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Chamber and committees

Meeting date: Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Meeting of the Parliament 28 January 2020

Agenda: Time for Reflection, Topical Question Time, Queen Elizabeth University Hospital Oversight Board, Holocaust Memorial Day, Point of Order, Business Motion, Decision Time, Alasdair Gray


Point of Order

Mike Rumbles (North East Scotland) (LD)

On a point of order, Presiding Officer. I raise my point under rule 8.11.3 of the standing orders concerning business motions. In an unprecedented situation, MSPs will be asked to vote to direct the Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body to do something that it has already decided unanimously not to do. Our corporate body makes non-partisan decisions on behalf of all MSPs.

Presiding Officer, do you believe that the two hours allowed was enough time to lodge amendments to the business motion? I understand the difficulties that the parliamentary authorities, including yourself, would have been under, due to the short notice of the motion. If more time had been given, members could have lodged amendments, so that more than two members could have been called to speak on the business motion.

The Presiding Officer (Ken Macintosh)

I thank Mike Rumbles for his point of order.

Mr Rumbles is correct to say that, under the standing orders, only one person may speak against the business motion, and that the Government minister may respond. We have relaxed that rule for the forward planning motion on Wednesdays, in order to allow more members to speak.

The key point is that tonight’s motion arranges the business for this week, and it is unusual to change the business at such short notice. However, there will be time in the debate tomorrow: the business motion simply arranges time for the subject itself to be debated, and it proposes putting half an hour aside for that tomorrow. There is time for only one member from each party to contribute tomorrow. However, as is usually the case, members can make an intervention; in fact, members can make interventions during the debate on the business motion too, when that is moved. I hope that that explains the standing orders on the subject.