real issue in my constituency. Does the minister recognise that issue, and will he commit to looking for proposals that might remedy the situation?

Kevin Stewart

I recognise the difficulties that some of Daniel Johnson’s constituents face, because they are difficulties that some of my constituents face as well. We can look at the issue in the next emergency bill, but we must get this bill absolutely right. If this bill does not gain royal assent, that will create real difficulties not only for me, as a minister, for the Government and for this Parliament, but for people right across this country, in terms of keeping people safe and secure.

We can and will look at the issue in the second emergency bill. However, I ask Parliament to reject amendment 49. As I said, we recognise beyond doubt that there appears to be an issue in respect of some providers of student accommodation in their consideration of letting students leave their accommodation or tenancy early. However, we are also aware that a number of providers are changing their policies and are agreeing to students being released from their agreements early.

The Minister for Further Education, Higher Education and Science has written to all university and college principals—and this has been copied to the networks involving student accommodation providers—asking that all institutions look sympathetically at any need for students to extend their stay beyond the existing arrangements. He has also asked that that be extended to those who have returned to the family home and who are having to ask to break agreements, and that institutions continue to be as helpful as possible to avoid disadvantaging those students. We are already working with accommodation providers to see how we can all work together to support students who are still in student accommodation.

Neil Findlay (Lothian) (Lab)

The minister mentioned a second bill. Could he elaborate on that? It might just be me, but I have not heard of that.

Kevin Stewart

I did not hear what Mr Findlay said.

Neil Findlay

The minister mentioned that a second bill might be forthcoming. Could he elaborate on that?

Kevin Stewart

Mr Russell will deal with all that in his summing up.

I ask members to reject amendment 49.

I am well aware that I am asking Parliament to reject all the non-Government amendments in this group—sorry, I have missed one. I beg your pardon, Convener. This is what happens in situations where we are dealing with things at the tail end.

Mr Wightman’s amendment 51—I apologise for not mentioning it—is on unsuitable accommodation. The amendment causes some difficulties, but I see exactly where Mr Wightman is coming from on it. I am willing to work with members to see what we can do to improve the Homeless Persons (Unsuitable Accommodation) (Scotland) Order 2014. I ask for patience and that we get the time to look at the proposal for the future—[Interruption.]

The Convener

Address the chamber through the microphone, please.

Kevin Stewart

Sorry. As I said, we will look at that suggestion for the future bill.

I am aware that we are asking Parliament to reject all the non-Government amendments in this group. However, I am more than willing to continue to talk to members about some of the issues that they have brought to the Government’s attention. I assure Parliament that I am doing all that I can to talk to stakeholders on a very regular basis so that we get things right, and I am more than happy to pinch suggestions that come from anyone in any part of this chamber, in order to get all of this right for the people out there, who we must keep as safe and secure as possible.

Graham Simpson (Central Scotland) (Con)

The minister finished by saying that he is prepared to work with other parties and take on board good ideas. We have already been putting forward good ideas, through my good friend Murdo Fraser, and we are well aware of the legislation that will follow, after the recess. Some of those ideas, relating to holiday accommodation, might well appear in that legislation. For me, that is the way to do business in this Parliament. The way not to do business is to fly kites and launch mini-campaigns at stage 2 of an emergency bill. The number of amendments of that nature in this group is frankly absurd. They deal with very detailed, technical issues that require proper scrutiny. To throw them in at this point is absolutely ridiculous.

Andy Wightman

The member says that the amendments in this group are “absurd”. He knows as well as I do what parliamentary process is, and the timescales within which we are working on this bill. He is also aware that there is a policy issue about whether the Government’s proposals in the bill are adequate. We take the view that they need to go further, and that is an honest difference of view with the Government. I have made it very clear that we whole-heartedly agree with what is in the bill and that we will be supporting it, but we believe that it needs to go further.

I ask the member to justify his remarks that these amendments, which have taken a considerable bit of work, are, in his words, “absurd”.

Graham Simpson

I will be coming on to one of Mr Wightman’s most absurd amendments in a second.

I am surprised that the wee nats have not talked to the big nats more on this—[Interruption.]—in the way that Mr Fraser has been doing.

17:15  

The Convener

Mr Simpson is normally a very polite member. I urge him to stick to that and not to use even jokey terms across the chamber.

Graham Simpson

I apologise, Convener. It is a joke that I have used before, when I got away with it.

We will oppose most of the amendments in group 1—in fact, we will oppose all of them, bar amendments 55 and 58, in the name of Mr Russell, which Mr Stewart spoke about.

I turn to a few of the amendments that deserve comment—[Interruption.] Indeed, they deserve minimal comment. Let us look at Mr Wightman’s amendment 50, shall we? That is a good one. It was described as a dose of communism by Mr Fraser on Twitter, and that is absolutely what it is. In effect, it would give councils the power to grab or requisition holiday accommodation, should they feel the need to have it. I go back to what I said at the start—someone who wants to introduce such an idea should surely go out to consultation on it. Amendment 50 is a step too far; what it proposes is absolutely absurd.

As for Mr Greer’s amendment on student accommodation, I agree with the minister. There are human rights issues with what it proposes. At the very least, Mr Greer should have spoken to other parties for a number of days, if not weeks, about the introduction of such a measure.

As I said, we will oppose pretty much all the amendments in this group. I go back to what I said in the stage 1 debate earlier today, which is a long time ago now: the Coronavirus (Scotland) Bill is an emergency bill to deal with the coronavirus crisis that we are facing right now. That is what it is about. In the speech that I made this morning—[Interruption.] No, I will not take an intervention.

I made the point that we have people who are ill and who are stuck at home because of that. We also have people who have lost their jobs and people who will go on to lose their jobs. That is what the bill deals with. That is why we will, I hope, introduce measures to prevent evictions in certain cases. However, we should not introduce measures to prevent evictions in all cases, because that would be entirely wrong; if we did that, we would be going too far.

What we propose to do will leave some landlords in the position of not getting any income on properties for more than a year. By discussing the situation with the Government, we have got an agreement to introduce a fund that would help landlords in those cases, many of whom do not have big property portfolios. [Interruption.] I can hear Mr Findlay muttering at the back, as he usually does. Most of the landlords in Scotland—95 per cent of them—have between one and five properties; they are not wealthy people. Often, they are pensioners who rely on the rental income to pay their way. Given that we have agreement to have that fund put in place, I think that the measures that are in the bill are sensible, proportionate and should be supported.

The Convener

I invite Pauline McNeill to wind up and to indicate whether she intends to press or withdraw amendment 1.

Pauline McNeill

I seek to withdraw amendment 1, and I will not move amendment 18.

Unlike Mr Simpson, Labour members applaud the efforts of Andy Wightman to consider matters of technical detail in scrutinising the bill; that is welcome. I say that notwithstanding the support that we think should be given to landlords, which I mentioned earlier. The magnitude of the disruption that vulnerable tenants have already experienced is considerable, and that is before we consider what might lie ahead.

I think that it is unfortunate to reduce this issue to something as trivial as a suggestion that any member would come to the chamber and not scrutinise the proposal. Even if the minister disagrees with the proposal, I would like to think that he would get to his feet and support the idea that we should scrutinise it.

We do not think that the Government has gone far enough—we have said that. However, I also want to make this clear: we supported the Government this morning, and we will support the Government again. Whenever we can find consensus, we will be there with the Government, but we demand the right to challenge the Government on the areas in which we think that tenants will be vulnerable.

Kevin Stewart

Will the member take an intervention?

Pauline McNeill

I will let the minister in in a minute, and I would like him to address my next point. I am dealing with a case in which notice was given a week ago to a couple on the ground that the owner wants to move their family into the property. Now, we can take a view about that, but the point is that that couple will be evicted, because the bill does not cover them. That concerns me deeply. It is not a comfort to my constituents that the First-tier Tribunal is not sitting, because they will feel that they are breaking the law, because the notice has been served.

Kevin Stewart

I want to work across Parliament in order to ensure that we get what we are doing absolutely right. I have absolutely no problem with scrutiny taking place on all of that.

There are differing views around certain aspects of the issue that we are discussing. However, there is one clear message in all of this: we all have to do our bit to protect people as much as we possibly can during this situation. There will be folks who, throughout this, will act in an absolutely magnificent way and will rise to the challenges and be as good as they possibly can be. However, there will also be folks who do not behave appropriately during the course of the situation. I point out again the criminal penalties for illegal eviction, which can involve a £50,000 fine and, possibly, some time in jail. We should all be pointing that out to those folks who might choose to flout the rules.

Pauline McNeill

Indeed.

In conclusion, we can only guess what situation people will be in, but that is what we are legislating for. That has to be borne in mind, but we know that there will be direct consequences for tenants. I whole-heartedly welcome the minister’s assurances about those in temporary accommodation, so I will not press amendment 18.

Finally, I say that Andy Wightman makes an important point in relation to the directions that will be given to property tribunals when the notice period is lifted and people are brought before the tribunals for non-payment of rent or whatever. What the minister has put on record is helpful. It must be clear that, when a property tribunal is applying the test of reasonableness, it must consider the case in the context of the coronavirus pandemic and bear in mind that that is directly relevant to the loss of a job or other circumstances that have caused someone to be in arrears.

Amendment 1, by agreement, withdrawn.

Amendment 2 moved—[Andy Wightman].

The Convener

The question is, that amendment 2 be agreed to. Are we agreed?

Members: No.

The Convener

There will be a division. As this is the first vote of the afternoon, I will ring the division bell to summon members to the chamber, and we will have a five-minute suspension.

17:24 Meeting suspended.  17:29 On resuming—  

The Convener

We will move straight to the division.

For

Baker, Claire (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Lab)
Boyack, Sarah (Lothian) (Lab)
Cole-Hamilton, Alex (Edinburgh Western) (LD)
Findlay, Neil (Lothian) (Lab)
Finnie, John (Highlands and Islands) (Green)
Grant, Rhoda (Highlands and Islands) (Lab)
Gray, Iain (East Lothian) (Lab)
Greer, Ross (West Scotland) (Green)
Griffin, Mark (Central Scotland) (Lab)
Harvie, Patrick (Glasgow) (Green)
Johnson, Daniel (Edinburgh Southern) (Lab)
Johnstone, Alison (Lothian) (Green)
Kelly, James (Glasgow) (Lab)
Lennon, Monica (Central Scotland) (Lab)
Leonard, Richard (Central Scotland) (Lab)
Macdonald, Lewis (North East Scotland) (Lab)
McArthur, Liam (Orkney Islands) (LD)
McNeill, Pauline (Glasgow) (Lab)
Rennie, Willie (North East Fife) (LD)
Rowley, Alex (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Lab)
Ruskell, Mark (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Green)
Sarwar, Anas (Glasgow) (Lab)
Smyth, Colin (South Scotland) (Lab)
Wightman, Andy (Lothian) (Green)

Against

Adam, George (Paisley) (SNP)
Arthur, Tom (Renfrewshire South) (SNP)
Ballantyne, Michelle (South Scotland) (Con)
Beattie, Colin (Midlothian North and Musselburgh) (SNP)
Bowman, Bill (North East Scotland) (Con)
Briggs, Miles (Lothian) (Con)
Brown, Keith (Clackmannanshire and Dunblane) (SNP)
Cameron, Donald (Highlands and Islands) (Con)
Carlaw, Jackson (Eastwood) (Con)
Coffey, Willie (Kilmarnock and Irvine Valley) (SNP)
Constance, Angela (Almond Valley) (SNP)
Corry, Maurice (West Scotland) (Con)
Cunningham, Roseanna (Perthshire South and Kinross-shire) (SNP)
Davidson, Ruth (Edinburgh Central) (Con)
Denham, Ash (Edinburgh Eastern) (SNP)
Dey, Graeme (Angus South) (SNP)
Doris, Bob (Glasgow Maryhill and Springburn) (SNP)
Fabiani, Linda (East Kilbride) (SNP)
FitzPatrick, Joe (Dundee City West) (SNP)
Fraser, Murdo (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Con)
Freeman, Jeane (Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley) (SNP)
Gibson, Kenneth (Cunninghame North) (SNP)
Gilruth, Jenny (Mid Fife and Glenrothes) (SNP)
Golden, Maurice (West Scotland) (Con)
Gougeon, Mairi (Angus North and Mearns) (SNP)
Greene, Jamie (West Scotland) (Con)
Haughey, Clare (Rutherglen) (SNP)
Hepburn, Jamie (Cumbernauld and Kilsyth) (SNP)
Hyslop, Fiona (Linlithgow) (SNP)
Halcro Johnston, Jamie (Highlands and Islands) (Con)
Kerr, Liam (North East Scotland) (Con)
Kidd, Bill (Glasgow Anniesland) (SNP)
Lindhurst, Gordon (Lothian) (Con)
Lochhead, Richard (Moray) (SNP)
Lyle, Richard (Uddingston and Bellshill) (SNP)
MacDonald, Gordon (Edinburgh Pentlands) (SNP)
MacGregor, Fulton (Coatbridge and Chryston) (SNP)
Mackay, Rona (Strathkelvin and Bearsden) (SNP)
Macpherson, Ben (Edinburgh Northern and Leith) (SNP)
Maguire, Ruth (Cunninghame South) (SNP)
Mason, John (Glasgow Shettleston) (SNP)
Matheson, Michael (Falkirk West) (SNP)
McAlpine, Joan (South Scotland) (SNP)
McKee, Ivan (Glasgow Provan) (SNP)
McKelvie, Christina (Hamilton, Larkhall and Stonehouse) (SNP)
McMillan, Stuart (Greenock and Inverclyde) (SNP)
Robison, Shona (Dundee City East) (SNP)
Russell, Michael (Argyll and Bute) (SNP)
Simpson, Graham (Central Scotland) (Con)
Smith, Liz (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Con)
Somerville, Shirley-Anne (Dunfermline) (SNP)
Stewart, Alexander (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Con)
Stewart, Kevin (Aberdeen Central) (SNP)
Tomkins, Adam (Glasgow) (Con)
Torrance, David (Kirkcaldy) (SNP)
Wheelhouse, Paul (South Scotland) (SNP)
Yousaf, Humza (Glasgow Pollok) (SNP)

The Convener

The result of the division is: For 24, Against 57, Abstentions 0.

Amendment 2 disagreed to.

Amendments 3 to 11 not moved.

Amendment 12 moved—[Andy Wightman].

The Convener

The question is, that amendment 12 be agreed to. Are we agreed?

Members: No.

The Convener

There will be a division.

For

Baker, Claire (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Lab)
Boyack, Sarah (Lothian) (Lab)
Cole-Hamilton, Alex (Edinburgh Western) (LD)
Findlay, Neil (Lothian) (Lab)
Finnie, John (Highlands and Islands) (Green)
Grant, Rhoda (Highlands and Islands) (Lab)
Gray, Iain (East Lothian) (Lab)
Greer, Ross (West Scotland) (Green)
Griffin, Mark (Central Scotland) (Lab)
Harvie, Patrick (Glasgow) (Green)
Johnson, Daniel (Edinburgh Southern) (Lab)
Johnstone, Alison (Lothian) (Green)
Kelly, James (Glasgow) (Lab)
Lennon, Monica (Central Scotland) (Lab)
Leonard, Richard (Central Scotland) (Lab)
Macdonald, Lewis (North East Scotland) (Lab)
McArthur, Liam (Orkney Islands) (LD)
McNeill, Pauline (Glasgow) (Lab)
Rennie, Willie (North East Fife) (LD)
Rowley, Alex (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Lab)
Ruskell, Mark (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Green)
Sarwar, Anas (Glasgow) (Lab)
Smyth, Colin (South Scotland) (Lab)
Wightman, Andy (Lothian) (Green)

Against

Adam, George (Paisley) (SNP)
Arthur, Tom (Renfrewshire South) (SNP)
Ballantyne, Michelle (South Scotland) (Con)
Beattie, Colin (Midlothian North and Musselburgh) (SNP)
Bowman, Bill (North East Scotland) (Con)
Briggs, Miles (Lothian) (Con)
Brown, Keith (Clackmannanshire and Dunblane) (SNP)
Cameron, Donald (Highlands and Islands) (Con)
Carlaw, Jackson (Eastwood) (Con)
Coffey, Willie (Kilmarnock and Irvine Valley) (SNP)
Constance, Angela (Almond Valley) (SNP)
Corry, Maurice (West Scotland) (Con)
Cunningham, Roseanna (Perthshire South and Kinross-shire) (SNP)
Davidson, Ruth (Edinburgh Central) (Con)
Denham, Ash (Edinburgh Eastern) (SNP)
Dey, Graeme (Angus South) (SNP)
Doris, Bob (Glasgow Maryhill and Springburn) (SNP)
Fabiani, Linda (East Kilbride) (SNP)
FitzPatrick, Joe (Dundee City West) (SNP)
Fraser, Murdo (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Con)
Freeman, Jeane (Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley) (SNP)
Gibson, Kenneth (Cunninghame North) (SNP)
Gilruth, Jenny (Mid Fife and Glenrothes) (SNP)
Golden, Maurice (West Scotland) (Con)
Gougeon, Mairi (Angus North and Mearns) (SNP)
Greene, Jamie (West Scotland) (Con)
Haughey, Clare (Rutherglen) (SNP)
Hepburn, Jamie (Cumbernauld and Kilsyth) (SNP)
Hyslop, Fiona (Linlithgow) (SNP)
Halcro Johnston, Jamie (Highlands and Islands) (Con)
Kerr, Liam (North East Scotland) (Con)
Kidd, Bill (Glasgow Anniesland) (SNP)
Lindhurst, Gordon (Lothian) (Con)
Lochhead, Richard (Moray) (SNP)
Lyle, Richard (Uddingston and Bellshill) (SNP)
MacDonald, Gordon (Edinburgh Pentlands) (SNP)
MacGregor, Fulton (Coatbridge and Chryston) (SNP)
Mackay, Rona (Strathkelvin and Bearsden) (SNP)
Macpherson, Ben (Edinburgh Northern and Leith) (SNP)
Maguire, Ruth (Cunninghame South) (SNP)
Mason, John (Glasgow Shettleston) (SNP)
Matheson, Michael (Falkirk West) (SNP)
McAlpine, Joan (South Scotland) (SNP)
McKee, Ivan (Glasgow Provan) (SNP)
McKelvie, Christina (Hamilton, Larkhall and Stonehouse) (SNP)
McMillan, Stuart (Greenock and Inverclyde) (SNP)
Robison, Shona (Dundee City East) (SNP)
Russell, Michael (Argyll and Bute) (SNP)
Simpson, Graham (Central Scotland) (Con)
Smith, Liz (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Con)
Somerville, Shirley-Anne (Dunfermline) (SNP)
Stewart, Alexander (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Con)
Stewart, Kevin (Aberdeen Central) (SNP)
Tomkins, Adam (Glasgow) (Con)
Torrance, David (Kirkcaldy) (SNP)
Wheelhouse, Paul (South Scotland) (SNP)
Yousaf, Humza (Glasgow Pollok) (SNP)

The Convener

The result of the division is: For 24, Against 57, Abstentions 0.

Amendment 12 disagreed to.

Amendments 13 to 15 not moved.

Amendment 16 moved—[Andy Wightman].

The Convener

The question is, that amendment 16 be agreed to. Are we agreed?

Members: No.

The Convener

There will be a division.

For

Baker, Claire (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Lab)
Boyack, Sarah (Lothian) (Lab)
Cole-Hamilton, Alex (Edinburgh Western) (LD)
Findlay, Neil (Lothian) (Lab)
Finnie, John (Highlands and Islands) (Green)
Grant, Rhoda (Highlands and Islands) (Lab)
Gray, Iain (East Lothian) (Lab)
Greer, Ross (West Scotland) (Green)
Griffin, Mark (Central Scotland) (Lab)
Harvie, Patrick (Glasgow) (Green)
Johnson, Daniel (Edinburgh Southern) (Lab)
Johnstone, Alison (Lothian) (Green)
Kelly, James (Glasgow) (Lab)
Lennon, Monica (Central Scotland) (Lab)
Leonard, Richard (Central Scotland) (Lab)
Macdonald, Lewis (North East Scotland) (Lab)
McArthur, Liam (Orkney Islands) (LD)
McNeill, Pauline (Glasgow) (Lab)
Rennie, Willie (North East Fife) (LD)
Rowley, Alex (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Lab)
Ruskell, Mark (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Green)
Sarwar, Anas (Glasgow) (Lab)
Smyth, Colin (South Scotland) (Lab)
Wightman, Andy (Lothian) (Green)

Against

Adam, George (Paisley) (SNP)
Arthur, Tom (Renfrewshire South) (SNP)
Ballantyne, Michelle (South Scotland) (Con)
Beattie, Colin (Midlothian North and Musselburgh) (SNP)
Bowman, Bill (North East Scotland) (Con)
Briggs, Miles (Lothian) (Con)
Brown, Keith (Clackmannanshire and Dunblane) (SNP)
Cameron, Donald (Highlands and Islands) (Con)
Carlaw, Jackson (Eastwood) (Con)
Coffey, Willie (Kilmarnock and Irvine Valley) (SNP)
Constance, Angela (Almond Valley) (SNP)
Corry, Maurice (West Scotland) (Con)
Cunningham, Roseanna (Perthshire South and Kinross-shire) (SNP)
Davidson, Ruth (Edinburgh Central) (Con)
Denham, Ash (Edinburgh Eastern) (SNP)
Dey, Graeme (Angus South) (SNP)
Doris, Bob (Glasgow Maryhill and Springburn) (SNP)
Fabiani, Linda (East Kilbride) (SNP)
FitzPatrick, Joe (Dundee City West) (SNP)
Fraser, Murdo (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Con)
Freeman, Jeane (Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley) (SNP)
Gibson, Kenneth (Cunninghame North) (SNP)
Gilruth, Jenny (Mid Fife and Glenrothes) (SNP)
Golden, Maurice (West Scotland) (Con)
Gougeon, Mairi (Angus North and Mearns) (SNP)
Greene, Jamie (West Scotland) (Con)
Haughey, Clare (Rutherglen) (SNP)
Hepburn, Jamie (Cumbernauld and Kilsyth) (SNP)
Hyslop, Fiona (Linlithgow) (SNP)
Halcro Johnston, Jamie (Highlands and Islands) (Con)
Kerr, Liam (North East Scotland) (Con)
Kidd, Bill (Glasgow Anniesland) (SNP)
Lindhurst, Gordon (Lothian) (Con)
Lochhead, Richard (Moray) (SNP)
Lyle, Richard (Uddingston and Bellshill) (SNP)
MacDonald, Gordon (Edinburgh Pentlands) (SNP)
MacGregor, Fulton (Coatbridge and Chryston) (SNP)
Mackay, Rona (Strathkelvin and Bearsden) (SNP)
Macpherson, Ben (Edinburgh Northern and Leith) (SNP)
Maguire, Ruth (Cunninghame South) (SNP)
Mason, John (Glasgow Shettleston) (SNP)
Matheson, Michael (Falkirk West) (SNP)
McAlpine, Joan (South Scotland) (SNP)
McKee, Ivan (Glasgow Provan) (SNP)
McKelvie, Christina (Hamilton, Larkhall and Stonehouse) (SNP)
McMillan, Stuart (Greenock and Inverclyde) (SNP)
Robison, Shona (Dundee City East) (SNP)
Russell, Michael (Argyll and Bute) (SNP)
Simpson, Graham (Central Scotland) (Con)
Smith, Liz (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Con)
Somerville, Shirley-Anne (Dunfermline) (SNP)
Stewart, Alexander (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Con)
Stewart, Kevin (Aberdeen Central) (SNP)
Tomkins, Adam (Glasgow) (Con)
Torrance, David (Kirkcaldy) (SNP)
Wheelhouse, Paul (South Scotland) (SNP)
Yousaf, Humza (Glasgow Pollok) (SNP)

The Convener

The result of the division is: For 24, Against 57, Abstentions 0.

