Alex Neil: Thank you very much. As the Deputy Presiding Officer said, this is, after 22 years, my final speech to Parliament as an MSP, before I step down in May. Until my dying day I will be very proud, like the Deputy Presiding Officer, to be have been a founding member of the Parliament—the first ever democratically elected Scottish Parliament. We have proved that Jimmy Maxton was right when he...
Alex Neil: I will not take too long. The committee was determined to do two things. First, along with the cabinet secretary, we were determined to get to a stage to allow the legislation to pass before we finish up for the election. The survivors have waited long enough for the legislation, and we did not want to do anything that would hamper the timetable for getting the bill through before 25 March....
Alex Neil: 1. To ask the Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body how much it spends annually on the provision of legal advice for the Parliament and its committees.
Alex Neil: I thank Mr Carlaw for that information, and wish all members of the corporate body all the best for the future as I will be stepping down myself. What legal advice did the corporate body receive on how to respond to the recent demand made of it by the Crown Office regarding redactions from a witness statement, even though that statement had already been published on the Parliament’s website?
Alex Neil: Further to Jackson Carlaw’s question about the Britton review on mesh records, will the First Minister undertake that waiting for the results of that review will not in any way hold up a decision on national health service funding for women who need urgent mesh removal procedures to be undertaken by Dr Veronikis in the USA?
Alex Neil: On a point of order, Presiding Officer. I could not hear the results of the votes on the amendments. If you tell me them, I can tell you how I am voting on the motion. I know that Mr Greene’s amendment went through, but did Mr Swinney’s amendment go through?
Alex Neil: But was the motion amended by Mr—[ Inaudible .]—because I could not hear the result. The connection is—[ Inaudible .]
Alex Neil: In that case, my vote is no.
Alex Neil: On a point of order, Presiding Officer. My voting system was not working either. I would have voted yes.
Alex Neil: On a point of order, Presiding Officer. My system is not working; the BlueJeans reception is very variable. I would have voted no on Mary Fee’s amendment.
Alex Neil: Do the former Lord Advocate, Frank Mulholland, Police Scotland and the team of prosecutors who worked on the case agree with the current Lord Advocate’s decision to pay out millions of pounds of public money on the basis that the prosecution was malicious? Is the Lord Advocate’s decision making in this case up to scratch and robust?
Alex Neil: On a point of order, Presiding Officer. The voting app is not working for me. I would have voted yes, had I been able to vote.
Alex Neil: On a point of order, Presiding Officer. My app would not allow me to vote either. I would have voted no.
Alex Neil: I very much welcome the bill. As other members have said—in particular, p eople such as Jackie Baillie and I, who have been in the Parliament since day 1— we have lessons to learn for the future . The bill should have come to the Parliament many years ago—probably 20 years ago—rather than now. However, we now have the bill at long last. As a Parliament, we have two duties to...
Alex Neil: We should look at what we can do in respect of organisations that should be contributing but do not do so, albeit probably not on a statutory basis. By making those changes relating to the waiver and the contribution scheme, the cabinet secretary could achieve his very worthwhile objectives.
Alex Neil: On a point of order, Presiding Officer. My system would not allow me in to vote. Microsoft has got no verification codes left. Can I ensure that my vote is recorded as—[ Inaudible .] [ Laughter .]
Alex Neil: I would have voted yes.
Alex Neil: I congratulate the cabinet secretary on the first ever adult social care plan for winter and welcome, in particular, the additional resources that are being made available. As the cabinet secretary said, 77 per cent of people requiring social care in care homes in Scotland are over 65 and about half are over 85. That is precisely the age group that, if they catch Covid, are more susceptible...
Alex Neil: As the son and grandson of miners and as an MSP who represents the former mining community of Airdrie and Shotts, I welcome the report, on which I congratulate John Scott QC, and I very much welcome the statement from the cabinet secretary. I have two questions. First, I accept that this is a collective pardon and I understand the reasons for that, but can the cabinet secretary confirm that...
Alex Neil: I speak in support of the Scottish Government’s motion, but I also welcome many of the suggestions that have been made in the debate from across the parties. I think that people in Scotland want us in the Scottish Parliament to operate as part of team Scotland, and the tone of the debate has been very helpful indeed. I particularly welcome some of the announcements that have been made...