Meeting date: Thursday, September 5, 2019
Meeting of the Parliament 05 September 2019
Agenda: General Question Time, First Minister’s Question Time, Doors Open Days 2019, Portfolio Question Time, Drug-related Deaths, European Union Exit (No Deal), Points of Order, Decision Time
- General Question Time
- First Minister’s Question Time
- Doors Open Days 2019
- Portfolio Question Time
- Drug-related Deaths
- European Union Exit (No Deal)
- Points of Order
- Decision Time
Points of Order
On a point of order, Presiding Officer. Today, during the drug deaths statement, at least six members who were due to ask questions, including me, were not called to speak, because time ran out. If we are to properly hold the Government to account, can more time be allocated so that there is sufficient time for proper scrutiny? Today’s situation meant that no members from North East Scotland were able to raise the important Dundee drugs commission report with the Minister for Public Health, Sport and Wellbeing. In the light of that, will the Parliamentary Bureau and the Government prioritise a debate on drug deaths in Government time at the earliest possible date so that the Parliament can properly discuss and debate that public and human crisis?
It is, indeed, a matter for the Parliamentary Bureau to decide allocation of time. Today, we were hard pushed for time and there was a lot of interest, partly because members were coming back after the recess with a lot of issues to raise. All our debates and statements this week have been oversubscribed, and we have struggled to get everybody in. Today, I was conscious that I had selected you, Ms Marra, and Mr Findlay to ask questions on drugs at First Minister’s question time. However, I recognise that you, along with Pauline McNeill, Stuart McMillan and a number of other members who were lined up to speak on the statement, did not get a chance to contribute.
We try not to cut members off from the chair. We constantly try to encourage members to keep their questions and answers short, but we try not to interrupt. We would prefer it if members would self-discipline, because, if they do not, the members who are last on the list to ask questions or to speak in the debate will not be called to ask a question or will have their time cut. That is the balance that we are trying to strike. However, I accept the general point, which I am sure the bureau will bear in mind, that there was a lot of demand on the drug deaths statement and perhaps not quite enough time. That point is noted, and I will take it to the bureau.
On a point of order, Presiding Officer. On 3 September, Liam Kerr MSP stated in Parliament:
“The First Minister said last year that the Government would give criminal justice social work £100 million, which is a pledge that has been betrayed.”—[Official Report, 3 September 2019; c 49.]
However, the independent Scottish Parliament information centre—SPICe—has confirmed that the Scottish Government has, indeed, allocated £100 million to criminal justice social work. If Liam Kerr aspires to become the next leader of the Scottish Conservative Party, he really needs to up his game. Presiding Officer, can you advise how he might go about correcting the record?
If a member wishes to correct the record, they can correct the Official Report or they can raise matters in the chamber or through written statements. Rona Mackay’s point has been noted, and I am sure that the member will take account of it.