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Chamber and committees

Meeting date: Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Meeting of the Parliament (Hybrid) 06 October 2020

Agenda: Time for Reflection, Business Motion, United Kingdom Budget Delay, Topical Question Time, Coronavirus Acts Report, International Development (Covid-19), Parliamentary Bureau Motion, Decision Time, Miscarriage


Contents


Business Motion

The Presiding Officer (Ken Macintosh)

The next item of business is consideration of business motion S5M-22959, in the name of Graeme Dey, on behalf of the Parliamentary Bureau, setting out changes to this week’s business.

Motion moved,

That the Parliament agrees to the following revisions to the programme of business for—

(a) Tuesday 6 October 2020

delete

followed by Ministerial Statement: Assessment of SQA National Qualifications in 2020-21

delete

5.00 pm Decision Time

and insert

4.30 pm Decision Time

(b) Wednesday 7 October 2020

after

2.00 pm Portfolio Questions:
Rural Economy and Tourism;
Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity

insert

followed by First Minister’s Statement: COVID-19

followed by Ministerial Statement: Assessment of SQA National Qualifications in 2020-21

delete

5.10 pm Decision Time

and insert

6.00 pm Decision Time

(c) Thursday 8 October 2020

delete

followed by Ministerial Statement: Shaping Scotland’s Economy: Scotland’s Inward Investment Plan

followed by Ministerial Statement: NHS remobilisation

followed by Ministerial Statement: Miners’ Strike Review

followed by Ministerial Statement: Scotland’s Response to the Mental Health Challenge of Covid-19

followed by Business Motions

followed by Parliamentary Bureau Motions

4.55 pm Decision Time

and insert

followed by Ministerial Statement: Scotland’s Response to the Mental Health Challenge of Covid-19

followed by Scottish Government Debate: Debate on First Minister’s Statement: COVID-19

followed by Legislative Consent Motion: Trade Bill

followed by Business Motions

followed by Parliamentary Bureau Motions

5.30 pm Decision Time—[Graeme Dey]

The Presiding Officer

Patrick Harvie wishes to speak on the motion. He joins us remotely.

14:04  

Patrick Harvie (Glasgow) (Green)

Ordinarily, I would have been speaking to oppose and challenge the business motion. I do speak in objection to it but, given that it is more difficult to call a division in the current circumstances outside of decision time, I do not intend to press my objection to a vote. However, I want to record my objection to the lack of time being allocated to discuss the legislative consent motion on the United Kingdom Trade Bill.

There are significant changes to business in the business motion that I support, not least the addition of the debate on Covid-related issues, which clearly need time for scrutiny. Furthermore, in this week’s business, we see that the United Kingdom Internal Market Bill, which is so controversial, has been given a proper amount of debating time. That is as it should be.

We all recognise that not every LCM requires a debate and that not every LCM raises policy or constitutional issues. The United Kingdom Internal Market Bill does, and the Scottish Government has agreed to allocate time to debate it. The same should be true of the Trade Bill. That bill not only encompasses significant aspects of trade policy but embodies the lack of scrutiny that the UK Government intends to bring to trade policy.

The Trade Bill does not include the opportunity for this Parliament, or others in civil society, to comment on and debate trade matters and the operation of future trade agreements. We should not be replicating that lack of scrutiny by allocating just five minutes to debate the legislative consent motion on the Trade Bill.

As I said, I would normally press the matter to a vote. I will not do that today, merely out of respect for the practical implications of doing so before decision time. However, I urge the Scottish Government, if it wishes to distance itself from the UK Government’s free market policy, to allow proper time to debate such matters, not just cursorily nod them through with five minutes for a LCM and no debate on the wider trade policy context.

The Presiding Officer

I call Graeme Dey to respond on behalf of the Parliamentary Bureau.

14:07  

The Minister for Parliamentary Business and Veterans (Graeme Dey)

The business motion, as approved by the Parliamentary Bureau, has undergone much change from its original iteration, reflecting the circumstances that we are in and the wishes of the parties of the Parliament.

Patrick Harvie, as is his right, sought a debate on the LCM on the Trade Bill of up to an hour on Thursday. There was time at our disposal that afternoon, but the bureau’s view was that that should be deployed to debate any coronavirus measures that the Scottish Government might announce this week. Therefore, Mr Harvie’s view was not supported.

However, we have scheduled a small amount of time at the conclusion of Thursday’s business for Mr Harvie to air his concerns further and the Government will respond to that. As I am speaking particularly on behalf of the bureau and to the business motion, I will end there, Presiding Officer, except to note that the Scottish Government shares the concerns of others about the UK Government’s trade policy and will continue to express those concerns and press the UK Government to change tack.

However, the Trade Bill—and specifically those elements that we have been asked to consent to—is largely a technical bill that seeks to secure current trade agreements. As such, it is narrow in scope. The provisions in the bill for which the legislative consent of the Scottish Parliament is required will enable full implementation of rolled-over trade agreements, which Scotland has benefited from through European Union membership, and will avoid potential gaps in Scotland’s ability to access current and future procurement markets.

The Presiding Officer

Mr Harvie has noted his objections to the business motion but does not wish to press the matter to a vote.

Motion agreed to.