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Chamber and committees

Meeting date: Thursday, December 10, 2020

Meeting of the Parliament (Hybrid) 10 December 2020

Agenda: First Minister's Question Time, Portfolio Question Time, Scottish General Election (Coronavirus) Bill: Stage 1, Business Motion, Forensic Medical Services (Victims of Sexual Offences) (Scotland) Bill: Stage 3, Forensic Medical Services (Victims of Sexual Offences) (Scotland) Bill, Scottish General Election (Coronavirus) Bill: Financial Resolution, Business Motions, Decision Time


Contents


Forensic Medical Services (Victims of Sexual Offences) (Scotland) Bill: Stage 3

The Presiding Officer (Ken Macintosh)

The next item of business is stage 3 proceedings on the Forensic Medical Services (Victims of Sexual Offences) (Scotland) Bill. In dealing with the amendments, members should have the marshalled list and the groupings of amendments.

I remind members that the division bell will sound and proceedings will be suspended for five minutes for the first division of the afternoon. The period of voting for each division will be up to one minute. Members who wish to speak in the debate on a group of amendments should press their request-to-speak buttons as soon as possible after I call the group. Members should now turn to the marshalled list of amendments.

Section 2—The examination service

The Presiding Officer

Group 1 is titled “Self-referral age and support for under 16s undergoing forensic medical examination: reports on exercise of power to change age for self-referral and pilot scheme”. Amendment 1, in the name of Margaret Mitchell, is grouped with amendment 7.

Margaret Mitchell (Central Scotland) (Con)

Amendments 1 and 7 relate to the provision of support for children in the 13-to-15 age group. At the outset, I thank the cabinet secretary and her officials for taking the time to meet me yesterday to listen to why I lodged the amendments, and for the extremely worthwhile discussion that took place.

By way of background, I note that I lodged the amendments taking into account the welcome Scottish Government amendment at stage 2 that provided an ability to include the age group in the bill’s provisions for self-referral for forensic medical examination at some point in the future. The two amendments in group 1 are therefore different from the ones that I lodged at stage 2.

I lodged amendments 1 and 7 having listened carefully to the comments that the cabinet secretary made at stage 2, when it became clear that the Scottish Government has extensive work in progress in the form of the development, in partnership with the chief medical officer’s task force, of the children and young people’s clinical pathway.

The aim of the CYP clinical pathway is to ensure that there is a consistent national approach to the provision of child-centred, trauma-informed healthcare and forensic medical examination following a concern being raised or disclosure of sexual abuse. In addition, other barnahus work is being undertaken and a child protection consultation is under way. I welcome that and pay tribute to the Government for getting to this stage and for the extensive and very positive work.

My amendments do not cut across or hinder that on-going work. Rather, they provide a mechanism by which we can keep the issues to the forefront and future-proof the bill, especially given that it has come at the end of the current parliamentary session.

Amendment 1 will require the Scottish ministers to publish a statement annually on whether they will produce regulations, as per section 2(3A), to change the age of self-referral. In addition, ministers must outline what support is being or will be provided to a person aged under 16 who has been referred by a constable for a forensic medical examination. The aim of the amendment is to ensure that ministers regularly consider the age of self-referral and that consideration is given not only to the lowering of the age but to the support that will be provided to those under-16s who undergo a forensic medical examination as a result of any change. I thank the cabinet secretary for the confirmation that she is minded to support that amendment.

16:30  

Amendment 7 gives ministers the power to introduce a pilot scheme whereby those 13 to 15-year-olds can self-refer for a forensic medical examination and details that certain arrangements are to be made for children and young people as part of a pilot scheme. It is important to put the amendment in the very sobering context in which it has been lodged. We know that child sexual abuse has increased dramatically during lockdown, as, sadly, there have been greater opportunities for child sex abuse in the home. Reporting such abuse has always been difficult, but it has been even more difficult during the pandemic period, as opportunities for disclosure have been fewer. The acknowledgement of the need to create a safe space is crucial in order to give those children who have been sexually abused the confidence to disclose.

Self-referral offers another mechanism by which a young person can disclose and, even more importantly, can access the health and mental health care that they need. A lack of access to physical and mental health care can have a devastating impact on a survivor’s life, often causing them to use alcohol and drugs to self-medicate.

The amendment therefore includes certain arrangements that are to be included in a pilot scheme, such as assigning to a relevant child an appropriate adult who must meet with the relevant child as soon as is reasonably practicable after the forensic medical examination, as requested. They must also ensure, before the medical examination can begin, that the relevant child has been provided with information about any child protection procedures and health procedures that will be followed, and they must continue to co-ordinate support to the relevant child throughout any process that follows as a result of reported incidents. That includes co-ordinating support to the relevant child in any steps that are taken to meet the relevant child’s healthcare needs as a result of the reported incident. Those provisions provide the safe space that is necessary to encourage disclosure.

The level of detail in the amendment might appear—indeed, it is—prescriptive, but it is included deliberately to form a checklist for assessing how the various aspects of the clinical pathway, child protection and the barnahus approach are operating in relation to supporting children and young people who are the victims of child sexual abuse and other sexual offences.

If ministers arrange for a pilot scheme, they are required to lay before the Parliament a statement describing the scheme and how they intend to evaluate its outcomes. Once the pilot has ended, ministers must lay a report before Parliament setting out their findings and whether they intend to do anything regarding the age of self-referral. Alternatively—this is crucial—if ministers choose not to introduce a pilot scheme, they must explain to Parliament why they have chosen not to.

As I stated previously, I very much welcome the work that is going on in Scotland to ensure that children who are victims of childhood sexual abuse receive the support that they need through the clinical pathway and the barnahus approach that Scotland has ambitions for, as well as the work that is being done on related issues such as getting it right for every child, adverse childhood experiences and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.

However, without the creation of the safe space that is necessary to give 13 to 15-year-olds the confidence to disclose, the problem of the fear of reporting sexual abuse will continue. As a consequence, those vulnerable young people will not have the access to the health and medical care that they need and deserve.

I move amendment 1.

Donald Cameron (Highlands and Islands) (Con)

I have little to add to what Margaret Mitchell has just said. Amendment 1 places a duty on the Government to consider annually the question of the age of self-referral. Everyone who has discussed the issue of age in this regard, either in committee or in the chamber, will be cognisant of what a difficult issue it is. In my view, the amendment would allow the Government to consider that difficult issue regularly, and I hope that the Government will support the amendment.

The only point that I wish to add about amendment 7 is that it would simply give ministers the power to introduce a pilot scheme if they chose to do so. There would be no obligation to do so—it would not be mandatory—despite the prescriptive terms of the scheme, to which Margaret Mitchell alluded. Ultimately, the amendment would give ministers a choice—the scheme would be optional. For those reasons, it seems eminently reasonable. It offers a practical solution to the Government in allowing it to trial such a scheme if it wishes to do so.

I hope that members will support both amendments.

The Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport (Jeane Freeman)

There has been considerable interest in the parliamentary process to date on the minimum age for self-referral. The final draft of the bill will state that the minimum age is 16, in line with current practice, but a delegated power was added at stage 2 to allow the minimum age to be varied in the future by regulations if that becomes justified in the light of future changes to guidance, practice or legislation.

I am very grateful to Margaret Mitchell for meeting me yesterday to discuss and explain her amendments. I listened carefully to what she said then and what she said today. I thank her and recognise her interest, which has been long standing, in supporting child victims in the stage 2 proceedings, at yesterday’s meeting and in the chamber today. Too few child victims disclose abuse, and I know that Ms Mitchell and I share a desire to tackle that issue.

Against that background, I am pleased to support amendment 1. However, having considered the matter carefully, I cannot support amendment 7. It would be disproportionate to have a pilot scheme that offered self-referral for forensic medical examination to a child or young person under 16, as that would be at odds with existing child protection guidance, which healthcare professionals need to follow in all cases of child sexual abuse. I also worry that operating a pilot scheme in just one part of the country could unintentionally confuse young people and the multi-agency professionals supporting them about what services were available to them. That could add to the difficulty of the situation that the young person already faced.

In yesterday’s meeting, my officials and I explained that the children and young people clinical pathway, which was published by the chief medical officer’s task force last month, together with the revised national child protection guidance, which is currently out for public consultation, needs time to bed in. My view is that legislating to the level of detail that is proposed by amendment 7 would not deliver on the ambition.

We know that children and young people who have experienced sexual abuse can face many complex barriers to disclosure, and work is taking place across Government to address those barriers. I urge any member or stakeholder with an interest in the field to be mindful of the difficult balance to be struck between a young person’s autonomy and the need to protect them and to respond to the revised child protection guidance consultation.

At stage 2, we debated different amendments that Margaret Mitchell had lodged. In opposing those amendments, I undertook to give thought to how we could further support the national health service to implement the new clinical pathway for children and young people, including through the provision of on-going care and support for children and families to aid recovery. I can now let members know that an additional £0.5 million has been provided to improve the NHS response to child sexual abuse through the development of child and family support workers across Scotland and to support the implementation of the children and young people clinical pathway. The total funding of £0.5 million includes £0.1 million that has already been allocated to the west of Scotland region to test the child and family support worker model. Learning from that will inform how services will develop across the rest of the country.

I give a commitment to ensure that each of the matters that are prescribed in amendment 7 is given due consideration by the Government and the task force in the implementation of the bill, should Parliament pass it at decision time.

I have confirmed my support for amendment 1. I invite Margaret Mitchell not to press amendment 7 in the light of our meeting yesterday and what I have announced and committed to today.

Margaret Mitchell

I welcome the additional funding that the minister has announced. I make it quite clear that, although the Government would be under no obligation whatsoever to introduce the pilot, it would most certainly be under an obligation to address all the issues in the pilot as a checklist to see how much progress had been made with the pathway and whether the crucial issue of underreporting was being addressed adequately—and, if it was not, whether other measures in the pilot could be used to address that. The amendment would make sure that the Government would have to report to Parliament why those measures were either not necessary or inappropriate.

The cabinet secretary and I clearly both share the same objective that the legislation should do the very best that it can to protect vulnerable children. However, my concern is about ensuring that those issues continue to be considered by the Scottish Government—whatever its political persuasion—in succeeding years and that underreporting and the resulting gap in mental health and health provision for young people is kept in view.

Amendment 7 contains measures that could be considered in order to put in place a safe space for 13 to 15-year-olds that would give them the confidence to disclose sexual abuse. It would ensure that that discussion took place, meaning there would be a much greater chance that those 13 to 15-year-olds would access the healthcare that they needed. Early intervention would help them to turn their lives around early on.

That is why, in case there is even the slightest chance that amendment 7 could be passed, I will press it.

The Presiding Officer

We will come to amendment 7 shortly.

Amendment 1 agreed to.

Section 4—Information to be provided for examination

The Presiding Officer

Group 2 is on cases where only preliminary evidence gathering takes place. Amendment 2, in the name of the cabinet secretary, is grouped with amendments 3, 4, 5, 12, 13, 14 and 15. I call the cabinet secretary to move amendment 2, and to speak to all the amendments in the group.

Jeane Freeman

Group 2 concerns preliminary evidence gathering, which is sometimes referred to as early evidence taking. Early evidence can be crucial, since urine, blood or hair clippings that are taken properly ahead of a forensic medical examination might demonstrate that a victim was, for example, so intoxicated that they could not have consented to sexual activity. Victims have a fundamental right to determine what aspects, if any, of a full forensic medical examination proceed. Early evidence might be particularly important to any future criminal investigation.

A number of sections in the bill refer to

“the need for the examination”;

to examinations being “carried out”, or to a person undergoing or a person who underwent an examination. Therefore, references to a forensic medical examination having been carried out would potentially read as requiring a full physical examination.

To support the early evidence practices that are mentioned, amendment 15 adds additional interpretive provisions to the interpretation of section 13, including subsection (4), which will act as an interpretive clause to the references that are in sections 6, 7, 8 and 9 of the bill. When an individual is referred for, or requests, forensic medical examination, but the physical examination does not go ahead for whatever reason, the health boards can competently store evidence, and such evidence can be transferred to the police, if and when the victim so wishes.

Amendment 14 is consequential, and amendments 2 to 5 make related amendments to section 4 of the bill.

Lastly, amendments 12 and 13 address a minor inconsistency in section 12A—the new definition of evidence that was added at stage 2—so that references in all its subsections refer to things that are collected or created during, or in connection with, the examination.

I move amendment 2.

The Presiding Officer

No members have indicated that they wish to contribute on the group, so we will go straight to the question.

Amendment 2 agreed to.

The Presiding Officer

I call amendments 3 to 5 and invite the cabinet secretary to move those amendments en bloc.

Amendments 3 to 5 moved—[Jeane Freeman].

The Presiding Officer

Does any member object if I put all three questions en bloc?

Members: No.

Amendments 3 to 5 agreed to.

Section 5—Health care needs

The Presiding Officer

We turn to group 3, on the integration of bill functions with functions under the National Health Service (Scotland) Act 1978. Amendment 6, in the name of the cabinet secretary, is grouped with amendments 17 and 18.

16:45  

Jeane Freeman

Amendments 6 and 18 address the nuance that a health board’s duty to provide certain services under the National Health Service (Scotland) Act 1978 legal framework has a residency-based element, whereas the provision of health services under the bill should, at least for the immediate healthcare of forensic medical examination needs, be open to everyone that seeks them. That is in line with the existing duties that health boards have to provide accident and emergency treatment to people regardless of their residential status. It is appropriate that long-term healthcare needs, such as access to on-going psychological therapy or support, are addressed by the healthcare system of the place where the victim is ordinarily resident.