Amendment 16 disagreed to.

Amendments 17 to 21 not moved.

Schedule 1 agreed to.

Section 3 agreed to.

Schedule 2 agreed to.

Section 4 agreed to.

Schedule 3 agreed to.

Section 5 agreed to.

Schedule 4—Justice

The Convener

Amendment 22, in the name of Stewart Stevenson, is grouped with amendments 23 to 27. If amendment 25 is agreed to, amendment 26 is pre-empted and will not be called. Stuart McMillan will speak to and move the amendment in Stewart Stevenson’s name.

Stuart McMillan (Greenock and Inverclyde) (SNP)

As Stewart Stevenson cannot be here, he asked me to move amendment 22, which is a probing amendment, on his behalf. Can the cabinet secretary confirm that, notwithstanding the reference to the general expression of willingness to receive a document being expressed on a website as giving permission to a sender, any printed notice such as a letterhead, or the giving of an email address, can also give such permission?

I move amendment 22.

The Cabinet Secretary for Justice (Humza Yousaf)

As this is a probing amendment, I am happy to confirm that. However, I urge members to reject amendment 22 if it is pressed. I am sure that it will not be.

The Convener

I call Monica Lennon to speak to amendment 23 and to other amendments in the group.

Monica Lennon (Central Scotland) (Lab)

Amendment 23 would add the Mental Health Tribunal for Scotland to the definition of “tribunal” in schedule 4 to the bill. The reason for doing so is that the Mental Health Tribunal for Scotland has not been transferred into the First-tier Tribunal for Scotland, therefore it is not included in the interpretation provisions of schedule 4. That omission needs to be rectified. Amendment 23 is necessary and I thank the Law Society of Scotland for its assistance.

The Convener

I call Humza Yousaf to speak to amendment 24 and the other amendments in the group.

Humza Yousaf

Do you mean amendment 23, Convener?

The Convener

I ask you to speak to Government amendment 24, cabinet secretary, and to the other amendments in the group.

Humza Yousaf

Forgive me; I thought that we were talking about mental health tribunals.

With regard to amendment 24, as the Lord President said in his written statement earlier this week, an area that is as significant as trial by jury is a matter for the Parliament, and the Parliament has been clear that there is a need for further dialogue on the matter. I understand the concerns that have been raised, but I hope that it is accepted that the temporary measure was being proposed only to ensure that our criminal justice system could continue to operate effectively during these incredibly challenging times. I will now begin a period of intensive and wide-ranging discussions with the judiciary, the legal profession, victims organisations and political parties to find practical and achievable solutions to the impasse. I do not think that there will be any easy answers, as was mentioned during the stage 1 debate, but I will take forward the consultations with an open mind and in good faith.

The delay to cases that we may well see will be intolerable, so I hope that we can find a resolution to the matter. I look forward to the Parliament agreeing to amendment 24.

Daniel Johnson

I, too, thank the Law Society of Scotland, which has done an extraordinary amount of work in a very short space of time and has provided us with a huge amount of detail on the bill. My amendments address at least one of the points that the Law Society raised on the extension of exemptions to hearsay evidence that is provided in court. We have just heard from the cabinet secretary about the issues that were raised about jury trials. Although those were the subject of much discussion during the stage 1 debate, of equal concern are the provisions to extend the admissibility of hearsay evidence in trials.

Our system of justice relies on several principles, one of which is trial by a jury of one’s peers; another is that evidence can be robustly tested in court, which is done by way of cross-examination. Although it is true that hearsay evidence is admitted in the case of the exemptions that are set out in the Criminal Procedure (Scotland) Act 1995, those exceptions are just that—exceptional. The bill that we are looking at would make exemptions very much the norm, because people are not able to attend court and therefore are not able to be cross-examined. That is the reason for my amendment 25; however, there is a drafting error in it and I will not move it. Nonetheless, the issue needs to be considered very carefully, particularly because we will have the opportunity to consider a further emergency bill when we return from recess.

Another issue that needs to be examined is the early release of prisoners on remand. The bill gives ministers significant powers to provide for the early release of prisoners, which is sensible and prudent. It is important that we manage the prison population for two critical reasons: first, the capacity of the criminal justice system and, secondly, because prisons are, understandably, a cause for concern as centres for transmission of the virus. Remand prisoners constitute 20 per cent of our prison population and account for 50 per cent of daily prisoner movements, as they go into and come out of prisons. Understandably, that is a significant concern but, as it stands, the bill does not give ministers the powers to provide for the early release of prisoners on remand. My amendment 27 seeks to deal with that, but I recognise that it is a complex matter. Amendment 27 is very much a probing amendment that I am keen to discuss, and I will continue to raise the issue as the situation continues.

Alex Cole-Hamilton (Edinburgh Western) (LD)

Before I speak to my amendment 26, I want to say a few words about amendment 24, and to express my gratitude to the Government for moving so far on the matter.

The changes that the UK Government made through its bill last week, for which we passed a legislative consent motion, were the first of many difficult adaptations that we will have to make to our society in our response to the crisis. As a Liberal Democrat, it is very hard for me to accept that we must, for the time being, surrender certain aspects of our freedom and liberties for the safety and protection of the most vulnerable people in our society, but I have made my peace with the measures that have been introduced so far. We, in my party, could not have supported the introduction of the new powers in part 5 of schedule 4, on the ability of ministers to remove, for the duration of the emergency, juries from trials of indictment, so I whole-heartedly welcome the Government’s amendment 24.

As we heard this morning, Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunals Service in England is pausing all trials until such time as it can find measures with which to safely operate juries. We should rise to the challenge and emulate that action. Indeed, if we were to pass the proposal, we would have been the only democracy in the whole world that would, in just the second week of lockdown, have ended a tradition that has, in Scotland, lasted 800 years. It would have been a very sad day.

The meat of the argument is around the balance of rights. As a Liberal Democrat, I see the opportunity to be tried before a jury of peers almost as a human right. We must also observe the right of defendants not to languish on remand as they wait for us to find a solution; that is justiciable under the terms of the ECHR. We do not suggest that those two rights are mutually exclusive, and we do not suggest delaying such trials in perpetuity. The bill gives latitude to extend the time bar. Let us do that for as long as we need, but only for as long as we need.

The Lord Chief Justice in England is looking for solutions; I mentioned some to the cabinet secretary in my speech this morning. I was deadly serious about use of places where the public gather, such as cinemas and theatres, which have much more space than traditional courtrooms have, and could easily be repurposed with the audiovisual technology that would be needed.

Proponents outside Parliament of paragraph 11 of schedule 4 point to the tremendous backlog of cases that they imagine might build up if we pause the system. I say again that we need to pause the system only for as long as it takes us to find a solution that would allow juries to sit safely. In any case, it is also true that, during this period of lockdown, there could, because of the absence of people on our streets, be a dramatic reduction in the number of solemn arrests that are made. The reduction of upstream workload could give ample space for courts to clear any backlog that might arise.

I am very grateful to the Government for heeding my concerns and the concerns of the other parties, the Scottish Criminal Bar Association, the Law Society of Scotland, and solicitors throughout the country, and for lodging amendment 24. I am very glad to see that, and it is very welcome. It recognises that Scotland has, in only our second week of lockdown, no cause to be the only country in the free world to dispense with a tradition of justice that has endured unbroken here for 800 years.

I absolutely support Daniel Johnson’s amendments. I understand that he does not intend to press them, but we will support any moves that he makes to attempt to take the matter forward in later legislation.

We politicians do not like to be asked hard questions, but every member knows the power of asking questions. By asking questions, we can probe what is being said, draw out areas of agreement, and highlight inconsistency. The same is true in a criminal trial. A witness who gives evidence in a witness box or in a court by videolink from a remote site can be asked questions and have their evidence proved, and any inconsistencies can be addressed. They can be cross-examined by the defence.

However, sometimes witnesses cannot be in court; for example, the witness might have died since giving a statement to the police. The law now recognises that the evidence of witnesses who are abroad, who cannot be traced, or who are unwell might be available only if their statements are read to the jury. That is not ideal, but it is a necessary compromise. We find the law in section 259 of the Criminal Procedure (Scotland) Act 1995.

However, it is important to realise that, following a decision of the High Court of Justiciary in 2003, in the case of N v HMA, the trial judge has no discretion. If a witness statement meets the criteria of that section, the judge must admit the evidence of the witness by statement. The then Lord Justice General, Lord Gill, was clear that the judge cannot choose whether to allow the statement into evidence: if the test in the section is met, the statement is used.

Our concern is that the proposal in the Government’s bill would result in statements being used instead of oral evidence, for any witness for whom

“it is not reasonably practicable, because of a reason relating to coronavirus, for the person who made the statement to attend the trial or to give evidence in any other competent manner.”

What does that even mean? Who fulfils that condition?

17:45  

Paragraph 257 of the policy memorandum explains that that provision is designed to make sure that witnesses who are

“unable to attend court to give evidence in person”,

or who are unable to give evidence because they are self-isolating and do not have access to the equipment that is required to give evidence via videolink, or lack the technical skills to operate that equipment, can have their statement admitted in evidence. That sounds very sensible, but it is not what the Government proposes. What about a witness who is not at high or higher risk, and who would still, if they had an essential job, be working? Why could they not go to court to give evidence, or to a remote site to give evidence by videolink?

Giving evidence is important. A prosecutor would not use evidence if it were not essential. We understand that there will have to be a role for the good sense of the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service in this, but we cannot support a proposal that would make the test so wide that almost any witness could claim to fall within the criteria.

The Scottish Criminal Bar Association cannot support the proposed provision, and it has said:

“We urge that care is taken if the rule against hearsay evidence is to be varied as proposed, in that thought is given to how such an important step is taken securely and robustly. It cannot rely on the whim of the witness. Experience suggests that if it does, advantage will be taken of it.”

I am coming to the end, Presiding Officer. If that condition is as loose as the Government proposes, a court will have to admit evidence from a witness who says that they do not have the technology to give evidence from home, and do not want to leave home, even if they are not at high or higher risk from the virus.

Amendment 26 is designed to tighten the criteria and to focus the test on whether there is a particular risk to the wellbeing of witnesses and others from their coming to court or going to a remote site, and on whether a court officer could deliver a laptop with a video camera to a witness’s home so that they could give evidence from there.

Under the new protective criteria in proposed new paragraph (2A), judges would still have no discretion on whether to admit statements, but they would have to decide whether there was a particular risk to the wellbeing of a witness that was attributable to the coronavirus.

The intention of amendment 26 is that judges will decide whether there is a particular risk to the wellbeing of the witness from coronavirus transmission, and whether that risk outweighs the undoubted benefit to the interests of justice and of a fair trial of having the witness examined under oath in the usual manner.

Liam Kerr (North East Scotland) (Con)

I will not speak for long. Initially we were inclined toward Monica Lennon’s amendment 23, because I, too, read the Law Society of Scotland’s note and attach weight to it. However, I believe that the president of the Mental Health Tribunal for Scotland might say that it is unnecessary. I will take an intervention from the cabinet secretary if he is able to give me more detail on that.

Humza Yousaf

Of course, I should also have responded on other amendments, which I hope to be able to do later.

We received quite strong representations from the president of the Mental Health Tribunal for Scotland. The president said that the tribunal already has powers to deal with matters by electronic means, that it does not need the benefit of the bill’s provisions on that subject, and that including them is likely only to confuse matters. Also, of course, we want to avoid unnecessary duplication in legislation. The Mental Health Tribunal for Scotland already has the powers, so there is no need to duplicate them in the new legislation.

Liam Kerr

I am grateful to the cabinet secretary for that helpful clarification.

As I stated this morning, I welcome amendment 24, which is in the name of the Cabinet Secretary for the Constitution, Europe and External Affairs. I am glad that the Government has responded to the considerable pressure on the matter. We understand the concern that it sought to address, but as we heard this morning, the Government’s proposal is not necessary and there are other ways to address that concern. I very much look forward to positive engagement in the near future on the matter.

Daniel Johnson’s amendment 25 is interesting, and I am glad that he lodged it so that the matter could be aired. Although we are sympathetic to the points that he has raised, we would have difficulty with the amendment, so I am pleased that he will not press it.

Finally, having listened to the debate, I am inclined to support Alex Cole-Hamilton’s amendment 26.

Humza Yousaf

I will speak briefly on the amendments that I have not yet touched on. On Daniel Johnson’s amendment 25, I understand where he is coming from and the concerns that he legitimately raises. However, the coronavirus outbreak is likely to mean that some witnesses will be unable to attend court to give evidence in person or, in fact, to give evidence in any other manner, so the new measure is intended to reduce the impact of the coronavirus on court business by allowing statements to be used in evidence in appropriate cases, where there are no other alternatives. That is the important element.

Notwithstanding that, we recognise that a number of concerns have been raised on the issue, in particular by the Law Society of Scotland. I invite Daniel Johnson not to move amendment 25, but I am happy to support Alex Cole-Hamilton’s amendment 26, for the reasons that he outlined.

On Daniel Johnson’s amendment 27, I recognise his long-standing interest in reducing our prison population—in particular, in reducing the number who are in prison on remand. He and I agree that we have too many remand prisoners in Scotland.

However, prisoners on remand are different from other prisoners who are in our care, because remand prisoners are there as a result of a court-mandated decision on bail. It would not be right to go above the courts in that regard. The judiciary has a long-standing and established role in determining whether a person who is accused of a criminal offence should be bailed or remanded.

There would be operational issues if amendment 27 were to be agreed to. For example, on what basis would remand prisoners be released? Would it be conditional or unconditional release? Who would set the conditions?

To give Daniel Johnson some reassurance, I point out that there is already a mechanism for remand prisoners to have refusal of bail reviewed when their circumstances have changed. I do not want to prejudge the issue, but the courts might well view the coronavirus outbreak as a material change in circumstances. Indeed, the courts have confirmed that they will continue to give priority to bail reviews and appeals. I look forward to continuing to work with Daniel Johnson to seek to reduce the prison population—especially the number of prisoners who are on remand. However, I suggest that amendment 27 is not the way to do that, so I hope that Mr Johnson will not move it.

Amendment 22, by agreement, withdrawn.

The Convener

I call amendment 23, in the name of Monica Lennon.

Monica Lennon

Because new information has come from the president of the Mental Health Tribunal for Scotland, I am happy not to move amendment 23.

Amendment 23 not moved.

Amendment 24 moved—[Humza Yousaf]—and agreed to.

Amendment 25 not moved.

Amendment 26 moved—[Alex Cole-Hamilton]—and agreed to.

Amendment 27 not moved.

Schedule 4, as amended, agreed to.

Section 6 agreed to.

Schedule 5 agreed to.

Section 7 agreed to.

Schedule 6—Functioning of public bodies

The Convener

The next group is on the functioning of public bodies, particularly in relation to freedom of information. Amendment 28, in the name of Neil Findlay, is grouped with amendments 29 to 47, 56 and 57. As a result of pre-emption, if amendment 29 is agreed to, I cannot call amendments 30 to 46; if amendment 36 is agreed to, I cannot call amendments 37 to 39; and if amendment 42 is agreed to, I cannot call amendments 43 to 45. I will outline those pre-emptions again when we come to the vote on each amendment.

Neil Findlay

I see that the Cabinet Secretary for the Constitution, Europe and External Affairs has left the chamber, so perhaps one of the other ministers who is on the front bench can answer a question for me. Earlier, I asked about another bill coming forward. Can the Cabinet Secretary for Justice tell us whether that will be only a justice bill or whether it will cover other elements? It would be helpful to know that before we proceed.

Humza Yousaf

The initial offer of another bill was to deal with the issue relating to solemn proceedings, but the Cabinet Secretary for the Constitution, Europe and External Affairs has given an indication that, depending on what is discussed here, and if members raise other issues, we will be open minded to widening the scope of that bill.

Neil Findlay

That is a helpful clarification.

At this time of crisis, huge decisions are being made by Governments, public bodies and agencies across the world. The decisions that are made by our Government and public bodies will affect people’s jobs, businesses, homes and families. They will reverberate for years to come, and they will impact on every citizen in our country. Some are literally life-and-death decisions.

It is the role of members of this Parliament, councillors, the media and the public to hold the Government and other public bodies to account. We cannot abandon key elements of scrutiny and transparency at this critical time. Indeed, the First Minister herself said that transparency is vital and that she is committed to it, which is welcome. Greater transparency gives the public more confidence in what is being done in their name.

It was therefore surprising and disappointing to see what came out from the Government yesterday. It was in the interests of openness, transparency and accountability that I lodged the amendments in my name in this group, on behalf of the Labour Party.

Amendment 28 would change the blanket approach of the bill so that the bill would cover the sectors that are under the greatest pressure. It would limit the provisions of the bill to health boards, care providers and integration joint boards, leaving existing legislation to apply to other bodies. I omitted local government from amendment 28, and I will seek to remedy that at stage 3.

Amendment 29 is the key amendment in the group, and it would delete part 2 of schedule 6, on freedom of information. It appears that no other jurisdiction in the western world—including the UK Government, with its large parliamentary majority—has sought to use emergency coronavirus legislation to curtail access to information as this bill attempts to do. Scotland stands alone in taking such restrictive action, and the Scottish Government has not justified the necessity and urgency of such an approach.

An alternative approach, which is more considered and balanced, is essential and would be in line with our commitments on human rights and open government. I ask the cabinet secretary whether he will engage with the Scottish Information Commissioner and follow the New Zealand chief ombudsman’s approach, which is altogether more pragmatic and sensible in that it puts a responsibility to act reasonably on the applicant and the body that is subject to the FOI request. In New Zealand, the chief ombudsman has made it clear that the responding body will not be penalised for going over time if that is justified in the circumstances. I suggest that that non-legislative approach is a much more constructive route, which we should follow.

There is an added incentive for members to support amendment 29: if they do so, another 16 amendments will be pre-empted, which will save us a lot of time. [Laughter.]

Amendment 30 refers to the restricted list of the most pressured public bodies, which I mentioned.

Amendments 31 to 35 and 37 to 39 would change the number of days in which bodies must respond to FOI requests.

Amendment 47 would make provision for additional finance to be provided to the Scottish Information Commissioner should that be required, so that the public can be provided with information about their rights.

Amendments 56 and 57 would restrict the duration of the proposed changes to the period up to 30 June 2020. Any restriction on the FOI process should be a temporary and clearly time-limited measure, so that the public can hold the Government and public bodies to account. Restrictions should not be kept on the statute book for a day longer than they have to be there.

The freedom of information system was hard won. It is a key part of our democracy and a key element of the openness and transparency of our society. It is there to inform. As I said, no other western democracy is seeking to restrict its FOI system, even in these difficult times. It is essential and in the interests of good decision making and good governance that we maintain our system.

I move amendment 28.

Ross Greer

I lodged amendment 36 and other amendments in the group because, although I understand the immense pressure that some public bodies are under during this crisis, we need to strike a balance between the effective use of reduced resources and the need for transparency as a way to maintain faith in public institutions during a time of crisis. I have lodged amendments that, as a whole, strike a reasonable balance in that regard.

I have a question for the Government about schedule 6 as a whole, and paragraph 7 specifically, which a minister might address either through an intervention or during their own speech on the group of amendments. Paragraph 7 of schedule 6 gives the Scottish Information Commissioner a broad remit to take the virus and its impact into account when considering the responses of public bodies to FOI requests. My question is sincere: why is that provision alone not sufficient to provide flexibility to public bodies in relation to their response times?

18:00  

My amendments would remove the extension of the review period from 20 to 60 days and would remove the additional 40-day discretionary extension for both the initial request and the review, which would reduce the total maximum period in which an FOI request could be responded to from 200 working days to 80 working days. A period of 80 days is still quite long—it is double the current 40 days allowed between the initial request and conclusion. As someone who uses FOI extensively to hold the Government to account and for whom the review process is a norm when dealing with obstructive public bodies, I do not relish that extension, but I recognise the strain that some public bodies are under.

