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Chamber and committees

Meeting date: Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Meeting of the Parliament 07 February 2017

Agenda: Time for Reflection, Point of Order, Topical Question Time, Points of Order, Withdrawal from the European Union (Article 50), Scottish Public Services Ombudsman, Health Service Medical Supplies (Costs) Bill, Decision Time, Blackhillock to Kintore Transmission Line


Point of Order

Bruce Crawford (Stirling) (SNP)

On a point of order, Presiding Officer. Rule 7.3 of the standing orders says:

“Members shall at all times conduct themselves in a courteous and respectful manner”.

I seek your guidance on what in future will be considered to be acceptable parliamentary language and behaviour in the chamber. Are we on a slippery slope with regard to the respect that members show to other members when they address them in this chamber? Over the past couple of weeks, we have heard—I hesitate, out of respect to Patrick Harvie, to repeat it—the term “Patsy Harvie”, which Murdo Fraser used a couple of times when addressing a fellow member.

In future, will it be appropriate to address me, for instance, as “Crafty Crawford” or perhaps even—forgive me for using this language, which I do to make a point—“Crappy Crawford”? Are we on a slippery slope, whether positive or negative names are used? Should we not demonstrate appropriate parliamentary respect through the use of proper names, be they Murdo Fraser, Bruce Crawford or, indeed, Patrick Harvie? Presiding Officer, your guidance would be most appreciated, as we need to know what is deemed to be acceptable and unacceptable behaviour in this regard and where the line is to be drawn.

I think that you know my views in this regard.

The Presiding Officer (Ken Macintosh)

Thank you, Mr Crawford, and thank you for alerting me to your concerns about this matter. First, I reiterate that it is up to all of us to treat all members with the respect that they are due, which includes addressing members by their proper names. I believe that, for the specific incident to which Mr Crawford refers, the Presiding Officer in the chair at the time intervened appropriately the second time the name that Mr Crawford described was used. I hope that Mr Crawford is assured by that that we take such matters very seriously indeed.