Amendment 6 will amend section 5(1) of the bill and amendment 18 will amend paragraph 2 of the schedule to the bill, which amends article 2(1) and 3 of the Functions of Health Boards (Scotland) Order 1991, so that the policy mentioned can be given effect to in the 1978 act’s legal framework. As the wording of amendment 18 specifically highlights, it is appropriate that a survivor who has accessed support under the bill can return

“at the request or on the recommendation of the”

relevant

“health board, for follow-up care”.

For example, that might be to check up on any injuries.

Amendment 17 makes final consequential amendments to the National Health Service (Scotland) Act 1978, which is sometimes known as the 1978 act. I flagged to the Health and Sport Committee in the course of stage 2 proceedings that technical amendments of this nature might be lodged at stage 3 so that existing NHS Scotland legislation dovetails with the bill’s provisions. Amendment 17 modifies sections 2(5), 2B, 10H and 17A of the 1978 act in consequence of the bill, and builds on modifications already contained in the bill

I move amendment 6.

The Presiding Officer

No member has indicated that they wish to contribute on amendments in group 3.

Amendment 6 agreed to.

After section 5

Amendment 7 moved—[Margaret Mitchell].

The Presiding Officer

The question is, that amendment 7 be agreed to. Are we agreed?

Members: No.

The Presiding Officer

This is the first division of the afternoon, so I suspend Parliament for five minutes to summon members to the chamber.

16:47 Meeting suspended.  16:59 On resuming—  

The Presiding Officer

I remind members that we are on group 3. We move to the vote on amendment 7, in the name of Margaret Mitchell. This will be a one-minute vote.

The vote is now closed. If any members believe that they were not able to exercise their vote, please let me know.

For

Baillie, Jackie (Dumbarton) (Lab)
Baker, Claire (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Lab)
Balfour, Jeremy (Lothian) (Con)
Ballantyne, Michelle (South Scotland) (Ind)
Beamish, Claudia (South Scotland) (Lab)
Bibby, Neil (West Scotland) (Lab)
Bowman, Bill (North East Scotland) (Con)
Boyack, Sarah (Lothian) (Lab)
Briggs, Miles (Lothian) (Con)
Burnett, Alexander (Aberdeenshire West) (Con)
Cameron, Donald (Highlands and Islands) (Con)
Carlaw, Jackson (Eastwood) (Con)
Carson, Finlay (Galloway and West Dumfries) (Con)
Cole-Hamilton, Alex (Edinburgh Western) (LD)
Corry, Maurice (West Scotland) (Con)
Davidson, Ruth (Edinburgh Central) (Con)
Fee, Mary (West Scotland) (Lab)
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)
Hamilton, Rachael (Ettrick, Roxburgh and Berwickshire) (Con)
Harris, Alison (Central Scotland) (Con)
Johnson, Daniel (Edinburgh Southern) (Lab)
Kelly, James (Glasgow) (Lab)
Kerr, Liam (North East Scotland) (Con)
Lamont, Johann (Glasgow) (Lab)
Lennon, Monica (Central Scotland) (Lab)
Leonard, Richard (Central Scotland) (Lab)
Lindhurst, Gordon (Lothian) (Con)
Lockhart, Dean (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Con)
Macdonald, Lewis (North East Scotland) (Lab)
Marra, Jenny (North East Scotland) (Lab)
Mason, Tom (North East Scotland) (Con)
McArthur, Liam (Orkney Islands) (LD)
McNeill, Pauline (Glasgow) (Lab)
Mitchell, Margaret (Central Scotland) (Con)
Mountain, Edward (Highlands and Islands) (Con)
Mundell, Oliver (Dumfriesshire) (Con)
Rennie, Willie (North East Fife) (LD)
Rowley, Alex (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Lab)
Rumbles, Mike (North East Scotland) (LD)
Sarwar, Anas (Glasgow) (Lab)
Scott, John (Ayr) (Con)
Simpson, Graham (Central Scotland) (Con)
Smith, Elaine (Central Scotland) (Lab)
Smith, Liz (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Con)
Smyth, Colin (South Scotland) (Lab)
Stewart, Alexander (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Con)
Stewart, David (Highlands and Islands) (Lab)
Tomkins, Adam (Glasgow) (Con)
Wells, Annie (Glasgow) (Con)
Whittle, Brian (South Scotland) (Con)
Wishart, Beatrice (Shetland Islands) (LD)

Against

Adam, George (Paisley) (SNP)
Adamson, Clare (Motherwell and Wishaw) (SNP)
Allan, Alasdair (Na h-Eileanan an Iar) (SNP)
Arthur, Tom (Renfrewshire South) (SNP)
Beattie, Colin (Midlothian North and Musselburgh) (SNP)
Brown, Keith (Clackmannanshire and Dunblane) (SNP)
Campbell, Aileen (Clydesdale) (SNP)
Coffey, Willie (Kilmarnock and Irvine Valley) (SNP)
Constance, Angela (Almond Valley) (SNP)
Crawford, Bruce (Stirling) (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)
Dornan, James (Glasgow Cathcart) (SNP)
Ewing, Annabelle (Cowdenbeath) (SNP)
Ewing, Fergus (Inverness and Nairn) (SNP)
Fabiani, Linda (East Kilbride) (SNP)
Finnie, John (Highlands and Islands) (Green)
FitzPatrick, Joe (Dundee City West) (SNP)
Forbes, Kate (Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch) (SNP)
Freeman, Jeane (Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley) (SNP)
Gibson, Kenneth (Cunninghame North) (SNP)
Gilruth, Jenny (Mid Fife and Glenrothes) (SNP)
Grahame, Christine (Midlothian South, Tweeddale and Lauderdale) (SNP)
Greer, Ross (West Scotland) (Green)
Harper, Emma (South Scotland) (SNP)
Harvie, Patrick (Glasgow) (Green)
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, Angus (Falkirk East) (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)
Martin, Gillian (Aberdeenshire East) (SNP)
Mason, John (Glasgow Shettleston) (SNP)
Matheson, Michael (Falkirk West) (SNP)
McAlpine, Joan (South Scotland) (SNP)
McDonald, Mark (Aberdeen Donside) (Ind)
McKee, Ivan (Glasgow Provan) (SNP)
McKelvie, Christina (Hamilton, Larkhall and Stonehouse) (SNP)
McMillan, Stuart (Greenock and Inverclyde) (SNP)
Neil, Alex (Airdrie and Shotts) (SNP)
Paterson, Gil (Clydebank and Milngavie) (SNP)
Robison, Shona (Dundee City East) (SNP)
Ross, Gail (Caithness, Sutherland and Ross) (SNP)
Ruskell, Mark (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Green)
Russell, Michael (Argyll and Bute) (SNP)
Somerville, Shirley-Anne (Dunfermline) (SNP)
Stevenson, Stewart (Banffshire and Buchan Coast) (SNP)
Stewart, Kevin (Aberdeen Central) (SNP)
Swinney, John (Perthshire North) (SNP)
Todd, Maree (Highlands and Islands) (SNP)
Torrance, David (Kirkcaldy) (SNP)
Watt, Maureen (Aberdeen South and North Kincardine) (SNP)
Wheelhouse, Paul (South Scotland) (SNP)
White, Sandra (Glasgow Kelvin) (SNP)
Wightman, Andy (Lothian) (Green)
Yousaf, Humza (Glasgow Pollok) (SNP)

The Presiding Officer

The result of the division is: For 58, Against 65, Abstentions 0.