On the point that some public bodies are more directly affected, amendment 40 would provide that the provision would apply only to the public bodies that are the most pressed by the crisis. Amendment 28, lodged by Neil Findlay, has similar intentions. The Greens believe that being prescriptive through primary legislation now is not the best option.

Neil Findlay

Does the member accept that the approach that is being taken in New Zealand is much more pragmatic and that a non-legislative response is one that we could all work with and live with if it were applied here?

Ross Greer

I was reading up on the approach in New Zealand this morning. I do not understand the freedom of information law in New Zealand that underpins the statement by the ombudsman. It is because of what the ombudsman said today that I pose my question to the Government. Paragraph 7 of schedule 6 would give the Information Commissioner a broad, flexible remit during this crisis, which begs the question why the rest of the provisions in that part are necessary at all.

A huge number of public bodies can be subject to FOI requests, and I would not want to accidentally omit public bodies that should be included because they are subject to pressure simply because we do not realise that today. That is why we propose the approach of giving the Government dispensation to put the measures together using a Scottish statutory instrument—with appropriate consultation of the Parliament to ensure that the SSI is approved.

If amendment 42 is rejected and paragraph 6 is to remain, we would be content to support amendments 43 to 46, in the name of the minister, to clarify that paragraph. Paragraph 6 is essentially redundant without paragraph 5. I urge members to vote to remove both of them.

We will certainly support Mr Findlay’s amendment 47, to ensure that the Information Commissioner’s office is sufficiently resourced, given the additional responsibility that it will have during this period. That will be critical, and I am grateful to Mr Findlay for having lodged the amendment.

Going back to the extension to appeal times, I hope that Parliament will support my amendments 36, 41 and 42, removing that extension for the reasons that I have already outlined and giving particular consideration to what I have said about the powers that are given to the Information Commissioner in paragraph 7, which make the sweeping extension unnecessary. If amendment 36 were to be accepted, it would pre-empt amendments 37 to 39, in the name of Mr Findlay; if amendment 36 were to fall, we would support those amendments in Mr Findlay’s name.

The Minister for Europe and International Development (Jenny Gilruth)

The Government recognises that transparency is of paramount importance in the current circumstances. Nothing in what we have proposed would remove the right of people to make FOI requests or the duty of public bodies and the Scottish Government to respond promptly. I assure members that nothing in the proposals will restrict the normal channel of accountability of ministers through parliamentary questions and committee scrutiny. As we have made clear, we are very open to looking at how scrutiny can be tailored to meet the current, unique, circumstances that we face.

What we are proposing for FOI is timetable flexibility at a time when the absolute priority of the public sector has to be protecting the safety of Scotland’s people. Scottish public authorities are experiencing unprecedented pressures and, despite their best efforts, many are likely to miss statutory FOI time limits for requests for information during the pandemic. As the Scottish Information Commissioner put it in his briefing to all MSPs yesterday:

“The circumstances that public authorities across Scotland currently face are unprecedented, and we are wholly sympathetic to the pressures that the COVID-19 pandemic will be placing on public institutions, structures, resources and staff. Meeting the current 20 working day FOI timescales in circumstances where premises are closed, where information may be inaccessible, where staff are absent, or where organisations face unprecedented demands for essential services will undoubtedly create significant challenges for many organisations.”

Although we welcome that comment, the fact remains that unless we legislate in the bill, public bodies will be breaking the law if they miss FOI deadlines.

Anas Sarwar (Glasgow) (Lab)

The Public Audit and Post-legislative Scrutiny Committee has looked at FOI legislation. We were due to publish our report two weeks ago, but, given the national circumstances, we decided to pause on publishing it until further down the line.

The use of proactive publishing was highlighted in the evidence that we received for our report, both from external organisations and from members of this Parliament. If we were to proactively publish more information, we would reduce the need for FOI requests. Can the Government look at proactive publishing as a potential solution, as an alternative to some of the provisions in the bill?

Jenny Gilruth

I thank Anas Sarwar for that helpful intervention, and I see that my colleague, the Cabinet Secretary for the Constitution, Europe and External Affairs, is nodding.

As a Government, we are looking at how we can communicate our messages in a different way. We are living through pretty unique circumstances, and displaying documents online, for example, which we might not have done in the past, is one of the ways that we will look to share information with the public in future.

The bill makes provision for temporary modifications to FOI deadlines as a proportionate response to these unprecedented circumstances. Since we published our proposals, there has been much discussion on whether we should limit the provisions to front-line health services. However, although national health service boards, general practitioners and others in the healthcare sector are on the front line of addressing the pandemic, a vast range of public sector organisations are involved in the response on matters including housing, transport, social services and education, with central and local government, agencies and public bodies all involved.

The current emergency affects all people in Scotland in a way that has never been seen before. Every public authority is affected. All but essential workers are working from home. As an example, occupancy rates in Scottish Government buildings are down by 97 per cent. Many staff have caring responsibilities.

Neil Findlay

Will the minister take an intervention?

Jenny Gilruth

Can I make some progress?

Neil Findlay

Will she come back to me?

Jenny Gilruth

I will.

We know that levels of sickness will increase as the pandemic progresses, and that that will affect organisations’ ability to respond to requests.

This is not business as usual for the Scottish Government—far from it. Teams that deal with housing, education, food standards, social security and a wide range of other matters are now working together on our response to Covid-19. Essential services need to be delivered. A vast range of Government policy and legislative work—not least on this bill and other emergency legislation—needs to continue at pace.

I will now take Mr Findlay’s intervention.

Neil Findlay

I do not disagree with a word that the minister has said on how public bodies are responding. However, exactly the same response is happening in England, Wales, Germany and France, and across western democracies, and none of those countries is seeking to restrict in the way that we are in Scotland. Therefore, I appeal to the minister again: can we take a balanced, sensible, non-legislative approach, rather than get ourselves tied into legislation that I hope none of us wants to pass?

Jenny Gilruth

We are taking a balanced and sensible approach. We have looked at the recommendations from the Scottish Information Commissioner, and those are what have informed our amendments.

Some of those countries might still take action on FOI requests or comparable legislation as the pandemic plays out—we do not know yet. I do not think that it is necessarily fair to compare where we are now to where the rest of the world is in terms of the pandemic and its global spread.

The proposals that we set out in the bill include extending the default FOI deadline to 60 days, with an option for an additional extension of up to 40 days where the case is particularly complex. However, we have accepted the advice of the commissioner that it would be better for the additional extension to be an option that could be targeted where bodies are under particular pressure. Scottish Government amendments 43 to 46 therefore provide the power for ministers to make directions to allow public authorities to extend deadlines further. That power is designed to be used in a targeted way, in relation to areas of particular pressure. Before using that power, ministers must consult the commissioner, and directions cannot apply to the Scottish Government itself. Those provisions would replace paragraph 5 in schedule 6. Therefore, we are happy to support amendment 41, in the name of Ross Greer. I trust that that will reassure members, and that they will be able to support those amendments.

I turn to the other Opposition amendments. I appreciate that we are all trying to find the right balance. Amendments 28 and 30, in the name of Neil Findlay, seek to restrict the flexibility to health service bodies alone. We cannot agree to that. As I have explained, a vast range of public sector bodies are engaged in responding to the pandemic, and we should recognise the effect that that is having on them, too.

Amendment 40, in the name of Ross Greer, also proposes that the measures should apply only to certain public authorities. It would require Scottish ministers to bring an affirmative instrument to the chamber to specify which. We recognise that that would allow for far greater targeting of the measures, but the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 applies to thousands of public authorities and time is of the essence. It would not be feasible for Scottish ministers to assess all authorities for potential inclusion and produce subordinate legislation in sufficient time to address the pressures that authorities across the country are feeling right now. Accordingly, we cannot support amendment 40.

Neil Findlay

Will the minister take an intervention?

Jenny Gilruth

I would like to make some progress.

Amendment 29, in the name of Neil Findlay, would remove the entirety of part 2 of schedule 6. If it were agreed to, the bill would make no provision whatsoever for freedom of information and the current law would continue to apply. Again, we cannot accept that. The Scottish Government is clear that our hard-pressed public authorities need additional flexibility so that they can focus on dealing with the pandemic. Amendment 29 would deny them that flexibility.

Amendments 31 to 35 and 37 to 39, in the name of Neil Findlay, seek to reduce the new timescales that are proposed in the bill. Again, we are unable to support those amendments as we do not believe that they would give authorities sufficient flexibility. I stress that authorities remain under a duty to respond promptly, which in many cases will mean that they will respond well in advance of the 60th working day in any event.

On amendment 36, although we recognise Ross Greer’s desire to make the bill more targeted, we are unable to support the proposal. We believe that it is important that authorities have time to reach the correct decision, rather than making a rushed one.

Amendment 42, which is also in the name of Ross Greer, would remove ministers’ ability to introduce an extension should the situation warrant it, which the commissioner recommended. We believe that it is sensible to have such a power in case circumstances change because, otherwise, fresh primary legislation would be required. Mr Greer’s amendment cuts across what the commissioner has recommended, so we cannot support it.

Amendment 47, in the name of Neil Findlay, would enable the commissioner to submit a revised budget to the Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body for approval. Although we would wish to ensure that the commissioner is properly resourced, we observe that paragraph 4A(2) of schedule 2 to FOISA already allows the commissioner to prepare a revised budget and submit it. We believe that FOISA already contains provision to achieve what Mr Findlay seeks, so we are not persuaded that his amendment is absolutely necessary. We therefore do not support it.

Amendments 56 and 57, in the name of Neil Findlay, would see all the measures expire at the end of June 2020. We do not believe that that would provide our hard-pressed authorities with the flexibility that they need right now. Accordingly, we do not support the amendments. I note, however, that section 12 of the bill gives ministers the power to bring forward the expiry date of the provisions by regulation.

Adam Tomkins (Glasgow) (Con)

We very much welcome the fact that the Government has moved on the issue since yesterday, but its concessions, although they are welcome, do not go far enough. We will support all the Opposition amendments in the group except for Neil Findlay’s amendment 47, which we do not believe is necessary.

We recognise that the amendments are not perfect, as Mr Findlay did in his opening remarks on the group. We would certainly want the provision in amendment 28, if it is agreed to, to be extended at stage 3 to cover local authorities as well as health boards, general practices and the like.

Last week, in giving evidence to the Finance and Constitution Committee, Mr Russell said that he wanted the Scottish Government to be placed under increased scrutiny and oversight during the coronavirus crisis because of the extraordinary powers that it is having conferred upon it by both UK legislation and legislation to be passed by this Parliament. However, it now seems to have rather resiled from that bold position by being what appears to be the only Government in the democratic world that is seeking to shield itself from increased scrutiny under freedom of information legislation.

The Cabinet Secretary for the Constitution, Europe and External Affairs (Michael Russell)

I will make two quick points. First, the recommendations that we have brought forward are the recommendations of the Information Commissioner. It would be perverse if the Parliament were to reject the recommendations of the person it entrusts to monitor the legislation. That would be extraordinary.

Secondly, freedom of information is not the only instrument of scrutiny. I have made that clear. I will refer later to a very helpful proposal from Anas Sarwar in relation to scrutiny by the Parliament on behalf of the people of Scotland, and I hope to bring forward in the coming days new arrangements to allow individual members to be in touch with the Government about specific constituency issues very quickly indeed. We—and the Parliamentary Bureau, as I understand it—have protected parliamentary questions. To behave as though FOI is the only scrutiny is simply wrong.

18:15  

As far as other countries are concerned, sometimes in the chamber people say to the Scottish Government, “Go further—you must do what isn’t happening elsewhere,” but the moment we say that something is required and offer a cogent explanation for doing it, they say, “Oh, no—draw back; we can’t go as far, because nobody else has done it.” That is also perverse.

Adam Tomkins

It is not perverse at all, and Mr Russell knows that. If a court rules that a certain measure is not necessary to comply with international human rights standards, but we as a Parliament wish to enact that measure, we are not acting perversely.

Courts, regulators and commissioners, including the Scottish Information Commissioner, set the floor; we set the ceiling. We are not acting perversely by wanting to have additional protections that safeguard the fundamental rights of freedom of information more robustly than has been recommended by the Information Commissioner. That is not perversity, and Mr Russell knows that full well.

I am of the view that no legislation in this area is required. I go back to the necessity test. We are prepared to work with the Government to enact the legislation that it needs in order to address the crisis that we all confront. On that, I think that we are all agreed, but this matter does not require legislation.

There is no equivalent to any of these measures in the United Kingdom’s Coronavirus Act 2020, which was passed last week. It has found a non-legislative solution, which is that the Information Commissioner’s Office has simply put out a statement that says:

“we will not be penalising public authorities for prioritising other areas or adapting their usual approach during this extraordinary period.”

That is all that we need—a bit of sensible, pragmatic and administrative flexibility to deal with what is undoubtedly the case: health boards should be prioritising matters other than processing FOI requests at the moment.

We are asking—indeed, we are requiring by law—the people who we represent to make extraordinary changes to their lives, businesses and lifestyles. We need to take them with us. We do that by being open and transparent and not by being secretive. The proposals are unnecessary; they are unneeded. We will support all the Opposition amendments in this group, except for amendment 47.

Alex Cole-Hamilton

I do not intend to add much more to what has been a robust and full-throated debate. Continued scrutiny is essential when legislation is being sped through and parliamentary proceedings are being scaled back.

As the Information Commissioner told the Government, public interest in decisions made during this time is, understandably, significant. Services are refocusing to save lives, experiencing office disruption and dealing with staff absences, but not every public body and every public servant is being occupied by the coronavirus crisis or the response to it to the same degree—some might even have spare capacity as their operations are being scaled back, and projects, including new legislation, are being postponed. The bill goes far beyond what is necessary. It is setting up the FOI system for paralysis and opening the door to the suppression of scrutiny, particularly from journalists.

The initial response and the first stage appeal need not take a combined 10 months. Such rules, coupled with the relaxed approach that some organisations take to existing statutory deadlines could lead to a request sent today potentially not even being answered before the next Scottish general election.

As with the removal of juries, the Information Commissioner was not aware of any other country adopting such measures in its emergency legislation. Like Adam Tomkins, we will be supporting all Opposition amendments.

The Convener

I call Neil Findlay to wind up, and to press or withdraw amendment 28.

Neil Findlay

I press amendment 28.

I think that we have had a very good discussion—we have got exactly to the right issues that people would expect us to be discussing at this time.

I make an appeal at this stage to my colleagues in the Green Party to take a principled approach and support amendment 29. By doing so, we can get this provision out of the bill and we can move on to finding a non-legislative answer to the issue. We would all take part in those discussions willingly—with the Information Commissioner—and I think that we would come out with a far better result than what we will have if this proceeds. I appeal to Parliament to make that decision. It is in the interest of all our constituents and in the interest of good governance. It reflects the view that was expressed by the First Minister that we want absolute transparency throughout this really difficult time for our country.

The Convener

The question is, that amendment 28 be agreed to. Are we agreed?

Members: No.

The Convener

There will be a division.

For

Baker, Claire (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Lab)
Ballantyne, Michelle (South Scotland) (Con)
Bowman, Bill (North East Scotland) (Con)
Boyack, Sarah (Lothian) (Lab)
Briggs, Miles (Lothian) (Con)
Cameron, Donald (Highlands and Islands) (Con)
Carlaw, Jackson (Eastwood) (Con)
Cole-Hamilton, Alex (Edinburgh Western) (LD)
Corry, Maurice (West Scotland) (Con)
Davidson, Ruth (Edinburgh Central) (Con)
Findlay, Neil (Lothian) (Lab)
Fraser, Murdo (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Con)
Golden, Maurice (West Scotland) (Con)
Grant, Rhoda (Highlands and Islands) (Lab)
Gray, Iain (East Lothian) (Lab)
Greene, Jamie (West Scotland) (Con)
Griffin, Mark (Central Scotland) (Lab)
Johnson, Daniel (Edinburgh Southern) (Lab)
Halcro Johnston, Jamie (Highlands and Islands) (Con)
Kelly, James (Glasgow) (Lab)
Kerr, Liam (North East Scotland) (Con)
Lennon, Monica (Central Scotland) (Lab)
Leonard, Richard (Central Scotland) (Lab)
Lindhurst, Gordon (Lothian) (Con)
Macdonald, Lewis (North East Scotland) (Lab)
McArthur, Liam (Orkney Islands) (LD)
McNeill, Pauline (Glasgow) (Lab)
Rennie, Willie (North East Fife) (LD)
Rowley, Alex (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Lab)
Sarwar, Anas (Glasgow) (Lab)
Simpson, Graham (Central Scotland) (Con)
Smith, Liz (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Con)
Smyth, Colin (South Scotland) (Lab)
Stewart, Alexander (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Con)
Tomkins, Adam (Glasgow) (Con)

Against

Adam, George (Paisley) (SNP)
Arthur, Tom (Renfrewshire South) (SNP)
Beattie, Colin (Midlothian North and Musselburgh) (SNP)
Brown, Keith (Clackmannanshire and Dunblane) (SNP)
Coffey, Willie (Kilmarnock and Irvine Valley) (SNP)
Constance, Angela (Almond Valley) (SNP)
Cunningham, Roseanna (Perthshire South and Kinross-shire) (SNP)
Denham, Ash (Edinburgh Eastern) (SNP)
Dey, Graeme (Angus South) (SNP)
Doris, Bob (Glasgow Maryhill and Springburn) (SNP)
Fabiani, Linda (East Kilbride) (SNP)
Finnie, John (Highlands and Islands) (Green)
FitzPatrick, Joe (Dundee City West) (SNP)
Freeman, Jeane (Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley) (SNP)
Gibson, Kenneth (Cunninghame North) (SNP)
Gilruth, Jenny (Mid Fife and Glenrothes) (SNP)
Gougeon, Mairi (Angus North and Mearns) (SNP)
Greer, Ross (West Scotland) (Green)
Harvie, Patrick (Glasgow) (Green)
Haughey, Clare (Rutherglen) (SNP)
Hepburn, Jamie (Cumbernauld and Kilsyth) (SNP)
Hyslop, Fiona (Linlithgow) (SNP)
Johnstone, Alison (Lothian) (Green)
Kidd, Bill (Glasgow Anniesland) (SNP)
Lochhead, Richard (Moray) (SNP)
Lyle, Richard (Uddingston and Bellshill) (SNP)
MacDonald, Gordon (Edinburgh Pentlands) (SNP)
MacGregor, Fulton (Coatbridge and Chryston) (SNP)
Mackay, Rona (Strathkelvin and Bearsden) (SNP)
Macpherson, Ben (Edinburgh Northern and Leith) (SNP)
Maguire, Ruth (Cunninghame South) (SNP)
Mason, John (Glasgow Shettleston) (SNP)
Matheson, Michael (Falkirk West) (SNP)
McAlpine, Joan (South Scotland) (SNP)
McKee, Ivan (Glasgow Provan) (SNP)
McKelvie, Christina (Hamilton, Larkhall and Stonehouse) (SNP)
McMillan, Stuart (Greenock and Inverclyde) (SNP)
Robison, Shona (Dundee City East) (SNP)
Ruskell, Mark (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Green)
Russell, Michael (Argyll and Bute) (SNP)
Somerville, Shirley-Anne (Dunfermline) (SNP)
Stewart, Kevin (Aberdeen Central) (SNP)
Sturgeon, Nicola (Glasgow Southside) (SNP)
Torrance, David (Kirkcaldy) (SNP)
Wheelhouse, Paul (South Scotland) (SNP)
Wightman, Andy (Lothian) (Green)
Yousaf, Humza (Glasgow Pollok) (SNP)

The Convener

The result of the division is: For 35, Against 47, Abstentions 0.

Amendment 28 disagreed to.

Amendment 29 moved—[Neil Findlay].

The Convener

The question is, that amendment 29 be agreed to. Are we agreed?

Members: No.

The Convener

There will be a division.

