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Chamber and committees

Meeting date: Thursday, March 14, 2019

Meeting of the Parliament 14 March 2019

Agenda: General Question Time, First Minister’s Question Time, Longhope Lifeboat Disaster (50th Anniversary), Portfolio Question Time, Brexit (Impact on Further and Higher Education), Space Nation, Parliamentary Bureau Motion, Point of Order, Decision Time, Correction


Point of Order

The Presiding Officer (Ken Macintosh)

I believe that Keith Brown wants to raise a point of order.

Keith Brown (Clackmannanshire and Dunblane) (SNP)

I wish to raise a point of order on what, I believe, was a false statement that was made by James Kelly today during First Minister’s question time. He stated that the budget that was recently agreed by the Parliament has resulted in, among other alleged results, the ending of support for the citizens advice bureau in Clackmannanshire. I have had it confirmed that Clackmannanshire Council has provided exactly the same funding in this year’s budget as it did last year. I am also aware that the leader of Clackmannanshire Council has written to James Kelly to confirm those facts, and that the manager of the citizens advice bureau in Clackmannanshire has written to the council to thank it for its support.

There can be only two possible explanations for James Kelly’s statement. The first is that, in his research, he displayed the same contempt for the facts that he, his party leader and his party have demonstrated at every budget—no facts, no proposals, no effort and no credibility. The second possibility is that he made the statement in full knowledge of the facts merely to scare voters in my constituency, many of whom will vote in a council by-election in a fortnight. Those can be the only explanations for previous statements that have been made by James Kelly and, indeed, by Richard Leonard, in asserting that the council proposed to close two schools—two schools that remain open.

Presiding Officer, I would be grateful for your ruling. I respectfully request that James Kelly be given the opportunity to correct the record in the same public forum that he made his false statement: this chamber. He should confirm which of the two explanations caused him to make the statement, offer an unreserved apology for getting his facts so spectacularly wrong, and apologise to my constituents, whom he has needlessly made apprehensive through his deplorable statement that the excellent and vital services that Clackmannanshire Council’s citizens advice bureau provides might be jeopardised. It would appear that he made the statement for mere party-political advantage.

The Presiding Officer

I thank Keith Brown for giving me advance notice that he intended to raise a point of order. I am sure that James Kelly will have heard Keith Brown’s remarks. James Kelly is aware—as all members are—that, if any member believes that a statement is inaccurate, a mechanism exists to correct the record.