Amendment 7 disagreed to.

Section 7—Return of certain items of evidence

The Presiding Officer

Group 4 is on minor amendments. Amendment 8, in the name of the cabinet secretary, is grouped with amendment 16.

Jeane Freeman

Amendment 8 ensures that the drafting of the bill accurately reflects the policy intention that dry evidence—in other words, non-sample evidence—would never be stored by health boards without, as an absolute minimum, some forensic notes also being taken. The wording in section 7(1) that refers to evidence that

“comprises or includes an item”

is therefore too wide. “Comprises” means the entirety of something so, where there will always be other evidence, the stored evidence will never comprise solely items of dry evidence. “Includes” is therefore sufficient on its own, which is why amendment 8 removes the words “comprises or” from section 7(1).

Amendment 16 amends section 15(1) so that section 12A, on the new definition of “evidence”, which was added at stage 2, is included in the sections of the bill that will come into force automatically on the day after royal assent. That reflects the fact that the substance of section 12A was previously contained in section 13, which has always been listed in section 15(1) as a section that will commence automatically. It is standard that the interpretative provisions in bills commence automatically.

I move amendment 8.

Amendment 8 agreed to.

Section 9—Transfer of evidence to police

The Presiding Officer

Group 5 is on the self-referral forensic medical examination of persons below self-referral age. Amendment 9, in the name of the cabinet secretary, is grouped with amendment 10.

Jeane Freeman

We debated the minimum age for accessing self-referral examinations in the first group of amendments. The amendments in this group seek to address a scenario that could arise, irrespective of the minimum age. First, I emphasise that the Government does not envisage that such a situation should arise often or, indeed, at all, given that there are no indications that the situation has arisen in existing self-referral services in Scotland or the rest of the United Kingdom. However, a self-referral examination might be offered in good faith to a young person who was thought to be of or over the minimum age, but it might later transpire that they were under the minimum age at the point of examination.

As members of the Health and Sport Committee will know, forensic medical examination is time critical and the DNA-capture window is only seven days. The requirements of trauma-informed care, which are now enshrined more prominently in the bill, also align with the Healthcare Improvement Scotland standard that examinations should take place within three hours of a referral for an examination being received.

Very often it will be swift and straightforward for a health board to determine from their NHS Scotland records the age of a young person who is seeking to self-refer. However, I cannot discount that there could be rare cases in which it is not so straightforward—for example, those that involve a trafficked young person. Those are not entirely new scenarios in the forensic medical examination context or otherwise.

The bill recognises that experienced paediatric and other clinicians can be trusted to exercise appropriate professional judgment in difficult cases. However, the new clinical pathway for children and young people who might have experienced sexual abuse, which was published in November this year, will be updated ahead of the commencement of the bill’s self-referral provisions to provide further, specific guidance on that point in the context of the new child protection guidance that is currently out for consultation.

The self-referral protocol that is being developed by the chief medical officer’s task force—it will be submitted to the Lord Advocate for his approval prior to publication—will also provide guidance for clinicians on what to do in those rare scenarios.

Against that background, amendments 9 and 10 clarify the bill’s position when a child who is reasonably believed to be of or above the minimum age for accessing self-referral accesses one, but it later transpires that the child’s true age is under the minimum age.

Amendment 10, which is the main amendment, creates a new section in the bill to provide that when there has been an incorrect self-referral things that have been done by the health board remain legally valid pending expeditious collection of any evidence by the police in line with established practice. That should ensure that any evidence that is taken by a health board in those circumstances is admissible in any criminal proceedings.

In consequence, new subsection (3) disapplies sections 7 and 8 of the bill, including the duty on the health board to destroy evidence at the end of the retention period that is set under section 8, given that the police would seek the transfer of evidence on those who are under the minimum age for self-referral.

New subsection (4) clarifies what is to happen if a victim is seeking to exercise their rights under sections 7 and 8 at the time that their true age is discovered. For example, a victim who is entitled to self-refer has the right to request that certain items of evidence that have been provided by them be returned. They also have the right to request that such items be destroyed if they do not wish to make a police report. Unless it has done so before the true age has been discovered, a health board will not be required to act on those requests.

Amendment 9, which is consequential, adds a new subparagraph into section 9(1) that applies the evidence transfer gateway in section 9 to incorrectly held evidence. The health board’s duty to report child sexual abuse is covered by existing child protection guidance and practice, and that will be emphasised in the self-referral protocol that I mentioned. That prompts the police to expeditiously collect any evidence of child sexual abuse.

I move amendment 9.

Amendment 9 agreed to.

After section 9A

Amendment 10 moved—[Jeane Freeman]—and agreed to.

The Presiding Officer

Group 6 is on victim support information and referrals. Amendment 11, in the name of the cabinet secretary, is grouped with amendments 19 to 27 and 29.

Jeane Freeman

This group has the most amendments in it. The amendments have a common core: improving the victim support information and referral provisions in the bill.

The Victims and Witnesses (Scotland) Act 2014 aims to put the interests of victims and witnesses at the heart of the modern justice system. It places duties on the police to provide victims with rights information and details of victim support services, which will already apply to police referral victims of offences because they have been in contact with the police.

We want to ensure that people who choose to self-refer under the bill have the same rights to have information provided to them as people who decide to make a police report. The relevant parts of the 2014 act do not legally apply to victims of harmful behaviour by a child who is under the age of criminal responsibility. For continued consistency with the 2014 act, the provisions in this group have the same legal application.

The bill as introduced makes provision in its schedule for relevant aspects of the 2014 act to be applied to all victims who access forensic medical services under the bill. The amendments in this group replace those provisions and aim to improve and clarify the bill’s approach to the 2014 act. I am pleased to confirm that the amendments in this group have been shared in draft and approved by Victim Support Scotland. The policy aim is to ensure that relevant rights from the 2014 act are available to all victims of offences, irrespective of whether they follow the police referral or self-referral route.

The key amendments in the group are amendments 11 and 27. Amendment 11 inserts in the bill a new section, which is applicable to self-referring victims of offences. Rights to access the victims’ code for Scotland, victims’ rights information and referral to victim support services are made available via the health board to which the victim has self-referred. Those rights are equivalent to those in sections 3C and 3D of the 2014 act that apply to victims who are referred by the police.

