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Chamber and committees

Meeting date: Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Meeting of the Parliament 27 March 2019

Agenda: Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh (Infection Incident), Portfolio Question Time, Revoking Article 50, Climate Emergency, Business Motion, Parliamentary Bureau Motions, Point of Order, Decision Time, Diet Products (Celebrity Endorsements)


Point of Order

Patrick Harvie (Glasgow) (Green)

On a point of order, Presiding Officer. Rule 7.3.1 of the standing orders requires members to conduct themselves in a courteous and respectful manner. As part of the respect that we are asked to show to one another, you and the Deputy Presiding Officers regularly remind us that members who have taken part in debates should be in the chamber for the closing speeches. Is it in keeping with that role, and in keeping with the spirit in which you ask us to show that respect by being present for closing speeches, for a member on the front bench to turn their back on the chamber throughout almost the entirety of a closing speech? Does that show the appropriate respect and is it in keeping with that role?

The Presiding Officer (Ken Macintosh)

I thank Mr Harvie for advance notice of the point of order. Mr Harvie is right: our standing orders, our code of conduct and Presiding Officer’s guidance all emphasise the importance of courtesy and respect being shown by members to one another at all times. I am not aware of whether the member to whom Mr Harvie refers was being deliberately discourteous, but I suggest that all members bear in mind that turning your back on the chair is certainly discourteous, and I recommend that all members be aware of whether their body language is signalling discourtesy to other members.

I reviewed the earlier point of order and I believe that Mr Arthur was making a political point. The point about the admissibility of amendments was dealt with by the Presiding Officer who was in the chair at the time.