Election 2021

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Chamber and committees

Meeting date: Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Meeting of the Parliament 24 April 2019

Agenda: Brexit and Scotland’s Future, Portfolio Question Time, General Practitioner Recruitment and Retention, Green New Deal, Business Motions, Point of Order, Decision Time, Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Week


Point of Order

Alexander Burnett (Aberdeenshire West) (Con)

On a point of order, Presiding Officer. Last week, the chief executive of the Parliament issued advice to all MSPs on the European elections that made it clear that parliamentary resources should not be used for election campaigning. In her statement earlier, Nicola Sturgeon said:

“The Euro elections will also give voters a chance to back a party, like the Scottish National Party”.

Can the Presiding Officer—[Interruption.]

The Presiding Officer (Ken Macintosh)

Order please. Let the member finish.

Alexander Burnett

Can the Presiding Officer give us his guidance on whether, given that she used a parliamentary statement in her role as First Minister to make a party-political statement that explicitly appealed to voters in an upcoming election, Nicola Sturgeon has kept to the spirit and letter of the advice that was given to MSPs?

The Presiding Officer

I thank Mr Burnett for the advance notice of his point of order. As he noted in his comments, advice covering the European elections has been issued. It looks, in particular, at the operation of the members’ expenses scheme and the wider use of parliamentary resources more generally. However, it does not cover the content of political comment in political proceedings in the chamber such as statements, questions or debates.

Having said that, I will take advantage of the opportunity to remind all members to observe the distinction between political debate and blatant electioneering or campaigning, and to refrain from the latter over the next few weeks.