Amendments 19 to 26 are consequential on amendment 11. They each amend paragraph 3 to the schedule, which amends the relevant provisions of the Patient Rights (Scotland) Act 2011 so that patient rights principles will apply to health boards when they discharge the new obligations that are created by amendment 11. Because victims who access services under the bill are both patients and victims, it is appropriate that they receive all the relevant rights under both the 2011 and the 2014 acts.

The principal function of amendment 27 is to add a new section 8A into the 2014 act. It is applicable to police referral victims and supplements the provisions of sections 3C and 3D of that act by ensuring that the police inform any victims that they are referring that they can also request victims’ rights information from the health board.

Amendment 27 also removes subparagraphs 4(2) and 4(3) of the schedule to the bill. Those are the former provisions that this group of amendments replaces.

Amendment 29 is consequential on amendment 27. It adds a final subparagraph 4(5) to the schedule, amending section 29A(1) of the 2014 act to reference new section 8A, and therefore ensuring that functions under that section are, where the victim is a child, exercised in the same ways as other functions under the 2014 act.

I move amendment 11.

Amendment 11 agreed to.

The Presiding Officer

If no member objects, I will take amendments 12 to 27 en bloc.

Section 12A—Meaning of references to “evidence”

Amendments 12 to 14 moved—[Jeane Freeman]—and agreed to.

Section 13—Interpretation

Amendment 15 moved—[Jeane Freeman]—and agreed to.

Section 15—Commencement

Amendment 16 moved—[Jeane Freeman]—and agreed to.

Schedule

Amendments 17 to 27 moved—[Jeane Freeman]—and agreed to.

The Presiding Officer

Group 7 is on requests as to persons by whom the forensic medical examination is carried out. Amendment 28 in the name of Johann Lamont is the only amendment in the group.

Johann Lamont (Glasgow) (Lab)

We all know that this is important legislation for all victims of sexual violence and we recognise that that continues to be a crime that is perpetrated overwhelmingly by men on women. The legislation seeks to take practical steps that will be trauma-informed and will allow victims of sexual violence to take back control and to have the power of consent, following horrific experiences in which they have been denied both.

To give some context to the consideration of amendment 28, I have a long-term interest in this field. I sat through the stage 1 debate and cannot overstate the impact that it had on me. I was moved and affected by the quality of the cross-party agreement, the powerful speeches and the substantial nature of the recommendations.

Committee members spoke about the courage of survivors who had given evidence at a meeting facilitated by Rape Crisis Scotland. It was evident that those survivors had had a huge impact on members. I have no doubt that their testimony shaped the committee’s thinking and its thoughtful recommendations.

Amendment 28 seeks to give force to the recommendation agreed unanimously by the committee, which says:

“We consider the definition of gender could be ambiguous in the bill, which has the potential to cause distress to individuals undergoing forensic medical examination. We recommend the bill be amended to guarantee an individual’s right to choose the sex of the examiner.”

No one spoke out against the recommendation during the stage 1 debate; a number of people spoke explicitly in its favour. No group or organisation spoke against the stage 1 report or any of its recommendations when it was published in September, or when it was debated on 1 October. Amendment 28 therefore simply reflects a recommendation in a stage 1 report that was thoughtfully considered. At that point, it did not seem to be problematic and there was no evidence that people had concerns.

17:15  

To be clear, if members do not agree that women survivors of violence and rape should be able to ask for a woman examiner, they should say so, and we can have that debate. However, members should be clear that, as Rape Crisis Scotland said, that is what women survivors explicitly sought. If members agree, we should do all that we can to make that wish a reality.

Those who are now expressing concern about the amendment make a number of points, and I want to address those. I will, of course, take the opportunity to address further points as they are raised.

First, the point has been made that there are not enough female examiners, so the amendment is meaningless. However, to argue that is to argue that the provision is meaningless, not the wording. If the provision is meaningless, the logical position would be to argue for its deletion instead of resisting a change in wording. What a counsel of despair! Are we simply to give up because we do not have enough examiners? Survivors of abuse are not fools—of course they are not. The legislation can and should drive change, translating a real difference in provision through workforce planning and spending. Is that not why we, as legislators, are here?

Secondly, we are told that there is no reason to change because the words “sex” and “gender” are interchangeable. If they are interchangeable, why resist an amendment that uses a term that is defined in law? If it does not matter, why fear clarity?

Of course, these terms are no longer interchangeable, as I have come to realise. How do I know? I know because, in various statements, Fiona Hyslop, a Government minister, has said that we would not conflate sex and gender. Shirley-Anne Somerville, a Government minister, has said that we should not conflate sex and gender. Humza Yousaf, a Government minister, has said that we should not conflate sex and gender. Among other groups, Engender, Rape Crisis Scotland and Zero Tolerance have, at various points in recent times, sought definitions of gender that are explicitly not interchangeable with the word “sex”, a word that is defined in the Equality Act 2010.

In giving people rights, in giving women victims of rape and sexual assault rights, and in giving all survivors of sexual violence rights, we need to be precise. Sex is defined in law; gender is not. A right is not a right if it is unenforceable. We owe it to survivors to listen to them and to treat them with respect.

In summary, survivors showed great courage in shaping the bill. The committee showed great integrity in responding to the evidence and unanimously agreed the recommendations, to which this simple amendment responds. There is a direct, traceable and powerful course from the testimony of survivors to our decision on the amendment here and now. I could put it no clearer than the statement of one member of the committee, who said:

“I feel a sense of grave responsibility, not only to speak to ensure that the bill fully serves its purpose, but also to use this platform to give voice to those who have been silenced for so long.”—[Official Report, 1 October 2020; c 59.]

That is our challenge now. If we applaud survivors for their courage, if we are moved by their testimony, it is our responsibility and duty to respond. It is what we are for, and I trust that members will agree and vote for my amendment.

I move amendment 28.

Sandra White (Glasgow Kelvin) (SNP)

I thank Johann Lamont for lodging the amendment. The bill is important. Yes, it is emotional, but it is also really important for the survivors of sexual abuse.

I go by the evidence that those courageous women gave us. I also go by the evidence that the committee took from organisations. As Johann Lamont said, the committee unanimously supported the recommendation at stage 1.

I also raised the issue at stage 2, and was comforted by the cabinet secretary’s words to me and to the committee that, if a woman asked for a female examiner, they would get a female examiner.

The ability to ask for a female examiner, a female doctor or a female nurse was one of the top priorities for the survivors who gave evidence. We heard very emotional contributions from the survivors. They felt uncomfortable—they were in trauma—about being examined by a male doctor, and that examination traumatised them further.

I thank Johann Lamont for introducing amendment 28, which could perhaps be described as a technical amendment. I support the amendment. The debate and the bill are far too important for us not to support the amendment.

Donald Cameron (Highlands and Islands) (Con)

The Scottish Conservatives will be supporting amendment 28. As others have said, we believe that the views of the Health and Sport Committee on the issue are important. The committee unanimously recommended that

“the Bill be amended to guarantee an individual’s right to choose the sex of the examiner”,

in preference to the word “gender”.