For

Baker, Claire (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Lab)
Ballantyne, Michelle (South Scotland) (Con)
Bowman, Bill (North East Scotland) (Con)
Boyack, Sarah (Lothian) (Lab)
Briggs, Miles (Lothian) (Con)
Cameron, Donald (Highlands and Islands) (Con)
Carlaw, Jackson (Eastwood) (Con)
Cole-Hamilton, Alex (Edinburgh Western) (LD)
Corry, Maurice (West Scotland) (Con)
Davidson, Ruth (Edinburgh Central) (Con)
Findlay, Neil (Lothian) (Lab)
Fraser, Murdo (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Con)
Golden, Maurice (West Scotland) (Con)
Grant, Rhoda (Highlands and Islands) (Lab)
Gray, Iain (East Lothian) (Lab)
Greene, Jamie (West Scotland) (Con)
Griffin, Mark (Central Scotland) (Lab)
Johnson, Daniel (Edinburgh Southern) (Lab)
Halcro Johnston, Jamie (Highlands and Islands) (Con)
Kelly, James (Glasgow) (Lab)
Kerr, Liam (North East Scotland) (Con)
Lennon, Monica (Central Scotland) (Lab)
Leonard, Richard (Central Scotland) (Lab)
Lindhurst, Gordon (Lothian) (Con)
Macdonald, Lewis (North East Scotland) (Lab)
McArthur, Liam (Orkney Islands) (LD)
McNeill, Pauline (Glasgow) (Lab)
Rennie, Willie (North East Fife) (LD)
Rowley, Alex (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Lab)
Sarwar, Anas (Glasgow) (Lab)
Simpson, Graham (Central Scotland) (Con)
Smith, Liz (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Con)
Smyth, Colin (South Scotland) (Lab)
Stewart, Alexander (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Con)
Tomkins, Adam (Glasgow) (Con)

Against

Adam, George (Paisley) (SNP)
Arthur, Tom (Renfrewshire South) (SNP)
Beattie, Colin (Midlothian North and Musselburgh) (SNP)
Brown, Keith (Clackmannanshire and Dunblane) (SNP)
Coffey, Willie (Kilmarnock and Irvine Valley) (SNP)
Constance, Angela (Almond Valley) (SNP)
Cunningham, Roseanna (Perthshire South and Kinross-shire) (SNP)
Denham, Ash (Edinburgh Eastern) (SNP)
Dey, Graeme (Angus South) (SNP)
Doris, Bob (Glasgow Maryhill and Springburn) (SNP)
Fabiani, Linda (East Kilbride) (SNP)
Finnie, John (Highlands and Islands) (Green)
FitzPatrick, Joe (Dundee City West) (SNP)
Freeman, Jeane (Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley) (SNP)
Gibson, Kenneth (Cunninghame North) (SNP)
Gilruth, Jenny (Mid Fife and Glenrothes) (SNP)
Gougeon, Mairi (Angus North and Mearns) (SNP)
Greer, Ross (West Scotland) (Green)
Harvie, Patrick (Glasgow) (Green)
Haughey, Clare (Rutherglen) (SNP)
Hepburn, Jamie (Cumbernauld and Kilsyth) (SNP)
Hyslop, Fiona (Linlithgow) (SNP)
Johnstone, Alison (Lothian) (Green)
Kidd, Bill (Glasgow Anniesland) (SNP)
Lochhead, Richard (Moray) (SNP)
Lyle, Richard (Uddingston and Bellshill) (SNP)
MacDonald, Gordon (Edinburgh Pentlands) (SNP)
MacGregor, Fulton (Coatbridge and Chryston) (SNP)
Mackay, Rona (Strathkelvin and Bearsden) (SNP)
Macpherson, Ben (Edinburgh Northern and Leith) (SNP)
Maguire, Ruth (Cunninghame South) (SNP)
Mason, John (Glasgow Shettleston) (SNP)
Matheson, Michael (Falkirk West) (SNP)
McAlpine, Joan (South Scotland) (SNP)
McKee, Ivan (Glasgow Provan) (SNP)
McKelvie, Christina (Hamilton, Larkhall and Stonehouse) (SNP)
McMillan, Stuart (Greenock and Inverclyde) (SNP)
Robison, Shona (Dundee City East) (SNP)
Ruskell, Mark (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Green)
Russell, Michael (Argyll and Bute) (SNP)
Somerville, Shirley-Anne (Dunfermline) (SNP)
Stewart, Kevin (Aberdeen Central) (SNP)
Sturgeon, Nicola (Glasgow Southside) (SNP)
Torrance, David (Kirkcaldy) (SNP)
Wheelhouse, Paul (South Scotland) (SNP)
Wightman, Andy (Lothian) (Green)
Yousaf, Humza (Glasgow Pollok) (SNP)

The Convener

The result of the division is: For 35, Against 47, Abstentions 0.

Amendment 29 disagreed to.

Amendment 30 moved—[Neil Findlay].

The Convener

The question is, that amendment 30 be agreed to. Are we agreed?

Members: No.

The Convener

There will be a division.

For

Baker, Claire (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Lab)
Ballantyne, Michelle (South Scotland) (Con)
Bowman, Bill (North East Scotland) (Con)
Boyack, Sarah (Lothian) (Lab)
Briggs, Miles (Lothian) (Con)
Cameron, Donald (Highlands and Islands) (Con)
Carlaw, Jackson (Eastwood) (Con)
Cole-Hamilton, Alex (Edinburgh Western) (LD)
Corry, Maurice (West Scotland) (Con)
Davidson, Ruth (Edinburgh Central) (Con)
Findlay, Neil (Lothian) (Lab)
Fraser, Murdo (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Con)
Golden, Maurice (West Scotland) (Con)
Grant, Rhoda (Highlands and Islands) (Lab)
Gray, Iain (East Lothian) (Lab)
Greene, Jamie (West Scotland) (Con)
Griffin, Mark (Central Scotland) (Lab)
Johnson, Daniel (Edinburgh Southern) (Lab)
Halcro Johnston, Jamie (Highlands and Islands) (Con)
Kelly, James (Glasgow) (Lab)
Kerr, Liam (North East Scotland) (Con)
Lennon, Monica (Central Scotland) (Lab)
Leonard, Richard (Central Scotland) (Lab)
Lindhurst, Gordon (Lothian) (Con)
Macdonald, Lewis (North East Scotland) (Lab)
McArthur, Liam (Orkney Islands) (LD)
McNeill, Pauline (Glasgow) (Lab)
Rennie, Willie (North East Fife) (LD)
Rowley, Alex (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Lab)
Sarwar, Anas (Glasgow) (Lab)
Simpson, Graham (Central Scotland) (Con)
Smith, Liz (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Con)
Smyth, Colin (South Scotland) (Lab)
Stewart, Alexander (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Con)
Tomkins, Adam (Glasgow) (Con)

Against

Adam, George (Paisley) (SNP)
Arthur, Tom (Renfrewshire South) (SNP)
Beattie, Colin (Midlothian North and Musselburgh) (SNP)
Brown, Keith (Clackmannanshire and Dunblane) (SNP)
Coffey, Willie (Kilmarnock and Irvine Valley) (SNP)
Constance, Angela (Almond Valley) (SNP)
Cunningham, Roseanna (Perthshire South and Kinross-shire) (SNP)
Denham, Ash (Edinburgh Eastern) (SNP)
Dey, Graeme (Angus South) (SNP)
Doris, Bob (Glasgow Maryhill and Springburn) (SNP)
Fabiani, Linda (East Kilbride) (SNP)
Finnie, John (Highlands and Islands) (Green)
FitzPatrick, Joe (Dundee City West) (SNP)
Freeman, Jeane (Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley) (SNP)
Gibson, Kenneth (Cunninghame North) (SNP)
Gilruth, Jenny (Mid Fife and Glenrothes) (SNP)
Gougeon, Mairi (Angus North and Mearns) (SNP)
Greer, Ross (West Scotland) (Green)
Harvie, Patrick (Glasgow) (Green)
Haughey, Clare (Rutherglen) (SNP)
Hepburn, Jamie (Cumbernauld and Kilsyth) (SNP)
Hyslop, Fiona (Linlithgow) (SNP)
Johnstone, Alison (Lothian) (Green)
Kidd, Bill (Glasgow Anniesland) (SNP)
Lochhead, Richard (Moray) (SNP)
Lyle, Richard (Uddingston and Bellshill) (SNP)
MacDonald, Gordon (Edinburgh Pentlands) (SNP)
MacGregor, Fulton (Coatbridge and Chryston) (SNP)
Mackay, Rona (Strathkelvin and Bearsden) (SNP)
Macpherson, Ben (Edinburgh Northern and Leith) (SNP)
Maguire, Ruth (Cunninghame South) (SNP)
Mason, John (Glasgow Shettleston) (SNP)
Matheson, Michael (Falkirk West) (SNP)
McAlpine, Joan (South Scotland) (SNP)
McKee, Ivan (Glasgow Provan) (SNP)
McKelvie, Christina (Hamilton, Larkhall and Stonehouse) (SNP)
McMillan, Stuart (Greenock and Inverclyde) (SNP)
Robison, Shona (Dundee City East) (SNP)
Ruskell, Mark (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Green)
Russell, Michael (Argyll and Bute) (SNP)
Somerville, Shirley-Anne (Dunfermline) (SNP)
Stewart, Kevin (Aberdeen Central) (SNP)
Sturgeon, Nicola (Glasgow Southside) (SNP)
Torrance, David (Kirkcaldy) (SNP)
Wheelhouse, Paul (South Scotland) (SNP)
Wightman, Andy (Lothian) (Green)
Yousaf, Humza (Glasgow Pollok) (SNP)

The Convener

The result of the division is: For 35, Against 47, Abstentions 0.

Amendment 30 disagreed to.

Amendment 31 moved—[Neil Findlay].

The Convener

The question is, that amendment 31 be agreed to. Are we agreed?

Members: No.

The Convener

There will be a division.

For

Baker, Claire (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Lab)
Ballantyne, Michelle (South Scotland) (Con)
Bowman, Bill (North East Scotland) (Con)
Boyack, Sarah (Lothian) (Lab)
Briggs, Miles (Lothian) (Con)
Cameron, Donald (Highlands and Islands) (Con)
Carlaw, Jackson (Eastwood) (Con)
Cole-Hamilton, Alex (Edinburgh Western) (LD)
Corry, Maurice (West Scotland) (Con)
Davidson, Ruth (Edinburgh Central) (Con)
Findlay, Neil (Lothian) (Lab)
Fraser, Murdo (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Con)
Golden, Maurice (West Scotland) (Con)
Grant, Rhoda (Highlands and Islands) (Lab)
Gray, Iain (East Lothian) (Lab)
Greene, Jamie (West Scotland) (Con)
Griffin, Mark (Central Scotland) (Lab)
Johnson, Daniel (Edinburgh Southern) (Lab)
Halcro Johnston, Jamie (Highlands and Islands) (Con)
Kelly, James (Glasgow) (Lab)
Kerr, Liam (North East Scotland) (Con)
Lennon, Monica (Central Scotland) (Lab)
Leonard, Richard (Central Scotland) (Lab)
Lindhurst, Gordon (Lothian) (Con)
Macdonald, Lewis (North East Scotland) (Lab)
McArthur, Liam (Orkney Islands) (LD)
McNeill, Pauline (Glasgow) (Lab)
Rennie, Willie (North East Fife) (LD)
Rowley, Alex (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Lab)
Sarwar, Anas (Glasgow) (Lab)
Simpson, Graham (Central Scotland) (Con)
Smith, Liz (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Con)
Smyth, Colin (South Scotland) (Lab)
Stewart, Alexander (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Con)
Tomkins, Adam (Glasgow) (Con)

Against

Adam, George (Paisley) (SNP)
Arthur, Tom (Renfrewshire South) (SNP)
Beattie, Colin (Midlothian North and Musselburgh) (SNP)
Brown, Keith (Clackmannanshire and Dunblane) (SNP)
Coffey, Willie (Kilmarnock and Irvine Valley) (SNP)
Constance, Angela (Almond Valley) (SNP)
Cunningham, Roseanna (Perthshire South and Kinross-shire) (SNP)
Denham, Ash (Edinburgh Eastern) (SNP)
Dey, Graeme (Angus South) (SNP)
Doris, Bob (Glasgow Maryhill and Springburn) (SNP)
Fabiani, Linda (East Kilbride) (SNP)
Finnie, John (Highlands and Islands) (Green)
FitzPatrick, Joe (Dundee City West) (SNP)
Freeman, Jeane (Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley) (SNP)
Gibson, Kenneth (Cunninghame North) (SNP)
Gilruth, Jenny (Mid Fife and Glenrothes) (SNP)
Gougeon, Mairi (Angus North and Mearns) (SNP)
Greer, Ross (West Scotland) (Green)
Harvie, Patrick (Glasgow) (Green)
Haughey, Clare (Rutherglen) (SNP)
Hepburn, Jamie (Cumbernauld and Kilsyth) (SNP)
Hyslop, Fiona (Linlithgow) (SNP)
Johnstone, Alison (Lothian) (Green)
Kidd, Bill (Glasgow Anniesland) (SNP)
Lochhead, Richard (Moray) (SNP)
Lyle, Richard (Uddingston and Bellshill) (SNP)
MacDonald, Gordon (Edinburgh Pentlands) (SNP)
MacGregor, Fulton (Coatbridge and Chryston) (SNP)
Mackay, Rona (Strathkelvin and Bearsden) (SNP)
Macpherson, Ben (Edinburgh Northern and Leith) (SNP)
Maguire, Ruth (Cunninghame South) (SNP)
Mason, John (Glasgow Shettleston) (SNP)
Matheson, Michael (Falkirk West) (SNP)
McAlpine, Joan (South Scotland) (SNP)
McKee, Ivan (Glasgow Provan) (SNP)
McKelvie, Christina (Hamilton, Larkhall and Stonehouse) (SNP)
McMillan, Stuart (Greenock and Inverclyde) (SNP)
Robison, Shona (Dundee City East) (SNP)
Ruskell, Mark (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Green)
Russell, Michael (Argyll and Bute) (SNP)
Somerville, Shirley-Anne (Dunfermline) (SNP)
Stewart, Kevin (Aberdeen Central) (SNP)
Sturgeon, Nicola (Glasgow Southside) (SNP)
Torrance, David (Kirkcaldy) (SNP)
Wheelhouse, Paul (South Scotland) (SNP)
Wightman, Andy (Lothian) (Green)
Yousaf, Humza (Glasgow Pollok) (SNP)

The Convener

The result of the division is: For 35, Against 47, Abstentions 0.

Amendment 31 disagreed to.

Amendment 32 moved—[Neil Findlay].

The Convener

The question is, that amendment 32 be agreed to. Are we agreed?

Members: No.

The Convener

There will be a division.

For

Baker, Claire (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Lab)
Ballantyne, Michelle (South Scotland) (Con)
Bowman, Bill (North East Scotland) (Con)
Boyack, Sarah (Lothian) (Lab)
Briggs, Miles (Lothian) (Con)
Cameron, Donald (Highlands and Islands) (Con)
Carlaw, Jackson (Eastwood) (Con)
Cole-Hamilton, Alex (Edinburgh Western) (LD)
Corry, Maurice (West Scotland) (Con)
Davidson, Ruth (Edinburgh Central) (Con)
Findlay, Neil (Lothian) (Lab)
Fraser, Murdo (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Con)
Golden, Maurice (West Scotland) (Con)
Grant, Rhoda (Highlands and Islands) (Lab)
Gray, Iain (East Lothian) (Lab)
Greene, Jamie (West Scotland) (Con)
Griffin, Mark (Central Scotland) (Lab)
Johnson, Daniel (Edinburgh Southern) (Lab)
Halcro Johnston, Jamie (Highlands and Islands) (Con)
Kelly, James (Glasgow) (Lab)
Kerr, Liam (North East Scotland) (Con)
Lennon, Monica (Central Scotland) (Lab)
Leonard, Richard (Central Scotland) (Lab)
Lindhurst, Gordon (Lothian) (Con)
Macdonald, Lewis (North East Scotland) (Lab)
McArthur, Liam (Orkney Islands) (LD)
McNeill, Pauline (Glasgow) (Lab)
Rennie, Willie (North East Fife) (LD)
Rowley, Alex (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Lab)
Sarwar, Anas (Glasgow) (Lab)
Simpson, Graham (Central Scotland) (Con)
Smith, Liz (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Con)
Smyth, Colin (South Scotland) (Lab)
Stewart, Alexander (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Con)
Tomkins, Adam (Glasgow) (Con)

Against

Adam, George (Paisley) (SNP)
Arthur, Tom (Renfrewshire South) (SNP)
Beattie, Colin (Midlothian North and Musselburgh) (SNP)
Brown, Keith (Clackmannanshire and Dunblane) (SNP)
Coffey, Willie (Kilmarnock and Irvine Valley) (SNP)
Constance, Angela (Almond Valley) (SNP)
Cunningham, Roseanna (Perthshire South and Kinross-shire) (SNP)
Denham, Ash (Edinburgh Eastern) (SNP)
Dey, Graeme (Angus South) (SNP)
Doris, Bob (Glasgow Maryhill and Springburn) (SNP)
Fabiani, Linda (East Kilbride) (SNP)
Finnie, John (Highlands and Islands) (Green)
FitzPatrick, Joe (Dundee City West) (SNP)
Freeman, Jeane (Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley) (SNP)
Gibson, Kenneth (Cunninghame North) (SNP)
Gilruth, Jenny (Mid Fife and Glenrothes) (SNP)
Gougeon, Mairi (Angus North and Mearns) (SNP)
Greer, Ross (West Scotland) (Green)
Harvie, Patrick (Glasgow) (Green)
Haughey, Clare (Rutherglen) (SNP)
Hepburn, Jamie (Cumbernauld and Kilsyth) (SNP)
Hyslop, Fiona (Linlithgow) (SNP)
Johnstone, Alison (Lothian) (Green)
Kidd, Bill (Glasgow Anniesland) (SNP)
Lochhead, Richard (Moray) (SNP)
Lyle, Richard (Uddingston and Bellshill) (SNP)
MacDonald, Gordon (Edinburgh Pentlands) (SNP)
MacGregor, Fulton (Coatbridge and Chryston) (SNP)
Mackay, Rona (Strathkelvin and Bearsden) (SNP)
Macpherson, Ben (Edinburgh Northern and Leith) (SNP)
Maguire, Ruth (Cunninghame South) (SNP)
Mason, John (Glasgow Shettleston) (SNP)
Matheson, Michael (Falkirk West) (SNP)
McAlpine, Joan (South Scotland) (SNP)
McKee, Ivan (Glasgow Provan) (SNP)
McKelvie, Christina (Hamilton, Larkhall and Stonehouse) (SNP)
McMillan, Stuart (Greenock and Inverclyde) (SNP)
Robison, Shona (Dundee City East) (SNP)
Ruskell, Mark (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Green)
Russell, Michael (Argyll and Bute) (SNP)
Somerville, Shirley-Anne (Dunfermline) (SNP)
Stewart, Kevin (Aberdeen Central) (SNP)
Sturgeon, Nicola (Glasgow Southside) (SNP)
Torrance, David (Kirkcaldy) (SNP)
Wheelhouse, Paul (South Scotland) (SNP)
Wightman, Andy (Lothian) (Green)
Yousaf, Humza (Glasgow Pollok) (SNP)

The Convener

The result of the division is: For 35, Against 47, Abstentions 0.

Amendment 32 disagreed to.

Amendment 33 moved—[Neil Findlay].

The Convener

The question is, that amendment 33 be agreed to. Are we agreed?

Members: No.

The Convener

There will be a division.

For

Baker, Claire (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Lab)
Ballantyne, Michelle (South Scotland) (Con)
Bowman, Bill (North East Scotland) (Con)
Boyack, Sarah (Lothian) (Lab)
Briggs, Miles (Lothian) (Con)
Cameron, Donald (Highlands and Islands) (Con)
Carlaw, Jackson (Eastwood) (Con)
Cole-Hamilton, Alex (Edinburgh Western) (LD)
Corry, Maurice (West Scotland) (Con)
Davidson, Ruth (Edinburgh Central) (Con)
Findlay, Neil (Lothian) (Lab)
Fraser, Murdo (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Con)
Golden, Maurice (West Scotland) (Con)
Grant, Rhoda (Highlands and Islands) (Lab)
Gray, Iain (East Lothian) (Lab)
Greene, Jamie (West Scotland) (Con)
Griffin, Mark (Central Scotland) (Lab)
Johnson, Daniel (Edinburgh Southern) (Lab)
Halcro Johnston, Jamie (Highlands and Islands) (Con)
Kelly, James (Glasgow) (Lab)
Kerr, Liam (North East Scotland) (Con)
Lennon, Monica (Central Scotland) (Lab)
Leonard, Richard (Central Scotland) (Lab)
Lindhurst, Gordon (Lothian) (Con)
Macdonald, Lewis (North East Scotland) (Lab)
McArthur, Liam (Orkney Islands) (LD)
McNeill, Pauline (Glasgow) (Lab)
Rennie, Willie (North East Fife) (LD)
Rowley, Alex (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Lab)
Sarwar, Anas (Glasgow) (Lab)
Simpson, Graham (Central Scotland) (Con)
Smith, Liz (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Con)
Smyth, Colin (South Scotland) (Lab)
Stewart, Alexander (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Con)
Tomkins, Adam (Glasgow) (Con)

Against

Adam, George (Paisley) (SNP)
Arthur, Tom (Renfrewshire South) (SNP)
Beattie, Colin (Midlothian North and Musselburgh) (SNP)
Brown, Keith (Clackmannanshire and Dunblane) (SNP)
Coffey, Willie (Kilmarnock and Irvine Valley) (SNP)
Constance, Angela (Almond Valley) (SNP)
Cunningham, Roseanna (Perthshire South and Kinross-shire) (SNP)
Denham, Ash (Edinburgh Eastern) (SNP)
Dey, Graeme (Angus South) (SNP)
Doris, Bob (Glasgow Maryhill and Springburn) (SNP)
Fabiani, Linda (East Kilbride) (SNP)
Finnie, John (Highlands and Islands) (Green)
FitzPatrick, Joe (Dundee City West) (SNP)
Freeman, Jeane (Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley) (SNP)
Gibson, Kenneth (Cunninghame North) (SNP)
Gilruth, Jenny (Mid Fife and Glenrothes) (SNP)
Gougeon, Mairi (Angus North and Mearns) (SNP)
Greer, Ross (West Scotland) (Green)
Harvie, Patrick (Glasgow) (Green)
Haughey, Clare (Rutherglen) (SNP)
Hepburn, Jamie (Cumbernauld and Kilsyth) (SNP)
Hyslop, Fiona (Linlithgow) (SNP)
Johnstone, Alison (Lothian) (Green)
Kidd, Bill (Glasgow Anniesland) (SNP)
Lochhead, Richard (Moray) (SNP)
Lyle, Richard (Uddingston and Bellshill) (SNP)
MacDonald, Gordon (Edinburgh Pentlands) (SNP)
MacGregor, Fulton (Coatbridge and Chryston) (SNP)
Mackay, Rona (Strathkelvin and Bearsden) (SNP)
Macpherson, Ben (Edinburgh Northern and Leith) (SNP)
Maguire, Ruth (Cunninghame South) (SNP)
Mason, John (Glasgow Shettleston) (SNP)
Matheson, Michael (Falkirk West) (SNP)
McAlpine, Joan (South Scotland) (SNP)
McKee, Ivan (Glasgow Provan) (SNP)
McKelvie, Christina (Hamilton, Larkhall and Stonehouse) (SNP)
McMillan, Stuart (Greenock and Inverclyde) (SNP)
Robison, Shona (Dundee City East) (SNP)
Ruskell, Mark (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Green)
Russell, Michael (Argyll and Bute) (SNP)
Somerville, Shirley-Anne (Dunfermline) (SNP)
Stewart, Kevin (Aberdeen Central) (SNP)
Sturgeon, Nicola (Glasgow Southside) (SNP)
Torrance, David (Kirkcaldy) (SNP)
Wheelhouse, Paul (South Scotland) (SNP)
Wightman, Andy (Lothian) (Green)
Yousaf, Humza (Glasgow Pollok) (SNP)

The Convener

The result of the division is: For 35, Against 47, Abstentions 0.

