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Chamber and committees

Meeting date: Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Meeting of the Parliament (Hybrid) 23 February 2021

Agenda: Time for Reflection, Point of Order, Business Motion, Covid-19, Point of Order, Business Motion, Heat Networks (Scotland) Bill: Stage 3, Heat Networks (Scotland) Bill, Decision Time, Scotland’s Railways


Point of Order

Neil Findlay (Lothian) (Lab)

On a point of order, Presiding Officer.

I reluctantly rise to make an urgent request. Last night, we saw publication by the Parliament of evidence that had been submitted to the Committee on the Scottish Government Handling of Harassment Complaints. That evidence has now been withdrawn at the insistence of the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service and the Lord Advocate, who is a member of the Government—the very Government that I presume he advised to pursue the original flawed court case that resulted in its collapsing and £1 million of public money being lost.

This is a crisis for the credibility of the Scottish Parliament. We, as members of the Scottish Parliament, and the public whom we represent, must hear from the Lord Advocate the reasons for that decision. We must make time today for that member of the Cabinet to come before us to answer urgent questions from members on this crisis of credibility, which cannot be allowed just to pass.

The Presiding Officer (Ken Macintosh)

I thank Mr Findlay for the point of order. I say for information that the decision was taken by the Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body and was not taken on the insistence of the Lord Advocate. The matter that the member raises—whether the Lord Advocate should come before the Parliament—is a matter for the Parliamentary Bureau to decide. I suggest that Neil Findlay put his suggestion to his business manager, who can raise it with the bureau.

Neil Findlay

On a point of order, Presiding Officer. As a follow-up to that, we need someone to come and explain to us what has happened, because members who do not sit on the Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body have no idea what has happened. Can we therefore have someone from the corporate body come here to take questions from members on the matter? We simply cannot allow the matter to pass without members interrogating the decision and finding out for themselves what happened, so that we can reply to the people in our constituencies who are asking the very same question.

The Presiding Officer

I suggest to Mr Findlay that if he has questions for the SPCB, he can raise them by writing directly to me or to other members of the corporate body. As with any other body in the Parliament, such as committees, members elect members to the SPCB and entrust them to make decisions on their behalf. The corporate body will share information with members when it is fit and proper for it to do so and when it can. That is the trust that we give to every other committee of the Parliament.

Thank you. I do not think that there are any other points of order, so I will go back to business.