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Chamber and committees

Meeting date: Thursday, March 23, 2017

Meeting of the Parliament 23 March 2017

Agenda: Presiding Officer’s Statement, Business Motion, General Question Time, First Minister’s Question Time, Justice for Yazidi People, Early Learning and Childcare, British Sign Language (Draft National Plan), Standing Order Rule Changes (Acting Conveners), Business Motion, Parliamentary Bureau Motions, Decision Time


Contents


Presiding Officer’s Statement

The Presiding Officer (Ken Macintosh)

Good morning. Before we move to today’s business, I would like to say a few words to the chamber.

Members will wish to know that I have, this morning, written to Speaker Bercow and Lord Fowler and to the Mayor of London on behalf of the Scottish Parliament. I wanted to convey our sympathy, our sorrow and our solidarity with our fellow parliamentarians and to express our sense of loss at the loss of life and cruel suffering inflicted on so many innocent individuals and their families yesterday. Flags are flying at half mast at Holyrood today, and we observed a 1-minute silence this morning as a mark of respect for those who have been affected by the tragic events.

This morning, the Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body received a briefing from Police Scotland. I want to reassure members that there is no change to the threat level and no intelligence to suggest that there is a specific threat to Scotland, Edinburgh or Holyrood. However, as a precautionary measure, security at the Scottish Parliament was heightened with immediate effect, and the corporate body, in discussion with Police Scotland and the security services, will continue to keep our security arrangements under review, as we always do.

I convened a meeting of the Parliamentary Bureau this morning, and a motion will be put to Parliament later today, proposing that the debate on Scotland’s choice be rescheduled for next Tuesday. The change has the support of all business managers. Other business today will proceed as scheduled, as will the business at our sister Parliament in Westminster.

I hope that I speak for all members in saying that this shocking event should serve to remind us of the importance of holding firm to our humanity and of defending our democracy.