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Chamber and committees

Meeting date: Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Meeting of the Parliament (Hybrid) 15 June 2021 [Draft]

Agenda: Time for Reflection, Point of Order, Topical Question Time, Covid-19, Greenhouse Gas Emissions Statistics 2019, Women’s Health, Business Motion, Parliamentary Bureau Motions, Decision Time, Dr Gray’s Maternity Unit


Point of Order

Alex Cole-Hamilton (Edinburgh Western) (LD)

On a point of order, Presiding Officer. I seek your guidance under the terms of standing order 7.3.2, which covers the conduct of members in this chamber.

In the Scottish Government debate on Thursday, James Dornan stated his belief that the decision by Lothian Buses to suspend its services on the night of 17 March was motivated by sectarian prejudice against Irish Catholics on St Patrick’s day. Any Edinburgh member of the Scottish Parliament will tell you that Lothian Buses suspended its services on 17 March after its drivers had suffered many nights of sustained abuse and violent attacks, including repeated stoning. Its decision was motivated by a desire to protect its staff, and nothing more.

Had Mr Dornan’s remarks been made anywhere beyond the proceedings of this Parliament, they might have constituted defamation against Lothian Buses. They cannot be allowed to stand. What powers do you have to compel Mr Dornan to correct the record and apologise to Lothian Buses and this Parliament, Presiding Officer?

The Presiding Officer (Alison Johnstone)

I thank Alex Cole-Hamilton for the advance notice of his point of order.

Although the point of order mechanism has been used to raise questions about the accuracy of contributions, such questions are not, in fact, points of order. Members themselves are responsible for the accuracy of their contributions; that is not a matter for the chair to rule on.

As Alex Cole-Hamilton knows, if he believes that inaccurate information has been provided, a number of mechanisms are available to enable that to be brought to the attention of the member concerned and, if appropriate, to enable the record to be corrected.

I take this opportunity to remind members of their responsibilities as elected representatives and invite them to have regard to those responsibilities in their contributions. Members have a duty to conduct themselves in a courteous and respectful manner.