Of course, that does not necessarily mean that female victims will get to see a female forensic medical examiner, because there are staffing issues, which the Government needs to address urgently.

There is plainly a wider on-going, important debate about rights of gender and rights of sex. In my view, that is not what we are debating. The issue here is specific. If ever there was a practical example of an instance when the word “sex” should be preferred over “gender”, this is it. The time at which a victim of sexual assault requires a forensic medical examination is likely to be a moment of deep trauma and needs handling with great sensitivity. At that point, and in those specific circumstances, we believe that the choice requires to be one of sex and not gender.

There is one other issue to reflect on—it is a legal issue—which Johann Lamont mentioned. The Equality Act 2010, which is 10 years old this year, is the place where all protections against unlawful discrimination are located. The legislation uses the word “sex”, and it has a legal definition. Again, there is an important debate to be had about that and about whether the list of protected characteristics needs to be updated. However, that, too, is not for now.

For those reasons, and for the powerful and compelling arguments made by Johann Lamont, we will be supporting amendment 28.

Monica Lennon (Central Scotland) (Lab)

I strongly welcome the bill and pay tribute to Rape Crisis Scotland and other women’s campaigners who have campaigned for years to bring about the legislation.

On amendment 28, I fully support the principle that survivors of sexual violence should not just have the right to request a female medical examiner in the aftermath of a sexual assault, but should have that right realised in practice. However, it would be misleading to give anyone the impression that the amendment and the passing of the bill in themselves will ensure that survivors get timely access to a female forensic examiner.

It is a sad fact that the bill, by itself, will not lead to a material change in circumstances for many survivors. As we have heard, there are simply not enough female examiners in the profession to meet the demand. Therefore, beyond the bill, our collective focus must be on increasing the representation of women forensic examiners.

Like many MSPs, I have received correspondence over the past few days asking me to support amendment 28. Although much of the content of those emails is genuine and sincere, unfortunately, some of the emails are blatantly hostile towards trans women and the trans community. That is troubling, as is some of the narrative, abuse and trolling that I have seen on social media. Clearly there are some people who want to exclude trans women from working with women and girls who have disclosed rape or sexual assault.

Some people believe that amendment 28, which would replace the word “gender” with the word “sex”, will help to achieve that. They are of the view that such an amendment would prevent trans women from carrying out such examinations. However, that is not correct because, by law, a trans woman who holds a gender recognition certificate is legally of the female sex.

Johann Lamont is correct to say that clarity is important. I, too, believe that it is important that any misinterpretation should be cleared up. I hope that all members will take the opportunity to assist with that process and to condemn any unacceptable abuse that they might see being expressed towards Rape Crisis Scotland and others. In its recent statements, Rape Crisis Scotland has simply said—correctly—that, by itself, amendment 28 will make no practical difference.

Finally, I again put on record my thanks for the work done by all staff and volunteers at Rape Crisis Scotland. The online abuse that I have seen being targeted towards it in recent days is unacceptable. There must be zero tolerance of that, and we should all call it out. It is thanks to that organisation’s work over many years that we have the bill that is before us, which will help many survivors of sexual violence.

I commend the Scottish Government for introducing the bill. I look forward to working with ministers on a strategy to address the underrepresentation of female forensic examiners and to work towards the eradication of gender-based violence towards all women and girls. I look forward to the bill being passed tonight and to us all focusing collectively on supporting survivors through our words and our deeds.

Andy Wightman (Lothian) (Green)

The debate is about the victims of very serious crimes—some of the most heinous crimes that can be committed against a person. As Rape Crisis Scotland has stated,

“The feedback that we have from survivors is that the most important issue is access to a female doctor. The lack of access to a female doctor is what causes the most trauma.”

I have thought long and hard about that, and here I speak in my own capacity. Victims of crime have told me directly how important it is that they should have access to a female examiner. I thank them sincerely for sharing their experiences with me. Their importance is beyond any doubt.

After considering the terms of amendment 28 earlier in this extremely busy week, I came to the view that the statutory interpretation of section 9 of the bill that became the 2014 act was clear. That is because the intention of the stage 2 amendment lodged by the then Cabinet Secretary for Justice, Kenny MacAskill, was to do precisely what Scottish Women’s Aid and Rape Crisis Scotland wanted at that time, which was to ensure that female survivors of such offences should be able to request a female doctor.

That followed a debate on what would become section 8 of the 2014 act, on the right not only to request to be interviewed but actually to be interviewed by a female interviewer. That provision was passed in order to implement European Union directive 2012/29, dated 25 October 2012, which established minimum standards on the rights of, support for and protection of victims of crime. Article 23(2)(d) of that directive states that

“measures shall be available”

that include

“all interviews with victims of sexual violence, gender-based violence or violence in close relationships, unless conducted by a prosecutor or a judge, being conducted by a person of the same sex as the victim, if the victim so wishes, provided that the course of the criminal proceedings will not be prejudiced.”

What became section 9 of the 2014 act was agreed as an extension to the then section 8 provisions. I am therefore not convinced that it is necessary to make any amendments to the 2014 act to secure its principal purpose of ensuring that victims have some say in the sex of their examiner and of their interviewer. The conflation of sex and gender in that context is not, in my view, particularly problematic: it is clear that the intention behind the 2014 act, and principally its sections 8 and 9, was indeed to provide access to a female doctor where a female victim requested it. To the extent that the courts will always interpret legislation in line with the intentions of Parliament, I think that those are fairly clear from that act and from the EU directive.

However, I am concerned that the use of the term “gender” in the 2014 act might, in the future, be open to greater ambiguity as a result of contemporary debate about the rights of transgender people. “Gender” and “sex” are distinct terms, with different meanings, but they were not so regarded in 2013.

Latterly, I was inclined to support Johann Lamont’s amendment, as I thought that it might put to rest any legitimate doubts that might exist. However, I am concerned at the tone of some of the debate. I am concerned that there has been no scrutiny of amendment 28 and that, for many people, this seems to be a debate about anything other than the victims of sexual assault.

17:30  

In conclusion, I am concerned about the possibility of ambiguity; I invite the cabinet secretary to set out how that ambiguity might be resolved in future and whether the legislation that is already on the statute book needs to be clearer about the distinction in order to put any doubts to rest. With that, I will be voting against amendment 28.

Emma Harper (South Scotland) (SNP)

This is a very serious issue and access to a female examiner is extremely important. Work on that is on-going. The evidence that we heard in the committee was focused on promoting the best care for survivors of rape and sexual assault. We were focused on supporting all survivors of rape and sexual assault and on making forensic medical examination a process in which persons—mostly women—are supported in the best, most holistic way possible.