Amendment 33 disagreed to.

Amendment 34 moved—[Neil Findlay].

The Convener

The question is, that amendment 34 be agreed to. Are we agreed?

Members: No.

The Convener

There will be a division.

For

Baker, Claire (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Lab)
Ballantyne, Michelle (South Scotland) (Con)
Bowman, Bill (North East Scotland) (Con)
Boyack, Sarah (Lothian) (Lab)
Briggs, Miles (Lothian) (Con)
Cameron, Donald (Highlands and Islands) (Con)
Carlaw, Jackson (Eastwood) (Con)
Cole-Hamilton, Alex (Edinburgh Western) (LD)
Corry, Maurice (West Scotland) (Con)
Davidson, Ruth (Edinburgh Central) (Con)
Findlay, Neil (Lothian) (Lab)
Fraser, Murdo (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Con)
Golden, Maurice (West Scotland) (Con)
Grant, Rhoda (Highlands and Islands) (Lab)
Gray, Iain (East Lothian) (Lab)
Greene, Jamie (West Scotland) (Con)
Griffin, Mark (Central Scotland) (Lab)
Johnson, Daniel (Edinburgh Southern) (Lab)
Halcro Johnston, Jamie (Highlands and Islands) (Con)
Kelly, James (Glasgow) (Lab)
Kerr, Liam (North East Scotland) (Con)
Lennon, Monica (Central Scotland) (Lab)
Leonard, Richard (Central Scotland) (Lab)
Lindhurst, Gordon (Lothian) (Con)
Macdonald, Lewis (North East Scotland) (Lab)
McArthur, Liam (Orkney Islands) (LD)
McNeill, Pauline (Glasgow) (Lab)
Rennie, Willie (North East Fife) (LD)
Rowley, Alex (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Lab)
Sarwar, Anas (Glasgow) (Lab)
Simpson, Graham (Central Scotland) (Con)
Smith, Liz (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Con)
Smyth, Colin (South Scotland) (Lab)
Stewart, Alexander (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Con)
Tomkins, Adam (Glasgow) (Con)

Against

Adam, George (Paisley) (SNP)
Arthur, Tom (Renfrewshire South) (SNP)
Beattie, Colin (Midlothian North and Musselburgh) (SNP)
Brown, Keith (Clackmannanshire and Dunblane) (SNP)
Coffey, Willie (Kilmarnock and Irvine Valley) (SNP)
Constance, Angela (Almond Valley) (SNP)
Cunningham, Roseanna (Perthshire South and Kinross-shire) (SNP)
Denham, Ash (Edinburgh Eastern) (SNP)
Dey, Graeme (Angus South) (SNP)
Doris, Bob (Glasgow Maryhill and Springburn) (SNP)
Fabiani, Linda (East Kilbride) (SNP)
Finnie, John (Highlands and Islands) (Green)
FitzPatrick, Joe (Dundee City West) (SNP)
Freeman, Jeane (Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley) (SNP)
Gibson, Kenneth (Cunninghame North) (SNP)
Gilruth, Jenny (Mid Fife and Glenrothes) (SNP)
Gougeon, Mairi (Angus North and Mearns) (SNP)
Greer, Ross (West Scotland) (Green)
Harvie, Patrick (Glasgow) (Green)
Haughey, Clare (Rutherglen) (SNP)
Hepburn, Jamie (Cumbernauld and Kilsyth) (SNP)
Hyslop, Fiona (Linlithgow) (SNP)
Johnstone, Alison (Lothian) (Green)
Kidd, Bill (Glasgow Anniesland) (SNP)
Lochhead, Richard (Moray) (SNP)
Lyle, Richard (Uddingston and Bellshill) (SNP)
MacDonald, Gordon (Edinburgh Pentlands) (SNP)
MacGregor, Fulton (Coatbridge and Chryston) (SNP)
Mackay, Rona (Strathkelvin and Bearsden) (SNP)
Macpherson, Ben (Edinburgh Northern and Leith) (SNP)
Maguire, Ruth (Cunninghame South) (SNP)
Mason, John (Glasgow Shettleston) (SNP)
Matheson, Michael (Falkirk West) (SNP)
McAlpine, Joan (South Scotland) (SNP)
McKee, Ivan (Glasgow Provan) (SNP)
McKelvie, Christina (Hamilton, Larkhall and Stonehouse) (SNP)
McMillan, Stuart (Greenock and Inverclyde) (SNP)
Robison, Shona (Dundee City East) (SNP)
Ruskell, Mark (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Green)
Russell, Michael (Argyll and Bute) (SNP)
Somerville, Shirley-Anne (Dunfermline) (SNP)
Stewart, Kevin (Aberdeen Central) (SNP)
Sturgeon, Nicola (Glasgow Southside) (SNP)
Torrance, David (Kirkcaldy) (SNP)
Wheelhouse, Paul (South Scotland) (SNP)
Wightman, Andy (Lothian) (Green)
Yousaf, Humza (Glasgow Pollok) (SNP)

The Convener

The result of the division is: For 35, Against 47, Abstentions 0.

Amendment 34 disagreed to.

Amendment 35 moved—[Neil Findlay].

The Convener

The question is, that amendment 35 be agreed to. Are we agreed?

Members: No.

The Convener

There will be a division.

For

Baker, Claire (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Lab)
Ballantyne, Michelle (South Scotland) (Con)
Bowman, Bill (North East Scotland) (Con)
Boyack, Sarah (Lothian) (Lab)
Briggs, Miles (Lothian) (Con)
Cameron, Donald (Highlands and Islands) (Con)
Carlaw, Jackson (Eastwood) (Con)
Cole-Hamilton, Alex (Edinburgh Western) (LD)
Corry, Maurice (West Scotland) (Con)
Davidson, Ruth (Edinburgh Central) (Con)
Findlay, Neil (Lothian) (Lab)
Fraser, Murdo (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Con)
Golden, Maurice (West Scotland) (Con)
Grant, Rhoda (Highlands and Islands) (Lab)
Gray, Iain (East Lothian) (Lab)
Greene, Jamie (West Scotland) (Con)
Griffin, Mark (Central Scotland) (Lab)
Halcro Johnston, Jamie (Highlands and Islands) (Con)
Johnson, Daniel (Edinburgh Southern) (Lab)
Kelly, James (Glasgow) (Lab)
Kerr, Liam (North East Scotland) (Con)
Lennon, Monica (Central Scotland) (Lab)
Leonard, Richard (Central Scotland) (Lab)
Lindhurst, Gordon (Lothian) (Con)
Macdonald, Lewis (North East Scotland) (Lab)
McArthur, Liam (Orkney Islands) (LD)
McNeill, Pauline (Glasgow) (Lab)
Rennie, Willie (North East Fife) (LD)
Rowley, Alex (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Lab)
Sarwar, Anas (Glasgow) (Lab)
Simpson, Graham (Central Scotland) (Con)
Smith, Liz (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Con)
Smyth, Colin (South Scotland) (Lab)
Stewart, Alexander (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Con)
Tomkins, Adam (Glasgow) (Con)

Against

Adam, George (Paisley) (SNP)
Arthur, Tom (Renfrewshire South) (SNP)
Beattie, Colin (Midlothian North and Musselburgh) (SNP)
Brown, Keith (Clackmannanshire and Dunblane) (SNP)
Coffey, Willie (Kilmarnock and Irvine Valley) (SNP)
Constance, Angela (Almond Valley) (SNP)
Cunningham, Roseanna (Perthshire South and Kinross-shire) (SNP)
Denham, Ash (Edinburgh Eastern) (SNP)
Dey, Graeme (Angus South) (SNP)
Doris, Bob (Glasgow Maryhill and Springburn) (SNP)
Fabiani, Linda (East Kilbride) (SNP)
Finnie, John (Highlands and Islands) (Green)
FitzPatrick, Joe (Dundee City West) (SNP)
Freeman, Jeane (Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley) (SNP)
Gibson, Kenneth (Cunninghame North) (SNP)
Gilruth, Jenny (Mid Fife and Glenrothes) (SNP)
Gougeon, Mairi (Angus North and Mearns) (SNP)
Greer, Ross (West Scotland) (Green)
Harvie, Patrick (Glasgow) (Green)
Haughey, Clare (Rutherglen) (SNP)
Hepburn, Jamie (Cumbernauld and Kilsyth) (SNP)
Hyslop, Fiona (Linlithgow) (SNP)
Johnstone, Alison (Lothian) (Green)
Kidd, Bill (Glasgow Anniesland) (SNP)
Lochhead, Richard (Moray) (SNP)
Lyle, Richard (Uddingston and Bellshill) (SNP)
MacDonald, Gordon (Edinburgh Pentlands) (SNP)
MacGregor, Fulton (Coatbridge and Chryston) (SNP)
Mackay, Rona (Strathkelvin and Bearsden) (SNP)
Macpherson, Ben (Edinburgh Northern and Leith) (SNP)
Maguire, Ruth (Cunninghame South) (SNP)
Mason, John (Glasgow Shettleston) (SNP)
Matheson, Michael (Falkirk West) (SNP)
McAlpine, Joan (South Scotland) (SNP)
McKee, Ivan (Glasgow Provan) (SNP)
McKelvie, Christina (Hamilton, Larkhall and Stonehouse) (SNP)
McMillan, Stuart (Greenock and Inverclyde) (SNP)
Robison, Shona (Dundee City East) (SNP)
Ruskell, Mark (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Green)
Russell, Michael (Argyll and Bute) (SNP)
Somerville, Shirley-Anne (Dunfermline) (SNP)
Stewart, Kevin (Aberdeen Central) (SNP)
Sturgeon, Nicola (Glasgow Southside) (SNP)
Torrance, David (Kirkcaldy) (SNP)
Wheelhouse, Paul (South Scotland) (SNP)
Wightman, Andy (Lothian) (Green)
Yousaf, Humza (Glasgow Pollok) (SNP)

The Convener

The result of the division is: For 35, Against 47, Abstentions 0.

Amendment 35 disagreed to.

Amendment 36 moved—[Ross Greer].

The Convener

The question is, that amendment 36 be agreed to. Are we agreed?

Members: No.

The Convener

There will be a division.

For

Baker, Claire (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Lab)
Ballantyne, Michelle (South Scotland) (Con)
Bowman, Bill (North East Scotland) (Con)
Boyack, Sarah (Lothian) (Lab)
Briggs, Miles (Lothian) (Con)
Cameron, Donald (Highlands and Islands) (Con)
Carlaw, Jackson (Eastwood) (Con)
Cole-Hamilton, Alex (Edinburgh Western) (LD)
Corry, Maurice (West Scotland) (Con)
Davidson, Ruth (Edinburgh Central) (Con)
Findlay, Neil (Lothian) (Lab)
Finnie, John (Highlands and Islands) (Green)
Fraser, Murdo (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Con)
Golden, Maurice (West Scotland) (Con)
Grant, Rhoda (Highlands and Islands) (Lab)
Gray, Iain (East Lothian) (Lab)
Greene, Jamie (West Scotland) (Con)
Greer, Ross (West Scotland) (Green)
Griffin, Mark (Central Scotland) (Lab)
Halcro Johnston, Jamie (Highlands and Islands) (Con)
Harvie, Patrick (Glasgow) (Green)
Johnson, Daniel (Edinburgh Southern) (Lab)
Johnstone, Alison (Lothian) (Green)
Kelly, James (Glasgow) (Lab)
Kerr, Liam (North East Scotland) (Con)
Lennon, Monica (Central Scotland) (Lab)
Leonard, Richard (Central Scotland) (Lab)
Lindhurst, Gordon (Lothian) (Con)
Macdonald, Lewis (North East Scotland) (Lab)
McArthur, Liam (Orkney Islands) (LD)
McNeill, Pauline (Glasgow) (Lab)
Rennie, Willie (North East Fife) (LD)
Rowley, Alex (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Lab)
Ruskell, Mark (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Green)
Sarwar, Anas (Glasgow) (Lab)
Simpson, Graham (Central Scotland) (Con)
Smith, Liz (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Con)
Smyth, Colin (South Scotland) (Lab)
Stewart, Alexander (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Con)
Tomkins, Adam (Glasgow) (Con)
Wightman, Andy (Lothian) (Green)

Against

Adam, George (Paisley) (SNP)
Arthur, Tom (Renfrewshire South) (SNP)
Beattie, Colin (Midlothian North and Musselburgh) (SNP)
Brown, Keith (Clackmannanshire and Dunblane) (SNP)
Coffey, Willie (Kilmarnock and Irvine Valley) (SNP)
Constance, Angela (Almond Valley) (SNP)
Cunningham, Roseanna (Perthshire South and Kinross-shire) (SNP)
Denham, Ash (Edinburgh Eastern) (SNP)
Dey, Graeme (Angus South) (SNP)
Doris, Bob (Glasgow Maryhill and Springburn) (SNP)
Fabiani, Linda (East Kilbride) (SNP)
FitzPatrick, Joe (Dundee City West) (SNP)
Freeman, Jeane (Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley) (SNP)
Gibson, Kenneth (Cunninghame North) (SNP)
Gilruth, Jenny (Mid Fife and Glenrothes) (SNP)
Gougeon, Mairi (Angus North and Mearns) (SNP)
Haughey, Clare (Rutherglen) (SNP)
Hepburn, Jamie (Cumbernauld and Kilsyth) (SNP)
Hyslop, Fiona (Linlithgow) (SNP)
Kidd, Bill (Glasgow Anniesland) (SNP)
Lochhead, Richard (Moray) (SNP)
Lyle, Richard (Uddingston and Bellshill) (SNP)
MacDonald, Gordon (Edinburgh Pentlands) (SNP)
MacGregor, Fulton (Coatbridge and Chryston) (SNP)
Mackay, Rona (Strathkelvin and Bearsden) (SNP)
Macpherson, Ben (Edinburgh Northern and Leith) (SNP)
Maguire, Ruth (Cunninghame South) (SNP)
Mason, John (Glasgow Shettleston) (SNP)
Matheson, Michael (Falkirk West) (SNP)
McAlpine, Joan (South Scotland) (SNP)
McKee, Ivan (Glasgow Provan) (SNP)
McKelvie, Christina (Hamilton, Larkhall and Stonehouse) (SNP)
McMillan, Stuart (Greenock and Inverclyde) (SNP)
Robison, Shona (Dundee City East) (SNP)
Russell, Michael (Argyll and Bute) (SNP)
Somerville, Shirley-Anne (Dunfermline) (SNP)
Stewart, Kevin (Aberdeen Central) (SNP)
Sturgeon, Nicola (Glasgow Southside) (SNP)
Torrance, David (Kirkcaldy) (SNP)
Wheelhouse, Paul (South Scotland) (SNP)
Yousaf, Humza (Glasgow Pollok) (SNP)

The Convener

The result of the division is: For 41, Against 41, Abstentions 0. I am therefore required to use my casting vote. The convention is that the convener votes against change because the Parliament has not made up its mind. I therefore cast my vote against amendment 36.

Amendment 36 disagreed to.

Amendment 37 moved—[Neil Findlay].

The Convener

The question is, that amendment 37 be agreed to. Are we agreed?

Members: No.

The Convener

There will be a division.

For

Baker, Claire (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Lab)
Ballantyne, Michelle (South Scotland) (Con)
Bowman, Bill (North East Scotland) (Con)
Boyack, Sarah (Lothian) (Lab)
Briggs, Miles (Lothian) (Con)
Cameron, Donald (Highlands and Islands) (Con)
Carlaw, Jackson (Eastwood) (Con)
Cole-Hamilton, Alex (Edinburgh Western) (LD)
Corry, Maurice (West Scotland) (Con)
Davidson, Ruth (Edinburgh Central) (Con)
Findlay, Neil (Lothian) (Lab)
Finnie, John (Highlands and Islands) (Green)
Fraser, Murdo (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Con)
Golden, Maurice (West Scotland) (Con)
Grant, Rhoda (Highlands and Islands) (Lab)
Gray, Iain (East Lothian) (Lab)
Greene, Jamie (West Scotland) (Con)
Greer, Ross (West Scotland) (Green)
Griffin, Mark (Central Scotland) (Lab)
Halcro Johnston, Jamie (Highlands and Islands) (Con)
Harvie, Patrick (Glasgow) (Green)
Johnson, Daniel (Edinburgh Southern) (Lab)
Johnstone, Alison (Lothian) (Green)
Kelly, James (Glasgow) (Lab)
Kerr, Liam (North East Scotland) (Con)
Lennon, Monica (Central Scotland) (Lab)
Leonard, Richard (Central Scotland) (Lab)
Lindhurst, Gordon (Lothian) (Con)
Macdonald, Lewis (North East Scotland) (Lab)
McArthur, Liam (Orkney Islands) (LD)
McNeill, Pauline (Glasgow) (Lab)
Rennie, Willie (North East Fife) (LD)
Rowley, Alex (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Lab)
Ruskell, Mark (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Green)
Sarwar, Anas (Glasgow) (Lab)
Simpson, Graham (Central Scotland) (Con)
Smith, Liz (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Con)
Smyth, Colin (South Scotland) (Lab)
Stewart, Alexander (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Con)
Tomkins, Adam (Glasgow) (Con)
Wightman, Andy (Lothian) (Green)

Against

Adam, George (Paisley) (SNP)
Arthur, Tom (Renfrewshire South) (SNP)
Beattie, Colin (Midlothian North and Musselburgh) (SNP)
Brown, Keith (Clackmannanshire and Dunblane) (SNP)
Coffey, Willie (Kilmarnock and Irvine Valley) (SNP)
Constance, Angela (Almond Valley) (SNP)
Cunningham, Roseanna (Perthshire South and Kinross-shire) (SNP)
Denham, Ash (Edinburgh Eastern) (SNP)
Dey, Graeme (Angus South) (SNP)
Doris, Bob (Glasgow Maryhill and Springburn) (SNP)
Fabiani, Linda (East Kilbride) (SNP)
FitzPatrick, Joe (Dundee City West) (SNP)
Freeman, Jeane (Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley) (SNP)
Gibson, Kenneth (Cunninghame North) (SNP)
Gilruth, Jenny (Mid Fife and Glenrothes) (SNP)
Gougeon, Mairi (Angus North and Mearns) (SNP)
Haughey, Clare (Rutherglen) (SNP)
Hepburn, Jamie (Cumbernauld and Kilsyth) (SNP)
Hyslop, Fiona (Linlithgow) (SNP)
Kidd, Bill (Glasgow Anniesland) (SNP)
Lochhead, Richard (Moray) (SNP)
Lyle, Richard (Uddingston and Bellshill) (SNP)
MacDonald, Gordon (Edinburgh Pentlands) (SNP)
MacGregor, Fulton (Coatbridge and Chryston) (SNP)
Mackay, Rona (Strathkelvin and Bearsden) (SNP)
Macpherson, Ben (Edinburgh Northern and Leith) (SNP)
Maguire, Ruth (Cunninghame South) (SNP)
Mason, John (Glasgow Shettleston) (SNP)
Matheson, Michael (Falkirk West) (SNP)
McAlpine, Joan (South Scotland) (SNP)
McKee, Ivan (Glasgow Provan) (SNP)
McKelvie, Christina (Hamilton, Larkhall and Stonehouse) (SNP)
McMillan, Stuart (Greenock and Inverclyde) (SNP)
Robison, Shona (Dundee City East) (SNP)
Russell, Michael (Argyll and Bute) (SNP)
Somerville, Shirley-Anne (Dunfermline) (SNP)
Stewart, Kevin (Aberdeen Central) (SNP)
Sturgeon, Nicola (Glasgow Southside) (SNP)
Torrance, David (Kirkcaldy) (SNP)
Wheelhouse, Paul (South Scotland) (SNP)
Yousaf, Humza (Glasgow Pollok) (SNP)

The Convener

The result of the division is: For 41, Against 41, Abstentions 0. The vote is tied so, again following convention, I vote against amendment 37.

Amendment 37 disagreed to.

18:30  

Amendment 38 moved—[Neil Findlay].

The Convener

The question is, that amendment 38 be agreed to. Are we agreed?

Members: No.

The Convener

There will be a division.

