Results 1–20 of 7364 for speaker:Michael Russell

Scottish Parliament: Independence Referendum (Publication of Draft Bill) (17 Mar 2021)

Michael Russell: I thank Mr Balfour for his kind words. The Scottish Government will publish the draft independence referendum bill as announced in the programme for government before the pre-election recess begins.

Scottish Parliament: Independence Referendum (Publication of Draft Bill) (17 Mar 2021)

Michael Russell: My urgent priority—as it should be for all of us in the chamber—is to ensure that Scotland recovers from the pandemic. That has to be done according to what the Scottish people choose rather than what Boris Johnson chooses—that is the big difference. If we look at what will take place, I would rather move forward from the pandemic and rebuild Scotland in a way that is commensurate with...

Scottish Parliament: Independence Referendum (Publication of Draft Bill) (17 Mar 2021)

Michael Russell: I welcome Mr Smyth to his new role as his party’s spokesperson on the constitution. However, this is “Hail and farewell”, as far as I can see, because I do not think that I will have an opportunity to take questions from him again. Unfortunately, I start by disagreeing with Mr Smyth. He will have heard what I said in response to Mr Balfour. The urgent necessity is for Scotland to build...

Scottish Parliament: Independence Referendum (Publication of Draft Bill) (17 Mar 2021)

Michael Russell: I thank Gail Ross for her remarks. I wish her the best, too. We have been friends over a long period, and I am sure that we will continue to be so as we both go on to different things. Gail Ross rightly quoted the report of the Smith commission, which said: “nothing in this report prevents Scotland becoming an independent country in the future should the people of Scotland so choose”. I...

Scottish Parliament: European Union Withdrawal (Relationships with Non-EU Countries) (17 Mar 2021)

Michael Russell: I thank Mr Lindhurst, and I wish him well, too. The UK’s decision to leave the EU has undoubtedly posed challenges to Scotland’s ability to engage closely with international partners, whether directly or through arrangements that have been agreed by the EU. Despite that, the Scottish Government stands firm in its outward-looking and values-based approach. We will continue to strengthen...

Scottish Parliament: European Union Withdrawal (Relationships with Non-EU Countries) (17 Mar 2021)

Michael Russell: Gordon Lindhurst should differentiate between the removal of trade tariffs that were imposed because of a trade dispute—thus, the reversion to the previous situation—and the question whether there are any benefits in becoming a third country outside the EU. The answer is that there are no such benefits; there are no such benefits for Scotland and, actually, there are no such benefits for...

Scottish Parliament: European Union Withdrawal (Relationships with Non-EU Countries) (17 Mar 2021)

Michael Russell: Richard Lyle makes a very sensible point. I have written to Lord Frost about that matter just this weekend. I do not know whether the response will come before I finally leave Parliament, or come in anything other than the usual dismissive terms, but there is no doubt that the way in which the business is being conducted by him and by Boris Johnson is counterproductive and damaging.

Scottish Parliament: United Kingdom Internal Market Act 2020 (17 Mar 2021)

Michael Russell: Last week, we published a paper, “After Brexit: The UK Internal Market Act and Devolution”, which sets out how the act will impact fundamentally on the power of the Scottish Parliament. It will constrain our ability to take decisions that reflect the needs of Scotland’s businesses and people. The Scottish Parliament’s ability to ensure high food standards and to prevent, for example,...

Scottish Parliament: United Kingdom Internal Market Act 2020 (17 Mar 2021)

Michael Russell: Indeed, I do. There was a further example of that yesterday afternoon, when there was a series of Trojan horse amendments that were, I believe, called “probing” amendments, but which were designed to do what Fulton MacGregor described. I pay strong tribute to my friend and colleague John Swinney, who saw them off with aplomb.

Scottish Parliament: United Kingdom Internal Market Act 2020 (17 Mar 2021)

Michael Russell: That is an interesting proposal. If Dean Lockhart wishes to encourage the Scottish Government to open offices right across these islands, who am I to object? His usual approach to the issue—he has taken me a bit by surprise with that question—is to demand that we must recognise that that trade is so important that we would disrupt it by not being in the same political union. However, if...

