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Chamber and committees

Meeting date: Thursday, June 14, 2018

Meeting of the Parliament 14 June 2018

Agenda: General Question Time, One Minute’s Silence, First Minister’s Question Time, Mossmorran Flaring, Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body Question Time, Human Trafficking (Annual Progress Report), National Council of Rural Advisers, Sexual Harassment and Inappropriate Conduct Inquiry, Point of Order, Decision Time


Contents


Point of Order

Neil Findlay (Lothian) (Lab)

On a point of order, Presiding Officer. Today, before First Minister’s questions, as is customary, we were asked to welcome a guest to the chamber: Andriy Parubiy, the speaker of the Ukrainian Parliament. Mr Parubiy was a founding member of the Social-National Party of Ukraine—a far right fascist party. It based its formation on Hitler’s Nazis and it accepted only ethnic Ukrainians as members. It was a party that practised social nationalism and used Nazi symbols to promote its ideology. It merged with other nationalist parties to form the Svoboda party, said by the European Union to be a racist party, and he controlled that far-right organisation’s paramilitary wing.

Presiding Officer, can you advise whether someone researches and vets those who come here as guests? Has any thought gone into providing members with information on who we are being invited to acknowledge, prior to your invitation to us to welcome them? Have any politicians or foreign dignitaries who have sought to come to the Parliament been refused? Will you look at the processes around the invitation and reception of guests so that members know who they are being asked to welcome into this democratic institution?

The Presiding Officer (Ken Macintosh)

I thank Mr Findlay for letting me know in advance that he intended to raise a point of order. I note the comments that Mr Findlay has made, and he is able to pursue these matters though his business manager. However, I draw his and other members’ attention to the fact that it is my role as Presiding Officer to welcome speakers, heads of Government, commissioners and ambassadors to the Scottish Parliament on their behalf.

Neil Findlay

On a point of order, Presiding Officer. That is exactly the point. Members do not know who they are being asked to acknowledge in the Parliament. This is a very dangerous precedent to set, because who knows who the next person to come through the door will be? We do not have prior knowledge of who these individuals are. We do not know and cannot research their history before the moment when you ask us to welcome them into this democratic institution. I would prefer to know it the next time I am invited to welcome a racist, fascist Nazi to the Parliament.

The Presiding Officer

I think that Mr Findlay has made his point. As far as I am aware—I will confirm this—members are informed, or it is certainly detailed in advance when we have visitors to the Parliament. I stress that, when we have a speaker representing another Parliament or somebody representing another country, it is expected that we welcome them to the Parliament.