For

Baker, Claire (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Lab)
Ballantyne, Michelle (South Scotland) (Con)
Bowman, Bill (North East Scotland) (Con)
Boyack, Sarah (Lothian) (Lab)
Briggs, Miles (Lothian) (Con)
Cameron, Donald (Highlands and Islands) (Con)
Carlaw, Jackson (Eastwood) (Con)
Cole-Hamilton, Alex (Edinburgh Western) (LD)
Corry, Maurice (West Scotland) (Con)
Davidson, Ruth (Edinburgh Central) (Con)
Findlay, Neil (Lothian) (Lab)
Finnie, John (Highlands and Islands) (Green)
Fraser, Murdo (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Con)
Golden, Maurice (West Scotland) (Con)
Grant, Rhoda (Highlands and Islands) (Lab)
Gray, Iain (East Lothian) (Lab)
Greene, Jamie (West Scotland) (Con)
Greer, Ross (West Scotland) (Green)
Griffin, Mark (Central Scotland) (Lab)
Halcro Johnston, Jamie (Highlands and Islands) (Con)
Harvie, Patrick (Glasgow) (Green)
Johnson, Daniel (Edinburgh Southern) (Lab)
Johnstone, Alison (Lothian) (Green)
Kelly, James (Glasgow) (Lab)
Kerr, Liam (North East Scotland) (Con)
Lennon, Monica (Central Scotland) (Lab)
Leonard, Richard (Central Scotland) (Lab)
Lindhurst, Gordon (Lothian) (Con)
Macdonald, Lewis (North East Scotland) (Lab)
McArthur, Liam (Orkney Islands) (LD)
McNeill, Pauline (Glasgow) (Lab)
Rennie, Willie (North East Fife) (LD)
Rowley, Alex (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Lab)
Ruskell, Mark (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Green)
Sarwar, Anas (Glasgow) (Lab)
Simpson, Graham (Central Scotland) (Con)
Smith, Liz (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Con)
Smyth, Colin (South Scotland) (Lab)
Stewart, Alexander (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Con)
Tomkins, Adam (Glasgow) (Con)
Wightman, Andy (Lothian) (Green)

Against

Adam, George (Paisley) (SNP)
Arthur, Tom (Renfrewshire South) (SNP)
Beattie, Colin (Midlothian North and Musselburgh) (SNP)
Brown, Keith (Clackmannanshire and Dunblane) (SNP)
Coffey, Willie (Kilmarnock and Irvine Valley) (SNP)
Constance, Angela (Almond Valley) (SNP)
Cunningham, Roseanna (Perthshire South and Kinross-shire) (SNP)
Denham, Ash (Edinburgh Eastern) (SNP)
Dey, Graeme (Angus South) (SNP)
Doris, Bob (Glasgow Maryhill and Springburn) (SNP)
Fabiani, Linda (East Kilbride) (SNP)
FitzPatrick, Joe (Dundee City West) (SNP)
Freeman, Jeane (Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley) (SNP)
Gibson, Kenneth (Cunninghame North) (SNP)
Gilruth, Jenny (Mid Fife and Glenrothes) (SNP)
Gougeon, Mairi (Angus North and Mearns) (SNP)
Haughey, Clare (Rutherglen) (SNP)
Hepburn, Jamie (Cumbernauld and Kilsyth) (SNP)
Hyslop, Fiona (Linlithgow) (SNP)
Kidd, Bill (Glasgow Anniesland) (SNP)
Lochhead, Richard (Moray) (SNP)
Lyle, Richard (Uddingston and Bellshill) (SNP)
MacDonald, Gordon (Edinburgh Pentlands) (SNP)
MacGregor, Fulton (Coatbridge and Chryston) (SNP)
Mackay, Rona (Strathkelvin and Bearsden) (SNP)
Macpherson, Ben (Edinburgh Northern and Leith) (SNP)
Maguire, Ruth (Cunninghame South) (SNP)
Mason, John (Glasgow Shettleston) (SNP)
Matheson, Michael (Falkirk West) (SNP)
McAlpine, Joan (South Scotland) (SNP)
McKee, Ivan (Glasgow Provan) (SNP)
McKelvie, Christina (Hamilton, Larkhall and Stonehouse) (SNP)
McMillan, Stuart (Greenock and Inverclyde) (SNP)
Robison, Shona (Dundee City East) (SNP)
Russell, Michael (Argyll and Bute) (SNP)
Somerville, Shirley-Anne (Dunfermline) (SNP)
Stewart, Kevin (Aberdeen Central) (SNP)
Sturgeon, Nicola (Glasgow Southside) (SNP)
Torrance, David (Kirkcaldy) (SNP)
Wheelhouse, Paul (South Scotland) (SNP)
Yousaf, Humza (Glasgow Pollok) (SNP)

The Convener

The result of the division is: For 41, Against 41, Abstentions 0. The vote is tied—the Parliament has not made up its mind—therefore, I vote against the amendment.

Amendment 38 disagreed to.

Amendment 39 moved—[Neil Findlay].

The Convener

The question is, that amendment 39 be agreed to. Are we agreed?

Members: No.

The Convener

There will be a division.

For

Baker, Claire (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Lab)
Ballantyne, Michelle (South Scotland) (Con)
Bowman, Bill (North East Scotland) (Con)
Boyack, Sarah (Lothian) (Lab)
Briggs, Miles (Lothian) (Con)
Cameron, Donald (Highlands and Islands) (Con)
Carlaw, Jackson (Eastwood) (Con)
Cole-Hamilton, Alex (Edinburgh Western) (LD)
Corry, Maurice (West Scotland) (Con)
Davidson, Ruth (Edinburgh Central) (Con)
Findlay, Neil (Lothian) (Lab)
Finnie, John (Highlands and Islands) (Green)
Fraser, Murdo (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Con)
Golden, Maurice (West Scotland) (Con)
Grant, Rhoda (Highlands and Islands) (Lab)
Gray, Iain (East Lothian) (Lab)
Greene, Jamie (West Scotland) (Con)
Greer, Ross (West Scotland) (Green)
Griffin, Mark (Central Scotland) (Lab)
Halcro Johnston, Jamie (Highlands and Islands) (Con)
Harvie, Patrick (Glasgow) (Green)
Johnson, Daniel (Edinburgh Southern) (Lab)
Johnstone, Alison (Lothian) (Green)
Kelly, James (Glasgow) (Lab)
Kerr, Liam (North East Scotland) (Con)
Lennon, Monica (Central Scotland) (Lab)
Leonard, Richard (Central Scotland) (Lab)
Lindhurst, Gordon (Lothian) (Con)
Macdonald, Lewis (North East Scotland) (Lab)
McArthur, Liam (Orkney Islands) (LD)
McNeill, Pauline (Glasgow) (Lab)
Rennie, Willie (North East Fife) (LD)
Rowley, Alex (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Lab)
Ruskell, Mark (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Green)
Sarwar, Anas (Glasgow) (Lab)
Simpson, Graham (Central Scotland) (Con)
Smith, Liz (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Con)
Smyth, Colin (South Scotland) (Lab)
Stewart, Alexander (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Con)
Tomkins, Adam (Glasgow) (Con)
Wightman, Andy (Lothian) (Green)

Against

Adam, George (Paisley) (SNP)
Arthur, Tom (Renfrewshire South) (SNP)
Beattie, Colin (Midlothian North and Musselburgh) (SNP)
Brown, Keith (Clackmannanshire and Dunblane) (SNP)
Coffey, Willie (Kilmarnock and Irvine Valley) (SNP)
Constance, Angela (Almond Valley) (SNP)
Cunningham, Roseanna (Perthshire South and Kinross-shire) (SNP)
Denham, Ash (Edinburgh Eastern) (SNP)
Dey, Graeme (Angus South) (SNP)
Doris, Bob (Glasgow Maryhill and Springburn) (SNP)
Fabiani, Linda (East Kilbride) (SNP)
FitzPatrick, Joe (Dundee City West) (SNP)
Freeman, Jeane (Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley) (SNP)
Gibson, Kenneth (Cunninghame North) (SNP)
Gilruth, Jenny (Mid Fife and Glenrothes) (SNP)
Gougeon, Mairi (Angus North and Mearns) (SNP)
Haughey, Clare (Rutherglen) (SNP)
Hepburn, Jamie (Cumbernauld and Kilsyth) (SNP)
Hyslop, Fiona (Linlithgow) (SNP)
Kidd, Bill (Glasgow Anniesland) (SNP)
Lochhead, Richard (Moray) (SNP)
Lyle, Richard (Uddingston and Bellshill) (SNP)
MacDonald, Gordon (Edinburgh Pentlands) (SNP)
MacGregor, Fulton (Coatbridge and Chryston) (SNP)
Mackay, Rona (Strathkelvin and Bearsden) (SNP)
Macpherson, Ben (Edinburgh Northern and Leith) (SNP)
Maguire, Ruth (Cunninghame South) (SNP)
Mason, John (Glasgow Shettleston) (SNP)
Matheson, Michael (Falkirk West) (SNP)
McAlpine, Joan (South Scotland) (SNP)
McKee, Ivan (Glasgow Provan) (SNP)
McKelvie, Christina (Hamilton, Larkhall and Stonehouse) (SNP)
McMillan, Stuart (Greenock and Inverclyde) (SNP)
Robison, Shona (Dundee City East) (SNP)
Russell, Michael (Argyll and Bute) (SNP)
Somerville, Shirley-Anne (Dunfermline) (SNP)
Stewart, Kevin (Aberdeen Central) (SNP)
Sturgeon, Nicola (Glasgow Southside) (SNP)
Torrance, David (Kirkcaldy) (SNP)
Wheelhouse, Paul (South Scotland) (SNP)
Yousaf, Humza (Glasgow Pollok) (SNP)

The Convener

The result of the division is: For 41, Against 41, Abstentions 0. The vote is tied, so I use my casting vote to vote against the proposed change.

Amendment 39 disagreed to.

The Convener

I call amendment 40, in the name of Neil Findlay.

Amendment 40 moved—[Neil Findlay].

The Convener

The question is, that amendment 40 be agreed to. Are we agreed?

Members: No.

The Convener

There will be a division. [Interruption.] I will call the amendment again. I call amendment 40, in the name of Ross Greer.

Amendment 40 moved—[Ross Greer].

The Convener

The question is, that amendment 40 be agreed to. Are we agreed?

Members: No.

The Convener

There will be a division. [Interruption.] If members will just hold on a second, we will reset the vote.

Apologies, colleagues, that was my fault for throwing a spanner in the works. Members may now cast their votes on amendment 40.

For

Baker, Claire (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Lab)
Ballantyne, Michelle (South Scotland) (Con)
Bowman, Bill (North East Scotland) (Con)
Boyack, Sarah (Lothian) (Lab)
Briggs, Miles (Lothian) (Con)
Cameron, Donald (Highlands and Islands) (Con)
Carlaw, Jackson (Eastwood) (Con)
Cole-Hamilton, Alex (Edinburgh Western) (LD)
Corry, Maurice (West Scotland) (Con)
Davidson, Ruth (Edinburgh Central) (Con)
Findlay, Neil (Lothian) (Lab)
Finnie, John (Highlands and Islands) (Green)
Fraser, Murdo (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Con)
Golden, Maurice (West Scotland) (Con)
Grant, Rhoda (Highlands and Islands) (Lab)
Gray, Iain (East Lothian) (Lab)
Greene, Jamie (West Scotland) (Con)
Greer, Ross (West Scotland) (Green)
Griffin, Mark (Central Scotland) (Lab)
Halcro Johnston, Jamie (Highlands and Islands) (Con)
Harvie, Patrick (Glasgow) (Green)
Johnson, Daniel (Edinburgh Southern) (Lab)
Johnstone, Alison (Lothian) (Green)
Kelly, James (Glasgow) (Lab)
Kerr, Liam (North East Scotland) (Con)
Lennon, Monica (Central Scotland) (Lab)
Leonard, Richard (Central Scotland) (Lab)
Lindhurst, Gordon (Lothian) (Con)
Macdonald, Lewis (North East Scotland) (Lab)
McArthur, Liam (Orkney Islands) (LD)
McNeill, Pauline (Glasgow) (Lab)
Rennie, Willie (North East Fife) (LD)
Rowley, Alex (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Lab)
Ruskell, Mark (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Green)
Sarwar, Anas (Glasgow) (Lab)
Simpson, Graham (Central Scotland) (Con)
Smith, Liz (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Con)
Smyth, Colin (South Scotland) (Lab)
Stewart, Alexander (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Con)
Tomkins, Adam (Glasgow) (Con)
Wightman, Andy (Lothian) (Green)

Against

Adam, George (Paisley) (SNP)
Arthur, Tom (Renfrewshire South) (SNP)
Beattie, Colin (Midlothian North and Musselburgh) (SNP)
Brown, Keith (Clackmannanshire and Dunblane) (SNP)
Coffey, Willie (Kilmarnock and Irvine Valley) (SNP)
Constance, Angela (Almond Valley) (SNP)
Cunningham, Roseanna (Perthshire South and Kinross-shire) (SNP)
Denham, Ash (Edinburgh Eastern) (SNP)
Dey, Graeme (Angus South) (SNP)
Doris, Bob (Glasgow Maryhill and Springburn) (SNP)
Fabiani, Linda (East Kilbride) (SNP)
FitzPatrick, Joe (Dundee City West) (SNP)
Freeman, Jeane (Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley) (SNP)
Gibson, Kenneth (Cunninghame North) (SNP)
Gilruth, Jenny (Mid Fife and Glenrothes) (SNP)
Gougeon, Mairi (Angus North and Mearns) (SNP)
Haughey, Clare (Rutherglen) (SNP)
Hepburn, Jamie (Cumbernauld and Kilsyth) (SNP)
Hyslop, Fiona (Linlithgow) (SNP)
Kidd, Bill (Glasgow Anniesland) (SNP)
Lochhead, Richard (Moray) (SNP)
Lyle, Richard (Uddingston and Bellshill) (SNP)
MacDonald, Gordon (Edinburgh Pentlands) (SNP)
MacGregor, Fulton (Coatbridge and Chryston) (SNP)
Mackay, Rona (Strathkelvin and Bearsden) (SNP)
Macpherson, Ben (Edinburgh Northern and Leith) (SNP)
Maguire, Ruth (Cunninghame South) (SNP)
Mason, John (Glasgow Shettleston) (SNP)
Matheson, Michael (Falkirk West) (SNP)
McAlpine, Joan (South Scotland) (SNP)
McKee, Ivan (Glasgow Provan) (SNP)
McKelvie, Christina (Hamilton, Larkhall and Stonehouse) (SNP)
McMillan, Stuart (Greenock and Inverclyde) (SNP)
Robison, Shona (Dundee City East) (SNP)
Russell, Michael (Argyll and Bute) (SNP)
Somerville, Shirley-Anne (Dunfermline) (SNP)
Stewart, Kevin (Aberdeen Central) (SNP)
Sturgeon, Nicola (Glasgow Southside) (SNP)
Torrance, David (Kirkcaldy) (SNP)
Wheelhouse, Paul (South Scotland) (SNP)
Yousaf, Humza (Glasgow Pollok) (SNP)

The Convener

The result of the division is: For 41, Against 41, Abstentions 0. The Parliament is not agreed, therefore I use my casting vote to vote against the amendment.

Amendment 40 disagreed to.

Amendment 41 moved—[Ross Greer]—and agreed to.

Amendment 42 moved—[Ross Greer].

The Convener

The question is, that amendment 42 be agreed to. Are we agreed?

Members: No.

The Convener

There will be a division.

For

Baker, Claire (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Lab)
Ballantyne, Michelle (South Scotland) (Con)
Bowman, Bill (North East Scotland) (Con)
Boyack, Sarah (Lothian) (Lab)
Briggs, Miles (Lothian) (Con)
Cameron, Donald (Highlands and Islands) (Con)
Carlaw, Jackson (Eastwood) (Con)
Cole-Hamilton, Alex (Edinburgh Western) (LD)
Corry, Maurice (West Scotland) (Con)
Davidson, Ruth (Edinburgh Central) (Con)
Findlay, Neil (Lothian) (Lab)
Finnie, John (Highlands and Islands) (Green)
Fraser, Murdo (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Con)
Golden, Maurice (West Scotland) (Con)
Grant, Rhoda (Highlands and Islands) (Lab)
Gray, Iain (East Lothian) (Lab)
Greene, Jamie (West Scotland) (Con)
Greer, Ross (West Scotland) (Green)
Griffin, Mark (Central Scotland) (Lab)
Halcro Johnston, Jamie (Highlands and Islands) (Con)
Harvie, Patrick (Glasgow) (Green)
Johnson, Daniel (Edinburgh Southern) (Lab)
Johnstone, Alison (Lothian) (Green)
Kelly, James (Glasgow) (Lab)
Kerr, Liam (North East Scotland) (Con)
Lennon, Monica (Central Scotland) (Lab)
Leonard, Richard (Central Scotland) (Lab)
Lindhurst, Gordon (Lothian) (Con)
Macdonald, Lewis (North East Scotland) (Lab)
McArthur, Liam (Orkney Islands) (LD)
McNeill, Pauline (Glasgow) (Lab)
Rennie, Willie (North East Fife) (LD)
Rowley, Alex (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Lab)
Ruskell, Mark (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Green)
Sarwar, Anas (Glasgow) (Lab)
Simpson, Graham (Central Scotland) (Con)
Smith, Liz (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Con)
Smyth, Colin (South Scotland) (Lab)
Stewart, Alexander (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Con)
Tomkins, Adam (Glasgow) (Con)
Wightman, Andy (Lothian) (Green)

Against

Adam, George (Paisley) (SNP)
Arthur, Tom (Renfrewshire South) (SNP)
Beattie, Colin (Midlothian North and Musselburgh) (SNP)
Brown, Keith (Clackmannanshire and Dunblane) (SNP)
Coffey, Willie (Kilmarnock and Irvine Valley) (SNP)
Constance, Angela (Almond Valley) (SNP)
Cunningham, Roseanna (Perthshire South and Kinross-shire) (SNP)
Denham, Ash (Edinburgh Eastern) (SNP)
Dey, Graeme (Angus South) (SNP)
Doris, Bob (Glasgow Maryhill and Springburn) (SNP)
Fabiani, Linda (East Kilbride) (SNP)
FitzPatrick, Joe (Dundee City West) (SNP)
Freeman, Jeane (Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley) (SNP)
Gibson, Kenneth (Cunninghame North) (SNP)
Gilruth, Jenny (Mid Fife and Glenrothes) (SNP)
Gougeon, Mairi (Angus North and Mearns) (SNP)
Haughey, Clare (Rutherglen) (SNP)
Hepburn, Jamie (Cumbernauld and Kilsyth) (SNP)
Hyslop, Fiona (Linlithgow) (SNP)
Kidd, Bill (Glasgow Anniesland) (SNP)
Lochhead, Richard (Moray) (SNP)
Lyle, Richard (Uddingston and Bellshill) (SNP)
MacDonald, Gordon (Edinburgh Pentlands) (SNP)
MacGregor, Fulton (Coatbridge and Chryston) (SNP)
Mackay, Rona (Strathkelvin and Bearsden) (SNP)
Macpherson, Ben (Edinburgh Northern and Leith) (SNP)
Maguire, Ruth (Cunninghame South) (SNP)
Mason, John (Glasgow Shettleston) (SNP)
Matheson, Michael (Falkirk West) (SNP)
McAlpine, Joan (South Scotland) (SNP)
McKee, Ivan (Glasgow Provan) (SNP)
McKelvie, Christina (Hamilton, Larkhall and Stonehouse) (SNP)
McMillan, Stuart (Greenock and Inverclyde) (SNP)
Robison, Shona (Dundee City East) (SNP)
Russell, Michael (Argyll and Bute) (SNP)
Somerville, Shirley-Anne (Dunfermline) (SNP)
Stewart, Kevin (Aberdeen Central) (SNP)
Sturgeon, Nicola (Glasgow Southside) (SNP)
Torrance, David (Kirkcaldy) (SNP)
Wheelhouse, Paul (South Scotland) (SNP)
Yousaf, Humza (Glasgow Pollok) (SNP)

The Convener

The result of the division is: For 41, Against 41, Abstentions 0. The vote is tied, so I will use my casting vote to vote against the amendment.

Amendment 42 disagreed to.

Amendments 43 to 46 moved—[Michael Russell]—and agreed to.

Amendment 47 moved—[Neil Findlay].

The Convener

The question is, that amendment 47 be agreed to. Are we agreed?

Members: No.

The Convener

There will be a division.