Scottish Parliament: Brexit (Support for Companies) (17 Mar 2021)

Michael Russell: The Scottish Government is deeply concerned by emerging evidence that Brexit is having a severe impact on the ability of Scottish companies to trade effectively and competitively with the European Union, with lasting consequences. The Scottish Government will continue to work hard to address the problems and blockages that are being faced by companies where it is in our power to do so. We are...

Scottish Parliament: Brexit (Support for Companies) (17 Mar 2021)

Michael Russell: I do indeed hope that they will apologise, but many of my hopes have come to nothing in recent years, so I am not holding my breath for that. Presiding Officer, thank you for allowing me to spend just a few moments on what I think will be almost my final remarks in the chamber, after 18 years as an MSP. I say “almost”, because I may have to move a motion this evening. First, I want to say...

Scottish Parliament: Parliamentary Bureau Motions (17 Mar 2021)

Michael Russell: I want to make one thing abundantly clear at the start: the pandemic is not over, and it will not be over if Donald Cameron simply uses the word “hopefully”. I also want to make it clear that it is vital that the regulations be approved. The two Scottish acts contain essential practical measures that enable ministers and public authorities to take steps to mitigate the impact of Covid....

Scottish Parliament: Prisoner Voting (24 Feb 2021)

Michael Russell: Again and again, the Conservatives come to the chamber and denounce the choice of topic for a statement or a debate. It is therefore ironic that they have chosen to give up an hour of their debating time—virtually their last hour of debating time this session—for a naked political gesture that is as cynical as it is hollow. As we have just heard, this debate has nothing to do with justice...

Scottish Parliament: Prisoner Voting (24 Feb 2021)

Michael Russell: I am aware of two things. One is the cynical exploitation of a range of issues this week by the Conservatives. I am familiar with that, it is a disgrace, and they will pay the price for it. Secondly, I am fully aware that, when the issue is explored and discussed properly, people tend to be on the side of fairness; they do not tend to be on the side of prejudice. Let me carry on with what I...

Scottish Parliament: Prisoner Voting (24 Feb 2021)

Michael Russell: I will give way—not because Jamie Halcro Johnston shouts from a sedentary position, but because I am interested in seeing how much more arrogant Mr Kerr will become.

Scottish Parliament: Prisoner Voting (24 Feb 2021)

Michael Russell: It did not go further than required. It put in place a sensible solution that has been used elsewhere. I cannot account for the fact that Mr Kerr seems to regard himself as knowing more than the entire European Court of Human Rights. I cannot account for it, but I can tell him that he does not. I hope that that is not disrespectful, as it is a fact. The Tories’ motion is not about “cons...

Scottish Parliament: Prisoner Voting (24 Feb 2021)

Michael Russell: My amendment rightly wipes out the offensive motion and replaces it with the facts of the matter. I hope that my amendment will be supported across the chamber today, perhaps even by those Scottish Conservatives—and there will be some—who recognise the shameful nature of what one of their leaders has forced them to bring here today. I move amendment S5M-24205.1, to leave out from...

Scottish Parliament: Prisoner Voting (24 Feb 2021)

Michael Russell: I always feel that parliamentary sessions suffer the same problems as aircraft do, in that the real difficulty is in take-off and landing. The parliamentary session itself can go fine, but the beginning and the end are always problematic. The beginning is problematic because the previous election is still being fought, and the end is problematic because—as Rhoda Grant said is now the...

Scottish Parliament: European Union Funding Streams (Replacement) (18 Feb 2021)

Michael Russell: The UK Government has failed to engage with us in a meaningful way across a number of EU programmes, including fisheries, structural funds and competitive programmes such as Erasmus+. We have been clear and consistent in our position that we expect full replacement of EU funds to ensure no detriments to Scotland’s finances, and we expect the UK Government to fully respect the devolution...


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