Currently, in the NHS Scotland patient rights charter, which is underpinned by the Patient Rights (Scotland) Act 2011, it states that persons already have the ability to express their preference about the gender of their medical practitioner. For the purposes of this bill, there has been a concerted effort by the NHS and the Scottish Government to increase the number of female forensic medical doctors and forensic medical nurses. There are now 118 forensic medical doctors and 70 per cent of them are female; 98 per cent of the forensic medical nurses are female. That training is on-going so that there are enough female forensic examiners.

When amendment 28 is passed—and I am sure that it will be, because words are very important and I know that there has been a lot of discussion about how we differentiate between gender and sex—I would like to seek some clarity that the law already exists that women have the right to express their preference over who attends, who examines or who interviews them. I will support amendment 28 and I would like to conclude by thanking everyone who participated in the bill process, including all the witnesses who contributed.

Jeane Freeman

As I have clarified at earlier stages of the bill, neither the word “gender” nor indeed the word “sex” appears in the bill. The reality is that changing the wording from “gender” to “sex” in section 9 of the Victims and Witnesses (Scotland) Act 2014 changes nothing about how the vital forensic medical services that the bill is about are delivered.

My focus and my energies are directed to dramatically improving the provision of those services and I will not be opposing the amendment. Should a woman be the victim of a sexual assault, she currently has the legal right to ask for a female examiner. That remains the case whether or not amendment 28 passes. All victims, irrespective of sex, gender identity or other characteristics, will be entitled under the bill to the same care and support. Importantly, further to a stage 2 amendment, the principle of trauma-informed care now has much greater prominence in the bill. The bill now specifically provides that health boards must seek “to avoid re-traumatisation”. Victims are no longer examined in police stations and the number of female sexual offence examiners on rotas has dramatically increased over the recent period.

However, we need to do much more and we need to go much further. In the second quarter of 2020, over 75 per cent of examinations were carried out by a female examiner and within the three-hour timeframe specified in national quality indicators. In nearly 90 per cent of cases, a forensically trained female nurse was present throughout the examination. I know that all members will welcome that progress, but the point about the bill that should not be lost is that it is about improving the situation even more.

It should be noted that the meaning of the terms “sex” and “gender” are not defined by the Victims and Witnesses (Scotland) Act 2014; the interpretation of those terms is already set out in law, including in the Equality Act 2010, which contains single-sex exemptions, whose use the Scottish Government has supported and continues to support where that is necessary and proportionate, such as in the case of forensic medical examinations. For that reason, changing the wording in the 2014 act makes no difference, as the amendment will not affect the operation of the underlying law or the already established rights of women to request a female examiner. For the same reason, whether amendment 28 is agreed to or not, that does not and indeed could not affect the rights of any other person who is involved in those vital services.

In establishing the Government’s position, I have of course consulted my cabinet secretary colleagues, most importantly Shirley-Anne Somerville, as the cabinet secretary responsible for equalities. We are of one mind, and we will not oppose amendment 28, because it does not and cannot change the existing and established law, rights and practice in the area, which we will uphold.

The Presiding Officer

I call Johann Lamont to wind up the debate and to say whether she wishes to press or withdraw amendment 28.

Johann Lamont

Obviously, I intend to press my amendment.

I thank the members who have contributed to the debate. My challenge to all members who have reservations about the amendment is that they have a responsibility to raise their concerns, so I appreciate those who have done so. I am more concerned about people who are not saying anything and who are not engaged in the debate but who at the same time are calling into question my motives and the motives of those who have asked me to take forward the amendment.

Alex Cole-Hamilton (Edinburgh Western) (LD)

I believe that Johann Lamont’s remarks are directed at me and my party. Our approach is in part down to the fact that we wanted to listen to the debate as it unfolded. However, I found Andy Wightman’s remarks and the range of propositions that he laid out compelling, so we will oppose the amendment.

Johann Lamont

I apologise—I actually quoted Alex Cole-Hamilton’s words in my speech at the beginning, because I found them so powerful. I was not talking about the Lib Dems—I recognise the pressure on time in the debate. However, I am concerned that there are people who will not engage in the argument, despite the seriousness of the issues. I make that as a more general point. Those people are content, away from the Parliament when we debate the issues, to make assertions and allegations that are simply not true.

No one in the Parliament or anywhere else pretends that the amendment will transform women’s lives; I wish that were true. I wish that by the stroke of a pen and by supporting the amendment, the pain of the women who spoke to the committee could be erased. Nobody pretends that any legislation on its own changes the world. However, our responsibility is not just to signal what we would like to happen but to will the means for it to happen. It is my profound belief that the amendment will make a difference, because it will shift us from saying that there are not enough female examiners to asking how we make sure that there are enough women examiners.

I will respond to my colleague and friend Monica Lennon. Forgive me if I focus on survivors. We should put at the centre the experience of survivors and ask what is right for traumatised women. They are not responsible for what people say on Twitter or Facebook or for those who choose to weaponise every single bit of politics that this country seeks to defend or argue. Those women—and men—are traumatised and over the years they have asked for things to change, as they have over time, and we should listen to them now.

If people want to debate the definition of what a man is and what a woman is, and if they want to look at the Equality Act 2010 and change it, I am more than happy to be party to that debate, but that is not the argument that we are having now. The bill deals with the current reality of what a woman is, what a man is and—oh my goodness—what abuse and violence are, and we owe it to survivors to reflect on that.

On the question of conflation, I have a huge amount of respect for Andy Wightman as someone who considers things in great detail. He made the point that the words “sex” and “gender” are no longer argued to be interchangeable terms in the way that they once were. I have already given evidence of that. What women need, what survivors need and what the law demands is clarity—not signals, but clarity.

Monica Lennon talked about the role of Rape Crisis Scotland. From the time when I was a young woman who began to understand what violence against women meant, I worked with and supported women who were far more courageous than me in establishing women’s aid refuges and rape crisis centres. We had to win the argument that it was right that those services should be provided only to women. It was not an easy argument, but we won it. We will find ourselves back in that argument if we are not prepared to say, as the Equality Act 2010 does, that there is the right to women-only spaces and women-only services, and that those will be protected.

Rape Crisis Scotland and rape crisis centres at local level have done immeasurable work to give voice to women. Those voices were heard in this debate. My contention is that in supporting amendment 28, which is only a small amendment, we are supporting the considered recommendation of a serious committee of this Parliament—a committee that heard the voices of survivors and insisted that there would be change. My amendment will not change everything, but it will give clarity on the right of survivors to ask, in their most traumatised moments, for support and for female examination, which might make that trauma a little less. I hope that colleagues in the chamber will support me in that regard.

The Presiding Officer

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

Members: No.

The Presiding Officer

There will be a division. Members may cast their votes now. It will be a one-minute division.

The vote is now closed. If any members had any difficulty, I ask them to please let me know.

Pauline McNeill (Glasgow) (Lab)

On a point of order, Presiding Officer. In the last few seconds, the voting app has told me that I have not voted, but I was not asked to vote. I would have voted for amendment 28.