For

Baker, Claire (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Lab)
Boyack, Sarah (Lothian) (Lab)
Cole-Hamilton, Alex (Edinburgh Western) (LD)
Findlay, Neil (Lothian) (Lab)
Finnie, John (Highlands and Islands) (Green)
Grant, Rhoda (Highlands and Islands) (Lab)
Gray, Iain (East Lothian) (Lab)
Greer, Ross (West Scotland) (Green)
Griffin, Mark (Central Scotland) (Lab)
Harvie, Patrick (Glasgow) (Green)
Johnson, Daniel (Edinburgh Southern) (Lab)
Johnstone, Alison (Lothian) (Green)
Kelly, James (Glasgow) (Lab)
Lennon, Monica (Central Scotland) (Lab)
Leonard, Richard (Central Scotland) (Lab)
Macdonald, Lewis (North East Scotland) (Lab)
McArthur, Liam (Orkney Islands) (LD)
Rennie, Willie (North East Fife) (LD)
Rowley, Alex (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Lab)
Ruskell, Mark (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Green)
Sarwar, Anas (Glasgow) (Lab)
Smyth, Colin (South Scotland) (Lab)
Wightman, Andy (Lothian) (Green)

Against

Adam, George (Paisley) (SNP)
Arthur, Tom (Renfrewshire South) (SNP)
Ballantyne, Michelle (South Scotland) (Con)
Beattie, Colin (Midlothian North and Musselburgh) (SNP)
Bowman, Bill (North East Scotland) (Con)
Briggs, Miles (Lothian) (Con)
Brown, Keith (Clackmannanshire and Dunblane) (SNP)
Cameron, Donald (Highlands and Islands) (Con)
Carlaw, Jackson (Eastwood) (Con)
Coffey, Willie (Kilmarnock and Irvine Valley) (SNP)
Constance, Angela (Almond Valley) (SNP)
Corry, Maurice (West Scotland) (Con)
Cunningham, Roseanna (Perthshire South and Kinross-shire) (SNP)
Davidson, Ruth (Edinburgh Central) (Con)
Denham, Ash (Edinburgh Eastern) (SNP)
Dey, Graeme (Angus South) (SNP)
Doris, Bob (Glasgow Maryhill and Springburn) (SNP)
Fabiani, Linda (East Kilbride) (SNP)
FitzPatrick, Joe (Dundee City West) (SNP)
Fraser, Murdo (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Con)
Freeman, Jeane (Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley) (SNP)
Gibson, Kenneth (Cunninghame North) (SNP)
Gilruth, Jenny (Mid Fife and Glenrothes) (SNP)
Golden, Maurice (West Scotland) (Con)
Gougeon, Mairi (Angus North and Mearns) (SNP)
Greene, Jamie (West Scotland) (Con)
Halcro Johnston, Jamie (Highlands and Islands) (Con)
Haughey, Clare (Rutherglen) (SNP)
Hepburn, Jamie (Cumbernauld and Kilsyth) (SNP)
Hyslop, Fiona (Linlithgow) (SNP)
Kerr, Liam (North East Scotland) (Con)
Kidd, Bill (Glasgow Anniesland) (SNP)
Lindhurst, Gordon (Lothian) (Con)
Lochhead, Richard (Moray) (SNP)
Lyle, Richard (Uddingston and Bellshill) (SNP)
MacDonald, Gordon (Edinburgh Pentlands) (SNP)
MacGregor, Fulton (Coatbridge and Chryston) (SNP)
Mackay, Rona (Strathkelvin and Bearsden) (SNP)
Macpherson, Ben (Edinburgh Northern and Leith) (SNP)
Maguire, Ruth (Cunninghame South) (SNP)
Mason, John (Glasgow Shettleston) (SNP)
Matheson, Michael (Falkirk West) (SNP)
McAlpine, Joan (South Scotland) (SNP)
McKee, Ivan (Glasgow Provan) (SNP)
McKelvie, Christina (Hamilton, Larkhall and Stonehouse) (SNP)
McMillan, Stuart (Greenock and Inverclyde) (SNP)
Robison, Shona (Dundee City East) (SNP)
Russell, Michael (Argyll and Bute) (SNP)
Simpson, Graham (Central Scotland) (Con)
Smith, Liz (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Con)
Somerville, Shirley-Anne (Dunfermline) (SNP)
Stewart, Alexander (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Con)
Stewart, Kevin (Aberdeen Central) (SNP)
Sturgeon, Nicola (Glasgow Southside) (SNP)
Tomkins, Adam (Glasgow) (Con)
Torrance, David (Kirkcaldy) (SNP)
Wheelhouse, Paul (South Scotland) (SNP)
Yousaf, Humza (Glasgow Pollok) (SNP)

The Convener

The result of the division is: For 23, Against 58, Abstentions 0.

Amendment 47 disagreed to.

Schedule 6, as amended, agreed to.

Section 8 agreed to.

Schedule 7—Other measures in response to coronavirus

The Convener

We turn to the group of amendments on social security. Amendment 48, in the name of Pauline McNeill, is the only amendment in the group.

Pauline McNeill

Amendment 48 is a probing amendment. Thinking ahead about how the economy is likely to look in the months to come, we are all concerned about a further crash. We need to look at the short-term gaps in who might need help and what kind of help they might need—whether rent holidays or rent breaks, which would obviously have to be underwritten by the Government. That is a matter that we should discuss further, although I am not proposing that we discuss it today.

My amendment 48 explores the setting up of funds for the specific purpose of helping people who fall through the cracks. I want to emphasise that point. They include people who are not in the welfare system, people who experience a pay reduction and people who need rent relief or rent support because of how they have been affected by the pandemic.

Amendment 48 to schedule 7 would allow local authorities, which already administer welfare funds, to provide assistance for up to three months. Discretionary housing payments are designed for people who are already on universal credit or benefits, and welfare funds are not applicable for the purpose of paying rent.

I just wanted to probe the Government on thinking ahead a bit to where we might be if people who fall between the cracks who cannot rely on discretionary housing payments or the welfare fund do not have some way to have their rent supported, should the economy crash in the future.

I move amendment 48.

Michael Russell

I thank Pauline McNeill for lodging amendment 48, which is, as she said, a probing amendment. She is absolutely right to probe on the issue. The question how people will make their way through and survive in such circumstances is central to the concerns of not just the Government but the entire Parliament.

The initial response to that has been a substantial increase of £45 million in the Scottish welfare fund, but that will be by no means the end of it. There will have to be considerable help for people throughout Scotland, across these islands and around the globe in order that we can get through what we are now facing.

On the specific issue of rent, the right and appropriate place for that is universal credit. We know the difficulties that people are having in accessing it at present, but that is very much what it is for. Many people have paid into the system and are not only entitled to that help, but must get the support of the system. That will be there for them; we have been told that and we believe it to be the case.

However, I commit myself, here and now, to continued vigilance on the issue. As I said in my opening remarks this morning—hours ago—we are committed to continuing to keeping the legislation under review.

Pauline McNeill

The cabinet secretary is quite right that many people will now turn to universal credit. If they qualify, they should get some support for their housing, but I have concerns that although some people will get something out of universal credit, they might not get housing support.

Michael Russell

I take the point. I am absolutely certain that the ministers and officials who are responsible, right across Government, will be looking at that not just weekly but daily, and we will come back to the matter again and again. When we come to the next piece of legislation—as I indicated this morning, there will undoubtedly be more legislation—we will need to return to the issue.

I ask Pauline McNeill to accept my assurances on the matter. What she has put in amendment 48 is extremely important, and it might be possible to flesh it out into a wider solution in another piece of legislation. However, Ms McNeill has marked the card, and has done exactly the right thing in doing so. We will continue to work with her and members from across Parliament to try to ensure that when people inevitably fall between the cracks, there is something there for them.

Amendment 48, by agreement, withdrawn.

Amendment 49 moved—[Ross Greer].

The Convener

The question is, that amendment 49 be agreed to. Are we agreed?

Members: No.

The Convener

There will be a division.

For

Baker, Claire (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Lab)
Boyack, Sarah (Lothian) (Lab)
Cole-Hamilton, Alex (Edinburgh Western) (LD)
Finnie, John (Highlands and Islands) (Green)
Grant, Rhoda (Highlands and Islands) (Lab)
Gray, Iain (East Lothian) (Lab)
Greer, Ross (West Scotland) (Green)
Griffin, Mark (Central Scotland) (Lab)
Johnson, Daniel (Edinburgh Southern) (Lab)
Johnstone, Alison (Lothian) (Green)
Lennon, Monica (Central Scotland) (Lab)
Macdonald, Lewis (North East Scotland) (Lab)
McArthur, Liam (Orkney Islands) (LD)
McNeill, Pauline (Glasgow) (Lab)
Rowley, Alex (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Lab)
Ruskell, Mark (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Green)
Sarwar, Anas (Glasgow) (Lab)
Smyth, Colin (South Scotland) (Lab)
Wightman, Andy (Lothian) (Green)

Against

Adam, George (Paisley) (SNP)
Arthur, Tom (Renfrewshire South) (SNP)
Ballantyne, Michelle (South Scotland) (Con)
Beattie, Colin (Midlothian North and Musselburgh) (SNP)
Bowman, Bill (North East Scotland) (Con)
Briggs, Miles (Lothian) (Con)
Brown, Keith (Clackmannanshire and Dunblane) (SNP)
Cameron, Donald (Highlands and Islands) (Con)
Coffey, Willie (Kilmarnock and Irvine Valley) (SNP)
Constance, Angela (Almond Valley) (SNP)
Corry, Maurice (West Scotland) (Con)
Cunningham, Roseanna (Perthshire South and Kinross-shire) (SNP)
Davidson, Ruth (Edinburgh Central) (Con)
Denham, Ash (Edinburgh Eastern) (SNP)
Dey, Graeme (Angus South) (SNP)
Doris, Bob (Glasgow Maryhill and Springburn) (SNP)
Fabiani, Linda (East Kilbride) (SNP)
FitzPatrick, Joe (Dundee City West) (SNP)
Fraser, Murdo (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Con)
Gibson, Kenneth (Cunninghame North) (SNP)
Gilruth, Jenny (Mid Fife and Glenrothes) (SNP)
Golden, Maurice (West Scotland) (Con)
Gougeon, Mairi (Angus North and Mearns) (SNP)
Greene, Jamie (West Scotland) (Con)
Haughey, Clare (Rutherglen) (SNP)
Hepburn, Jamie (Cumbernauld and Kilsyth) (SNP)
Hyslop, Fiona (Linlithgow) (SNP)
Halcro Johnston, Jamie (Highlands and Islands) (Con)
Kerr, Liam (North East Scotland) (Con)
Kidd, Bill (Glasgow Anniesland) (SNP)
Lindhurst, Gordon (Lothian) (Con)
Lochhead, Richard (Moray) (SNP)
Lyle, Richard (Uddingston and Bellshill) (SNP)
MacDonald, Gordon (Edinburgh Pentlands) (SNP)
MacGregor, Fulton (Coatbridge and Chryston) (SNP)
Mackay, Rona (Strathkelvin and Bearsden) (SNP)
Macpherson, Ben (Edinburgh Northern and Leith) (SNP)
Maguire, Ruth (Cunninghame South) (SNP)
Mason, John (Glasgow Shettleston) (SNP)
Matheson, Michael (Falkirk West) (SNP)
McKee, Ivan (Glasgow Provan) (SNP)
McKelvie, Christina (Hamilton, Larkhall and Stonehouse) (SNP)
McMillan, Stuart (Greenock and Inverclyde) (SNP)
Robison, Shona (Dundee City East) (SNP)
Russell, Michael (Argyll and Bute) (SNP)
Simpson, Graham (Central Scotland) (Con)
Smith, Liz (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Con)
Somerville, Shirley-Anne (Dunfermline) (SNP)
Stewart, Alexander (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Con)
Stewart, Kevin (Aberdeen Central) (SNP)
Tomkins, Adam (Glasgow) (Con)
Torrance, David (Kirkcaldy) (SNP)
Wheelhouse, Paul (South Scotland) (SNP)
Yousaf, Humza (Glasgow Pollok) (SNP)

The Convener

The result of the division is: For 19, Against 54, Abstentions 0.

Amendment 49 disagreed to.

Amendment 50 moved—[Andy Wightman].

The Convener

The question is, that amendment 50 be agreed to. Are we agreed?

Members: No.

The Convener

There will be a division.

For

Baker, Claire (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Lab)
Boyack, Sarah (Lothian) (Lab)
Findlay, Neil (Lothian) (Lab)
Finnie, John (Highlands and Islands) (Green)
Grant, Rhoda (Highlands and Islands) (Lab)
Gray, Iain (East Lothian) (Lab)
Greer, Ross (West Scotland) (Green)
Griffin, Mark (Central Scotland) (Lab)
Johnson, Daniel (Edinburgh Southern) (Lab)
Johnstone, Alison (Lothian) (Green)
Kelly, James (Glasgow) (Lab)
Lennon, Monica (Central Scotland) (Lab)
Macdonald, Lewis (North East Scotland) (Lab)
McNeill, Pauline (Glasgow) (Lab)
Rowley, Alex (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Lab)
Ruskell, Mark (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Green)
Sarwar, Anas (Glasgow) (Lab)
Smyth, Colin (South Scotland) (Lab)
Wightman, Andy (Lothian) (Green)

Against

Adam, George (Paisley) (SNP)
Arthur, Tom (Renfrewshire South) (SNP)
Ballantyne, Michelle (South Scotland) (Con)
Beattie, Colin (Midlothian North and Musselburgh) (SNP)
Bowman, Bill (North East Scotland) (Con)
Briggs, Miles (Lothian) (Con)
Brown, Keith (Clackmannanshire and Dunblane) (SNP)
Coffey, Willie (Kilmarnock and Irvine Valley) (SNP)
Cole-Hamilton, Alex (Edinburgh Western) (LD)
Constance, Angela (Almond Valley) (SNP)
Cunningham, Roseanna (Perthshire South and Kinross-shire) (SNP)
Davidson, Ruth (Edinburgh Central) (Con)
Denham, Ash (Edinburgh Eastern) (SNP)
Dey, Graeme (Angus South) (SNP)
Doris, Bob (Glasgow Maryhill and Springburn) (SNP)
Fabiani, Linda (East Kilbride) (SNP)
FitzPatrick, Joe (Dundee City West) (SNP)
Fraser, Murdo (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Con)
Freeman, Jeane (Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley) (SNP)
Gibson, Kenneth (Cunninghame North) (SNP)
Gilruth, Jenny (Mid Fife and Glenrothes) (SNP)
Golden, Maurice (West Scotland) (Con)
Gougeon, Mairi (Angus North and Mearns) (SNP)
Greene, Jamie (West Scotland) (Con)
Haughey, Clare (Rutherglen) (SNP)
Hepburn, Jamie (Cumbernauld and Kilsyth) (SNP)
Hyslop, Fiona (Linlithgow) (SNP)
Halcro Johnston, Jamie (Highlands and Islands) (Con)
Kerr, Liam (North East Scotland) (Con)
Kidd, Bill (Glasgow Anniesland) (SNP)
Lindhurst, Gordon (Lothian) (Con)
Lochhead, Richard (Moray) (SNP)
Lyle, Richard (Uddingston and Bellshill) (SNP)
MacDonald, Gordon (Edinburgh Pentlands) (SNP)
MacGregor, Fulton (Coatbridge and Chryston) (SNP)
Mackay, Rona (Strathkelvin and Bearsden) (SNP)
Macpherson, Ben (Edinburgh Northern and Leith) (SNP)
Maguire, Ruth (Cunninghame South) (SNP)
Mason, John (Glasgow Shettleston) (SNP)
Matheson, Michael (Falkirk West) (SNP)
McArthur, Liam (Orkney Islands) (LD)
McKee, Ivan (Glasgow Provan) (SNP)
McKelvie, Christina (Hamilton, Larkhall and Stonehouse) (SNP)
McMillan, Stuart (Greenock and Inverclyde) (SNP)
Robison, Shona (Dundee City East) (SNP)
Russell, Michael (Argyll and Bute) (SNP)
Simpson, Graham (Central Scotland) (Con)
Smith, Liz (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Con)
Somerville, Shirley-Anne (Dunfermline) (SNP)
Stewart, Alexander (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Con)
Stewart, Kevin (Aberdeen Central) (SNP)
Tomkins, Adam (Glasgow) (Con)
Torrance, David (Kirkcaldy) (SNP)
Wheelhouse, Paul (South Scotland) (SNP)
Yousaf, Humza (Glasgow Pollok) (SNP)

The Convener

The result of the division is: For 19, Against 55, Abstentions 0.

Amendment 50 disagreed to.

Amendment 51 not moved.

18:45  

The Convener

The next group of amendments is on other measures in response to coronavirus. Amendment 52, in the name of Pauline McNeill, is grouped with amendment 53.

Pauline McNeill

I lodged amendment 52 on the request of the Law Society of Scotland. It would amend line 6 of page 6 of schedule 7 by changing “10 days” to “10 working days”. The amendment would extend the period of effect of an advance notice under the Land Registration etc (Scotland) Act 2012. It is intended to provide additional time for solicitors to prepare and submit applications for registration.

Registers of Scotland temporarily suspended the application record on 24 March 2020. As of 24 March, Registers of Scotland has been unable to accept paper applications for registration. That includes some advance notices for first registrations and transfers of part, and applications for registration of deeds, including dispositions.

In the context of the purchase of residential homes, an advance notice gives the purchaser protection and safeguards their purchase from a competing disposition that is granted to a third party, by entering the register for their own disposition for a period of 35 days. In other words, it gives the purchaser satisfaction that their disposition has been properly registered and is not open to challenge.

Following suspension of the application record, the immediate concern was that any deed that had not been registered would lose the protection of that advance notice if Registers of Scotland did not reopen the application record within that 35-day period to allow the deed to be registered.

The Law Society has worked closely with Registers of Scotland to facilitate a way in which transactions could proceed, by satisfying a particular framework that involves extending the period of the advance notice to provide sufficient time to register the deed. That period will run from submission of the advance notice until 10 working days after the application record fully opens. The bill currently extends the period to 10 days.

The Law Society believes that clarity is required as to the period; through the insertion of the word “working”, the bill would also cover and take into account bank holidays and weekends when Registers of Scotland is unable to accept paper applications. The keeper of the registers of Scotland has confirmed that she will consult the Law Society of Scotland as to whether she intends to reopen the application record. However, the emergency legislation might be required to provide that safeguard.

I move amendment 52.

Andy Wightman

Members might be aware of many instances over the past few weeks of land managers continuing to set the hills alight. They do that for a variety of reasons, under legal restrictions that are imposed by section 23 of the Hill Farming Act 1946, which imposes a season, from 1 October to 15 April, or an extended season to 30 April.

I commend the call exactly one week ago by Scottish Land & Estates that land managers desist from muirburning due to the demands that it could place on emergency services, and because of other issues in relation to the restrictions around working.

However, as evidence from across the country demonstrates, it is clear that the call is not being heeded. That is so important because the latest fire risk assessment, which was published this morning on behalf of the Scottish Wildfire Forum, says that the overall fire danger assessment for southern and eastern Scotland is officially “very high” for this week coming, and that in eastern Scotland on Saturday 4 April it is “extreme”. Amendment 53 would bring the muirburning season to an immediate halt, and would not allow any such activity during the emergency period.

Murdo Fraser (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Con)

I will speak briefly to the two disparate amendments in the group. In relation to Pauline McNeill’s amendment 52, which originated from the Law Society of Scotland, I declare my interest as a member of that society.

I welcome amendment 52; it seeks to extend the time that is available to solicitors to submit applications for registration of title to the keeper from 10 days to 10 working days. It is a modest and sensible change and I hope that the entire Parliament will support it.

I will not be quite as generous about Andy Wightman’s amendment 53, although I have no interest to declare in that respect; sadly, I am not the owner of a grouse moor—at least, not yet—although I appreciate that that distinguishes me from some of my Conservative colleagues.

An important qualification for any legislation is that it meets the test of necessity. That is particularly the case when it comes to emergency legislation that is being passed by Parliament without the opportunity for proper consultation and scrutiny. Amendment 53 does not meet the test of necessity because, despite what Mr Wightman said, there is no evidence that muirburning is currently taking place in Scotland.

Scottish Land & Estates has told its members very clearly that muirburning should not take place. In any event, the muirburning season comes to an end on 15 April, which is two weeks from today; that is likely to be before the bill is even enacted. The measure is therefore unnecessary—that is the kindest thing that I can say about it.

Andy Wightman is, once again, on his favourite hobby-horse—attacking landed estates and the people who own them. There are many other activities in the countryside that one could, equally, argue would present a challenge to the emergency services.

Andy Wightman

I merely observe to Mr Fraser that Scottish Land & Estates has called on its members to desist. My amendment would give that the force of law.

Murdo Fraser

Mr Wightman and I disagree. We should not be legislating unless there is compelling need to bring in a new law. His amendment is not necessary, because there is no social ill that it is trying to cure. There is no evidence of muirburning taking place at the moment; even if there was, the chances are that by the time the bill is enacted, the muirburning season will be over. Mr Wightman is again on his favourite subject—attacking people who earn a living from the countryside and from grouse moors. It is a vindictive move, and Parliament should oppose it.

Michael Russell

Convener, I find myself in the position of being contrary on both amendments. If you will bear with me, I will do my best to explain why.

There is absolutely no reason why we should not support Pauline McNeill’s amendment 52, except, apparently, for the way in which Registers of Scotland operates its computer systems. The Government has worked hard today to see whether we could accept the amendment. The problem is that the computer systems are based on days, rather than on working days, and to change the computer systems would require substantial work.

I have a solution. As Pauline McNeill suggests, there will probably be a need for emergency legislation to reopen the registers. That is being discussed. If we can resolve that, we will, of course, use the proposal in amendment 52, because we are entirely sympathetic to there being as much time as possible. Unfortunately, the issue cannot be resolved here today. I wish that it could, because there is no reason for my objecting to the proposal other than that strong reason.

Pauline McNeill

I appreciate what the cabinet secretary is trying to do. I think that we are probably at one in terms of the desired outcome. As I am sure he knows, and based on case law, days can be crucial for people when they register properties. I want to put that on the record. I do not know when he is thinking further legislation might be introduced, but it is important to make the point that some people could be caught out.

Michael Russell

I entirely accept that. Our intention will be to give the maximum time possible. It is for Registers of Scotland to decide, but I do not want to put in statute something that would create an additional problem for the organisation.

In all honesty, I say that I am by no means an expert on the subject. I had not heard of it until about an hour ago but, knowing it now, I feel that it is my duty to share it in Parliament. I hope that Pauline McNeill will seek to withdraw amendment 52.

On Mr Wightman’s amendment 53, I shall be contrary with regard to Conservative members. I read the amendment with a sense of déjà vu. It brought back the happy days when I was an environment minister and had heard of neither Brexit nor coronavirus. I would go back to those days, if only I could. I was familiar with muirburn regulations then. It is a sensitive issue. If any muirburn is taking place at this stage, it should stop: given the forecast, it must stop. In support of Mr Wightman, I say that I see absolutely no harm in putting that into statute. Therefore, I suggest that we do so.

It is not as simple as saying that the provision should cover only until 15 April, because there are circumstances in which muirburn could continue beyond 15 April—for, I think, another fortnight, although I am dredging from my memory regulations that I have not thought about for a very long time. In the circumstances, I am happy to support amendment 53. Others might not be.

The Convener

I call Pauline McNeill to wind up and to say whether she intends to press or to seek to withdraw amendment 52.

Pauline McNeill

I was just looking across the chamber towards Murdo Fraser, who I think is probably minded—as am I—to fix the issue correctly. I understand that some people could be adversely affected by amendment 52’s proposals—because a property is not wholly theirs until their title is registered by the keeper—although it is to be hoped that no one would be so affected.

Based on that, and on the promise that the cabinet secretary has made, I look forward to further discussion on the issue. I am sure that the Law Society of Scotland will have picked up on the matter and will be in touch when it sees the outcome of the debate. For those reasons, I will be happy not to press amendment 52.

