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Chamber and committees

Meeting date: Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Meeting of the Parliament 09 May 2017

Agenda: Time for Reflection, Business Motion, Topical Question Time, Forensic Examination, Literacy, Railway Policing (Scotland) Bill: Stage 1, Point of Order, Business Motion, Decision Time, Food Banks


Contents


Point of Order

Douglas Ross (Highlands and Islands) (Con)

On a point of order, Presiding Officer. As you are aware, I submitted an amendment to today’s Scottish National Party motion on the integration of the British Transport Police with Police Scotland, which you ultimately decided not to accept. I seek clarification of the Scottish Parliament guidance on reasoned amendments at stage 1. The guidance indicates that it is possible to lodge amendments that do not agree with the motion that the general principles of a bill be agreed to, but says that

“the Presiding Officer has indicated that amendments will only be selected .. if they are so worded that they cannot cast any doubt on ... the status of the Bill ... if the amended motion were agreed to.

The guidance appears to be ambiguous. What steps will be taken to ensure that that ambiguity is removed?

The Presiding Officer (Ken Macintosh)

I thank the member for giving me advance notice of the point of order.

The matter was raised at the Parliamentary Bureau this morning and I am happy to share the point that I made with all members. The member is correct that the guidance indicates that it is possible to lodge reasoned amendments to stage 1 motions that seek to give reasons for not supporting a bill. However, having reflected on the issue, I have taken the view that reasoned amendments of the type that the member lodged could cast some doubt over the Parliament’s decisions on such matters at stage 1. I have decided that the guidance will be updated accordingly during the summer recess to make the position clearer.

We are talking about guidance, and decisions on the selection of amendments are for the Presiding Officer. However, I wanted to make clear what my decisions will be from now until the guidance is updated.

I do not know whether it will be of some consolation to the member but I note that during the debate he was able to make the point that he made in his amendment. In addition, admissible amendments are all printed in the Business Bulletin—they are published daily—and he will not be prevented from objecting to the bill at stage 1 at decision time tonight, to which we will come shortly.