The Presiding Officer

Thank you, Ms McNeill. Your vote was not recorded, but I will make sure that your vote—you voted for amendment 28—is added to the voting roll.

Graham Simpson, who joins us remotely, has a point of order.

Graham Simpson (Central Scotland) (Con)

Presiding Officer, I could not get connected. I would have voted for the amendment.

The Presiding Officer

Thank you, Mr Simpson. That is noted and you will be added to the voting roll.

For

Adam, George (Paisley) (SNP)
Adamson, Clare (Motherwell and Wishaw) (SNP)
Allan, Alasdair (Na h-Eileanan an Iar) (SNP)
Arthur, Tom (Renfrewshire South) (SNP)
Baillie, Jackie (Dumbarton) (Lab)
Baker, Claire (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Lab)
Balfour, Jeremy (Lothian) (Con)
Ballantyne, Michelle (South Scotland) (Ind)
Beamish, Claudia (South Scotland) (Lab)
Beattie, Colin (Midlothian North and Musselburgh) (SNP)
Bibby, Neil (West Scotland) (Lab)
Bowman, Bill (North East Scotland) (Con)
Boyack, Sarah (Lothian) (Lab)
Briggs, Miles (Lothian) (Con)
Brown, Keith (Clackmannanshire and Dunblane) (SNP)
Burnett, Alexander (Aberdeenshire West) (Con)
Cameron, Donald (Highlands and Islands) (Con)
Campbell, Aileen (Clydesdale) (SNP)
Carlaw, Jackson (Eastwood) (Con)
Carson, Finlay (Galloway and West Dumfries) (Con)
Chapman, Peter (North East Scotland) (Con)
Coffey, Willie (Kilmarnock and Irvine Valley) (SNP)
Constance, Angela (Almond Valley) (SNP)
Corry, Maurice (West Scotland) (Con)
Crawford, Bruce (Stirling) (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)
Dornan, James (Glasgow Cathcart) (SNP)
Ewing, Annabelle (Cowdenbeath) (SNP)
Ewing, Fergus (Inverness and Nairn) (SNP)
Fabiani, Linda (East Kilbride) (SNP)
Fee, Mary (West Scotland) (Lab)
Findlay, Neil (Lothian) (Lab)
FitzPatrick, Joe (Dundee City West) (SNP)
Forbes, Kate (Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch) (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)
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)
Hamilton, Rachael (Ettrick, Roxburgh and Berwickshire) (Con)
Harper, Emma (South Scotland) (SNP)
Harris, Alison (Central Scotland) (Con)
Haughey, Clare (Rutherglen) (SNP)
Hepburn, Jamie (Cumbernauld and Kilsyth) (SNP)
Hyslop, Fiona (Linlithgow) (SNP)
Johnson, Daniel (Edinburgh Southern) (Lab)
Kelly, James (Glasgow) (Lab)
Kerr, Liam (North East Scotland) (Con)
Kidd, Bill (Glasgow Anniesland) (SNP)
Lamont, Johann (Glasgow) (Lab)
Lennon, Monica (Central Scotland) (Lab)
Leonard, Richard (Central Scotland) (Lab)
Lindhurst, Gordon (Lothian) (Con)
Lochhead, Richard (Moray) (SNP)
Lockhart, Dean (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Con)
Lyle, Richard (Uddingston and Bellshill) (SNP)
MacDonald, Angus (Falkirk East) (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)
Marra, Jenny (North East Scotland) (Lab)
Martin, Gillian (Aberdeenshire East) (SNP)
Mason, John (Glasgow Shettleston) (SNP)
Mason, Tom (North East Scotland) (Con)
Matheson, Michael (Falkirk West) (SNP)
McAlpine, Joan (South Scotland) (SNP)
McDonald, Mark (Aberdeen Donside) (Ind)
McKee, Ivan (Glasgow Provan) (SNP)
McKelvie, Christina (Hamilton, Larkhall and Stonehouse) (SNP)
McMillan, Stuart (Greenock and Inverclyde) (SNP)
McNeill, Pauline (Glasgow) (Lab)
Mitchell, Margaret (Central Scotland) (Con)
Mountain, Edward (Highlands and Islands) (Con)
Mundell, Oliver (Dumfriesshire) (Con)
Neil, Alex (Airdrie and Shotts) (SNP)
Paterson, Gil (Clydebank and Milngavie) (SNP)
Robison, Shona (Dundee City East) (SNP)
Ross, Gail (Caithness, Sutherland and Ross) (SNP)
Rowley, Alex (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Lab)
Russell, Michael (Argyll and Bute) (SNP)
Sarwar, Anas (Glasgow) (Lab)
Scott, John (Ayr) (Con)
Simpson, Graham (Central Scotland) (Con)
Smith, Elaine (Central Scotland) (Lab)
Smith, Liz (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Con)
Smyth, Colin (South Scotland) (Lab)
Somerville, Shirley-Anne (Dunfermline) (SNP)
Stevenson, Stewart (Banffshire and Buchan Coast) (SNP)
Stewart, Alexander (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Con)
Stewart, David (Highlands and Islands) (Lab)
Stewart, Kevin (Aberdeen Central) (SNP)
Swinney, John (Perthshire North) (SNP)
Todd, Maree (Highlands and Islands) (SNP)
Tomkins, Adam (Glasgow) (Con)
Torrance, David (Kirkcaldy) (SNP)
Watt, Maureen (Aberdeen South and North Kincardine) (SNP)
Wells, Annie (Glasgow) (Con)
Wheelhouse, Paul (South Scotland) (SNP)
White, Sandra (Glasgow Kelvin) (SNP)
Whittle, Brian (South Scotland) (Con)
Yousaf, Humza (Glasgow Pollok) (SNP)

Against

Cole-Hamilton, Alex (Edinburgh Western) (LD)
Finnie, John (Highlands and Islands) (Green)
Greer, Ross (West Scotland) (Green)
Harvie, Patrick (Glasgow) (Green)
Rennie, Willie (North East Fife) (LD)
Rumbles, Mike (North East Scotland) (LD)
Ruskell, Mark (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Green)
Wightman, Andy (Lothian) (Green)
Wishart, Beatrice (Shetland Islands) (LD)

Abstentions

Grahame, Christine (Midlothian South, Tweeddale and Lauderdale) (SNP)

The Presiding Officer

The result of the division is: For 113, Against 9, Abstentions 1.

Amendment 28 agreed to.

Amendment 29 moved—[Jeane Freeman]—and agreed to.

The Presiding Officer

That ends consideration of amendments. At this point, as members will be aware, I have to decide whether, in my view, any provision of the bill relates to a protected subject matter—that is, whether it modifies the electoral system or franchise for Scottish parliamentary elections. In my view, no provision does that, so the bill does not need a supermajority to be passed at stage 3.

Before we move on to the next item of business, there will be a short pause. I urge all members to observe social distancing, wear their masks and observe the one-way systems in the rest of the building when leaving the chamber. Thank you.