Amendment 52, by agreement, withdrawn.

Amendment 53 moved—[Andy Wightman].

The Convener

The question is, that amendment 53 be agreed to. Are we agreed?

Members: No.

The Convener

I summon members to the chamber for a one-minute division on amendment 53. [Interruption.] Yes—I summon them to the chamber.

The question is, that amendment 53 be agreed to. Are we agreed?

Members: No.

The Convener

There will be a division.

For

Adam, George (Paisley) (SNP)
Arthur, Tom (Renfrewshire South) (SNP)
Baker, Claire (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Lab)
Beattie, Colin (Midlothian North and Musselburgh) (SNP)
Boyack, Sarah (Lothian) (Lab)
Brown, Keith (Clackmannanshire and Dunblane) (SNP)
Coffey, Willie (Kilmarnock and Irvine Valley) (SNP)
Cole-Hamilton, Alex (Edinburgh Western) (LD)
Constance, Angela (Almond Valley) (SNP)
Cunningham, Roseanna (Perthshire South and Kinross-shire) (SNP)
Denham, Ash (Edinburgh Eastern) (SNP)
Dey, Graeme (Angus South) (SNP)
Doris, Bob (Glasgow Maryhill and Springburn) (SNP)
Fabiani, Linda (East Kilbride) (SNP)
Findlay, Neil (Lothian) (Lab)
Finnie, John (Highlands and Islands) (Green)
FitzPatrick, Joe (Dundee City West) (SNP)
Freeman, Jeane (Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley) (SNP)
Gibson, Kenneth (Cunninghame North) (SNP)
Gilruth, Jenny (Mid Fife and Glenrothes) (SNP)
Gougeon, Mairi (Angus North and Mearns) (SNP)
Grant, Rhoda (Highlands and Islands) (Lab)
Gray, Iain (East Lothian) (Lab)
Greer, Ross (West Scotland) (Green)
Griffin, Mark (Central Scotland) (Lab)
Haughey, Clare (Rutherglen) (SNP)
Hepburn, Jamie (Cumbernauld and Kilsyth) (SNP)
Hyslop, Fiona (Linlithgow) (SNP)
Johnson, Daniel (Edinburgh Southern) (Lab)
Johnstone, Alison (Lothian) (Green)
Kelly, James (Glasgow) (Lab)
Kidd, Bill (Glasgow Anniesland) (SNP)
Lennon, Monica (Central Scotland) (Lab)
Lochhead, Richard (Moray) (SNP)
Lyle, Richard (Uddingston and Bellshill) (SNP)
MacDonald, Gordon (Edinburgh Pentlands) (SNP)
Macdonald, Lewis (North East Scotland) (Lab)
MacGregor, Fulton (Coatbridge and Chryston) (SNP)
Mackay, Rona (Strathkelvin and Bearsden) (SNP)
Macpherson, Ben (Edinburgh Northern and Leith) (SNP)
Maguire, Ruth (Cunninghame South) (SNP)
Mason, John (Glasgow Shettleston) (SNP)
Matheson, Michael (Falkirk West) (SNP)
McAlpine, Joan (South Scotland) (SNP)
McArthur, Liam (Orkney Islands) (LD)
McKee, Ivan (Glasgow Provan) (SNP)
McKelvie, Christina (Hamilton, Larkhall and Stonehouse) (SNP)
McMillan, Stuart (Greenock and Inverclyde) (SNP)
McNeill, Pauline (Glasgow) (Lab)
Robison, Shona (Dundee City East) (SNP)
Rowley, Alex (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Lab)
Ruskell, Mark (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Green)
Russell, Michael (Argyll and Bute) (SNP)
Smyth, Colin (South Scotland) (Lab)
Stewart, Kevin (Aberdeen Central) (SNP)
Torrance, David (Kirkcaldy) (SNP)
Wheelhouse, Paul (South Scotland) (SNP)
Wightman, Andy (Lothian) (Green)
Yousaf, Humza (Glasgow Pollok) (SNP)

Against

Ballantyne, Michelle (South Scotland) (Con)
Bowman, Bill (North East Scotland) (Con)
Briggs, Miles (Lothian) (Con)
Cameron, Donald (Highlands and Islands) (Con)
Corry, Maurice (West Scotland) (Con)
Davidson, Ruth (Edinburgh Central) (Con)
Fraser, Murdo (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Con)
Golden, Maurice (West Scotland) (Con)
Greene, Jamie (West Scotland) (Con)
Halcro Johnston, Jamie (Highlands and Islands) (Con)
Kerr, Liam (North East Scotland) (Con)
Lindhurst, Gordon (Lothian) (Con)
Simpson, Graham (Central Scotland) (Con)
Smith, Liz (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Con)
Somerville, Shirley-Anne (Dunfermline) (SNP)
Stewart, Alexander (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Con)
Tomkins, Adam (Glasgow) (Con)

The Convener

The result of the division is: For 59, Against 17, Abstentions 0.

Amendment 53 agreed to.

Schedule 7, as amended, agreed to.

Before section 9

The Convener

We turn to the last group of amendments, which is on equalities and human rights. Amendment 54, in the name of Ruth Maguire, is grouped with amendment 59.

Ruth Maguire (Cunninghame South) (SNP)

We know that people who are already facing inequality are most likely to be negatively affected by Covid-19, with an increased risk of facing financial and physical insecurity.

For example, women are affected in terms of their health not only as front-line workers and carers but also because of the policies that have been introduced to manage the impact of the virus. Periods of isolation and social distancing can exacerbate women’s experiences of domestic abuse, effectively trapping them in unsafe situations with limited access to vital support and means of escape. As at 31 March, seven women had been murdered in their own homes this year—this is therefore a serious matter.

I praise the Scottish Government’s decision to fund Scottish Women’s Aid and Rape Crisis Scotland to ensure that the key services that they provide are maintained. I thank both organisations for the important work that they do to keep women safe, which has always been challenging but has probably been particularly difficult recently. I want them to know that they are valued, respected and supported.

Amendment 54 creates a duty on ministers to

“have regard to opportunities to advance equality”

and reflects mainstreaming obligations under the Equality Act 2010. It does not introduce any additional reporting obligations during this period of crisis, but it does ensure that Scotland’s efforts to eradicate gender inequality lose as little ground as possible during it.

I move amendment 54.

The Convener

I call Monica Lennon to speak to amendment 59 and the other amendment in this group.

Monica Lennon

The purpose of amendment 59 is to ensure proper monitoring of the use of emergency powers on mental health.

Amendments made to the Mental Health (Care and Treatment) (Scotland) Act 2003 by the UK Parliament Coronavirus Act 2020 could have significant impacts on vulnerable adults. The Scottish Human Rights Commission has suggested that local authorities and health boards should be required to report on where and how they have used powers on mental health and that, if it were appropriately resourced, the Mental Welfare Commission for Scotland would be an appropriate body to receive such reports.

Although Scottish Labour accepts that the Scottish Parliament’s emergency bill is necessary, its significant implications for the safeguarding of the human rights of those who are mentally ill are of concern. That is why increased powers for mental health professionals and the potential increase in periods of detention must be undertaken only where necessary and must be properly monitored. The powers must be applied with only that in mind, rather than to ease the administrative burden on health and social care staff. Reporting of when and how the powers have been used will provide important checks and balances.

Notwithstanding what I have said, I recently received an email from the Scottish Government that, if I had seen sooner, might have resulted in a differently drafted amendment. Can the cabinet secretary give assurances, especially to those vulnerable groups, about the measures that can be put in place to ensure proper scrutiny of the additional powers? This relates to the timing of what has not yet been implemented. I accept the Government’s email in good faith and, if I can have further clarification, I will not have to move amendment 59.

19:00  

Michael Russell

I welcome amendment 54 from Ruth Maguire. It is very much required, and she has drawn attention to considerable issues that are arising and will, regrettably, continue to arise during this difficult period. The insertion of a new section before section 9 will be important, and it must be of importance if it drives our minds and our actions towards making sure that we consider those matters. I make the commitment on behalf of the Government that we will do so.

I thank Monica Lennon for her remarks. I am sorry that it took time to come back to her on amendment 59, but we have been running to stand still in respect of the detail of the amendments this afternoon. I respect the point that she has made. The position of the Mental Welfare Commission was raised in my conversations this week with the Scottish Human Rights Commission, and I make a commitment to ensure that the Mental Welfare Commission is involved in the reporting process.

There are two problems with amendment 59. One is that the reporting period it asks for is longer than the reporting period that we have already decided upon in the bill. It would create a worse set of circumstances than there would otherwise be.

The second problem is that there is very little in the bill that would be affected by amendment 59: only a tiny subset of adults with incapacity. The real target of amendment 59 is the legislative consent motion that we gave to the UK Coronavirus Act 2020, which has substantial powers under mental health legislation. I made commitment during the LCM process—which I am glad is on record—that we will report, in detail, on the use of those powers, that we will make sure that that reporting covers the whole country, and that we will engage the Mental Welfare Commission.

Amendment 59 is not helpful. In actual fact, it would put burdens upon people that would be irrelevant given what is referred to in this bill.

Presiding Officer, I would like to make a few comments about the issue of reporting, which is of wider concern to members. It is important that we have as much reporting as possible, and I know that Anas Sarwar has written to you with a proposal, which has been circulated to members, for a special committee.

The Scottish Government is happy with that proposal and I am grateful to Mr Sarwar, who has done us all a service by making a concrete proposal about how things should go forward. If the proposal is to go forward, either completely or in some variation agreed by the Parliamentary Bureau, the Scottish Government will work hard with that special committee. I told Mr Sarwar today that I would be happy, if the committee were to come into existence very quickly, to take part in a video, or other, conference with it as soon as it is established.

We are already looking at the reporting guidelines. I am commissioning work on that, and I want that work to be influenced by whatever structure comes into place, so that we are all clear what the reporting guidelines are, how that information is brought together and how it is then disseminated.

As I said to Neil Findlay at lunch time today, Scottish Government colleagues and I are also looking at how we can give individual members more direct and faster access to information on the common issues and complaints that they raise. All members have been deluged with genuine concerns from constituents. Some of those concerns, such as issues with personal protective equipment, have been dealt with rapidly. Other concerns have been put to the side because we need an answer from elsewhere. I appreciate that that is difficult, so we are looking at what we can do, and I hope to have something more to say in the next couple of days.

As I mentioned earlier, there is also the enhanced issue of making sure that questions are answered rapidly. We will do our best to respond and to provide as much information as possible, as well as to take part in the scrutiny structures that Parliament puts in place.

I make those commitments, but I would be grateful if Monica Lennon did not move amendment 59 as it will not enhance the situation.

Presiding Officer, I do not know when we will come on to it, but I would like to say a word or two about the stage 3 process when we conclude the stage 2 proceedings; I would like to ask members for some help.

The Convener

I invite Ruth Maguire to wind up and to indicate whether she intends to press or withdraw amendment 54.

Ruth Maguire

I press amendment 54.

Amendment 54 agreed to.

Section 9 agreed to.

Section 10—Power to suspend and revive provisions

Amendment 55 moved—[Michael Russell]—and agreed to.

Section 10, as amended, agreed to.

Section 11—Expiry

Amendment 56 moved—[Neil Findlay].

The Convener

The question is, that amendment 56 be agreed to. Are we agreed?

Members: No.

The Convener

There will be a division.

For

Baker, Claire (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Lab)
Ballantyne, Michelle (South Scotland) (Con)
Bowman, Bill (North East Scotland) (Con)
Boyack, Sarah (Lothian) (Lab)
Briggs, Miles (Lothian) (Con)
Cameron, Donald (Highlands and Islands) (Con)
Cole-Hamilton, Alex (Edinburgh Western) (LD)
Corry, Maurice (West Scotland) (Con)
Davidson, Ruth (Edinburgh Central) (Con)
Findlay, Neil (Lothian) (Lab)
Fraser, Murdo (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Con)
Golden, Maurice (West Scotland) (Con)
Grant, Rhoda (Highlands and Islands) (Lab)
Gray, Iain (East Lothian) (Lab)
Greene, Jamie (West Scotland) (Con)
Griffin, Mark (Central Scotland) (Lab)
Halcro Johnston, Jamie (Highlands and Islands) (Con)
Johnson, Daniel (Edinburgh Southern) (Lab)
Kelly, James (Glasgow) (Lab)
Kerr, Liam (North East Scotland) (Con)
Lennon, Monica (Central Scotland) (Lab)
Lindhurst, Gordon (Lothian) (Con)
Macdonald, Lewis (North East Scotland) (Lab)
McArthur, Liam (Orkney Islands) (LD)
McNeill, Pauline (Glasgow) (Lab)
Rowley, Alex (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Lab)
Sarwar, Anas (Glasgow) (Lab)
Simpson, Graham (Central Scotland) (Con)
Smith, Liz (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Con)
Smyth, Colin (South Scotland) (Lab)
Stewart, Alexander (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Con)
Tomkins, Adam (Glasgow) (Con)

Against

Adam, George (Paisley) (SNP)
Arthur, Tom (Renfrewshire South) (SNP)
Beattie, Colin (Midlothian North and Musselburgh) (SNP)
Brown, Keith (Clackmannanshire and Dunblane) (SNP)
Coffey, Willie (Kilmarnock and Irvine Valley) (SNP)
Constance, Angela (Almond Valley) (SNP)
Cunningham, Roseanna (Perthshire South and Kinross-shire) (SNP)
Denham, Ash (Edinburgh Eastern) (SNP)
Dey, Graeme (Angus South) (SNP)
Doris, Bob (Glasgow Maryhill and Springburn) (SNP)
Fabiani, Linda (East Kilbride) (SNP)
Finnie, John (Highlands and Islands) (Green)
FitzPatrick, Joe (Dundee City West) (SNP)
Freeman, Jeane (Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley) (SNP)
Gibson, Kenneth (Cunninghame North) (SNP)
Gilruth, Jenny (Mid Fife and Glenrothes) (SNP)
Gougeon, Mairi (Angus North and Mearns) (SNP)
Greer, Ross (West Scotland) (Green)
Haughey, Clare (Rutherglen) (SNP)
Hepburn, Jamie (Cumbernauld and Kilsyth) (SNP)
Hyslop, Fiona (Linlithgow) (SNP)
Johnstone, Alison (Lothian) (Green)
Kidd, Bill (Glasgow Anniesland) (SNP)
Lochhead, Richard (Moray) (SNP)
Lyle, Richard (Uddingston and Bellshill) (SNP)
MacDonald, Gordon (Edinburgh Pentlands) (SNP)
MacGregor, Fulton (Coatbridge and Chryston) (SNP)
Mackay, Rona (Strathkelvin and Bearsden) (SNP)
Macpherson, Ben (Edinburgh Northern and Leith) (SNP)
Maguire, Ruth (Cunninghame South) (SNP)
Mason, John (Glasgow Shettleston) (SNP)
Matheson, Michael (Falkirk West) (SNP)
McAlpine, Joan (South Scotland) (SNP)
McKee, Ivan (Glasgow Provan) (SNP)
McKelvie, Christina (Hamilton, Larkhall and Stonehouse) (SNP)
McMillan, Stuart (Greenock and Inverclyde) (SNP)
Robison, Shona (Dundee City East) (SNP)
Ruskell, Mark (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Green)
Russell, Michael (Argyll and Bute) (SNP)
Somerville, Shirley-Anne (Dunfermline) (SNP)
Stewart, Kevin (Aberdeen Central) (SNP)
Torrance, David (Kirkcaldy) (SNP)
Wheelhouse, Paul (South Scotland) (SNP)
Wightman, Andy (Lothian) (Green)
Yousaf, Humza (Glasgow Pollok) (SNP)

The Convener

The result of the division is: For 32, Against 45, Abstentions 0.

Amendment 56 disagreed to.

Amendment 57 moved—[Neil Findlay].

The Convener

The question is, that amendment 57 be agreed to. Are we agreed?

Members: No.

The Convener

There will be a division.

For

Baker, Claire (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Lab)
Ballantyne, Michelle (South Scotland) (Con)
Bowman, Bill (North East Scotland) (Con)
Boyack, Sarah (Lothian) (Lab)
Briggs, Miles (Lothian) (Con)
Cameron, Donald (Highlands and Islands) (Con)
Cole-Hamilton, Alex (Edinburgh Western) (LD)
Corry, Maurice (West Scotland) (Con)
Davidson, Ruth (Edinburgh Central) (Con)
Findlay, Neil (Lothian) (Lab)
Fraser, Murdo (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Con)
Golden, Maurice (West Scotland) (Con)
Grant, Rhoda (Highlands and Islands) (Lab)
Gray, Iain (East Lothian) (Lab)
Greene, Jamie (West Scotland) (Con)
Griffin, Mark (Central Scotland) (Lab)
Halcro Johnston, Jamie (Highlands and Islands) (Con)
Johnson, Daniel (Edinburgh Southern) (Lab)
Kelly, James (Glasgow) (Lab)
Kerr, Liam (North East Scotland) (Con)
Lennon, Monica (Central Scotland) (Lab)
Lindhurst, Gordon (Lothian) (Con)
Macdonald, Lewis (North East Scotland) (Lab)
McArthur, Liam (Orkney Islands) (LD)
McNeill, Pauline (Glasgow) (Lab)
Rowley, Alex (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Lab)
Sarwar, Anas (Glasgow) (Lab)
Simpson, Graham (Central Scotland) (Con)
Smith, Liz (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Con)
Smyth, Colin (South Scotland) (Lab)
Stewart, Alexander (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Con)
Tomkins, Adam (Glasgow) (Con)

Against

Adam, George (Paisley) (SNP)
Arthur, Tom (Renfrewshire South) (SNP)
Beattie, Colin (Midlothian North and Musselburgh) (SNP)
Brown, Keith (Clackmannanshire and Dunblane) (SNP)
Coffey, Willie (Kilmarnock and Irvine Valley) (SNP)
Constance, Angela (Almond Valley) (SNP)
Cunningham, Roseanna (Perthshire South and Kinross-shire) (SNP)
Denham, Ash (Edinburgh Eastern) (SNP)
Dey, Graeme (Angus South) (SNP)
Doris, Bob (Glasgow Maryhill and Springburn) (SNP)
Fabiani, Linda (East Kilbride) (SNP)
Finnie, John (Highlands and Islands) (Green)
FitzPatrick, Joe (Dundee City West) (SNP)
Freeman, Jeane (Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley) (SNP)
Gibson, Kenneth (Cunninghame North) (SNP)
Gilruth, Jenny (Mid Fife and Glenrothes) (SNP)
Gougeon, Mairi (Angus North and Mearns) (SNP)
Greer, Ross (West Scotland) (Green)
Haughey, Clare (Rutherglen) (SNP)
Hepburn, Jamie (Cumbernauld and Kilsyth) (SNP)
Hyslop, Fiona (Linlithgow) (SNP)
Johnstone, Alison (Lothian) (Green)
Kidd, Bill (Glasgow Anniesland) (SNP)
Lochhead, Richard (Moray) (SNP)
Lyle, Richard (Uddingston and Bellshill) (SNP)
MacDonald, Gordon (Edinburgh Pentlands) (SNP)
MacGregor, Fulton (Coatbridge and Chryston) (SNP)
Mackay, Rona (Strathkelvin and Bearsden) (SNP)
Macpherson, Ben (Edinburgh Northern and Leith) (SNP)
Maguire, Ruth (Cunninghame South) (SNP)
Mason, John (Glasgow Shettleston) (SNP)
Matheson, Michael (Falkirk West) (SNP)
McAlpine, Joan (South Scotland) (SNP)
McKee, Ivan (Glasgow Provan) (SNP)
McKelvie, Christina (Hamilton, Larkhall and Stonehouse) (SNP)
McMillan, Stuart (Greenock and Inverclyde) (SNP)
Robison, Shona (Dundee City East) (SNP)
Ruskell, Mark (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Green)
Russell, Michael (Argyll and Bute) (SNP)
Somerville, Shirley-Anne (Dunfermline) (SNP)
Stewart, Kevin (Aberdeen Central) (SNP)
Torrance, David (Kirkcaldy) (SNP)
Wheelhouse, Paul (South Scotland) (SNP)
Wightman, Andy (Lothian) (Green)
Yousaf, Humza (Glasgow Pollok) (SNP)

The Convener

The result of the division is: For 32, Against 45, Abstentions 0.

Amendment 57 disagreed to.

Amendment 58 moved—[Michael Russell]—and agreed to.

Section 11, as amended, agreed to.

Sections 12 to 14 agreed to.

After section 14

Amendment 59 not moved.

Sections 15 to 17 agreed to.

Long title agreed to.

The Convener

That ends stage 2 consideration of the Coronavirus (Scotland) Bill and concludes this meeting of a committee of the whole Parliament. I want to say a few words but, before I do so, I think that the cabinet secretary wishes to make a few comments about stage 3.

Michael Russell

I want to make two points. The stage 2 process has been very full and detailed, and it is not my intention to lodge any amendments to the bill at stage 3. Clearly, there are always small matters that can be dealt with, but given the detailed debate that we have had on almost every issue, I think that that is the appropriate response.

Members are, of course, entirely free to lodge amendments at stage 3, but it seems important for us to give a lead and to say that we think that it would be possible to move on to have a brief debate about the bill overall, but to make sure that the bill is passed and goes on its way.

The Convener

That is very helpful. I invite the cabinet secretary and the business managers to join me in committee room 5—the Adam Smith room—to confirm whether there are any plans to lodge amendments. At that point, I will come back and inform members about when we can move to the next stage, which will be either stage 3 deadlines or the stage 3 debate.

I ask members to loiter around the chamber for about five minutes. Please keep a social distance.

Meeting closed at 19:10.  19:24 On resuming—