Results 1–20 of 1121 for speaker:Stephen Kerr

Scottish Parliament: Covid-19 (13 Jul 2021)

Stephen Kerr: Freedom of religion and belief is a fundamental human right and an essential and sustaining component in the lives of many Scots. I welcome the change to indoor physical distancing requirements, but will the First Minister confirm that it is now permissible for worshippers to remove face coverings when they are seated, standing in place or kneeling in prayer?

Scottish Parliament: Coronavirus (Extension and Expiry) (Scotland) Bill (24 Jun 2021)

Stephen Kerr: Will the Deputy First Minister give way?

Scottish Parliament: Coronavirus (Extension and Expiry) (Scotland) Bill (24 Jun 2021)

Stephen Kerr: I am afraid that I cannot deliver on that particular comment, Presiding Officer. I associate myself with everything that the Deputy First Minister said about Andrew Welsh, who was my MP and a very good MP, even though we disagreed politically. His words of tribute were wholly appropriate. With regard to Christine Grahame’s contribution, which I, too, thoroughly enjoyed, does the Deputy...

Scottish Parliament: Coronavirus (Extension and Expiry) (Scotland) Bill: Stage 2 (23 Jun 2021)

Stephen Kerr: Will the Deputy First Minister explain what he means by “flexibility”? When they presented their arguments, Jackie Baillie and Murdo Fraser said that, should there still be a need for emergency powers, we would work co-operatively across the Parliament in order to give the Government the powers that it would need in such an emergency. Why is the Government resistant to that? It does not...

Scottish Parliament: Coronavirus (Extension and Expiry) (Scotland) Bill (22 Jun 2021)

Stephen Kerr: This bill should not be treated as an emergency bill. “Emergency” implies that there is a sense of urgency and that we need to go against established processes of consultation and parliamentary scrutiny. However, we do not have such a sense of urgency, as the powers granted by the Coronavirus (Scotland) Act 2020 do not run out until 30 September 2021. Instead of steamrollering the bill...

Scottish Parliament: Business Motion (22 Jun 2021)

Stephen Kerr: There is no case for bypassing due process. The laws do not need to be renewed, pushed or steamrollered through the Parliament, because the provisions of the acts do not expire until the very last day of September. There should be proper consultation, and Parliament should have adequate time to scrutinise the bill. The Conservatives oppose the motion.

Scottish Parliament: Presiding Officer’s Statement (22 Jun 2021)

Stephen Kerr: On a point of order, Presiding Officer. I welcome the statement that you have just made in relation to the respect that the Parliament is due from the Scottish Government. On Tuesday 8 June, I raised a point of order in which I sought confirmation that it is in order for the First Minister to come to the chamber to make Government statements and that it is not in order for her to ignore...

Scottish Parliament: Coronavirus (Extension and Expiry) (Scotland) Bill: Stage 1 (22 Jun 2021)

Stephen Kerr: Great play has been made by the Deputy First Minister of the fact that things are being left out of this legislation. We heard a fairly optimistic prognosis, I think, from the First Minister earlier today. Can Stuart McMillan not imagine that we could be in the first week of September with the measures in the bill no longer being necessary? If that is the case, would he support a repeal of...

Scottish Parliament: Coronavirus (Extension and Expiry) (Scotland) Bill: Stage 1 (22 Jun 2021)

Stephen Kerr: That is an argument for keeping the restrictions in legislation for ever, which is not acceptable. We cannot operate on that basis in a free society. What I actually said was that the vaccines have been proven to be efficacious with all the known variants. While we are talking about things that we do not know about, we could be talking about this legislation being with us for ever, and that...

Scottish Parliament: Coronavirus (Extension and Expiry) (Scotland) Bill: Stage 1 (22 Jun 2021)

Stephen Kerr: I say to Gillian Martin that the Conservatives are absolutely in favour of safety nets, but safety nets are not really the substance of the bill. The bill is a cynical and rushed power grab by the SNP. In principle, I support Governments using emergency powers in times of national crisis, but I balance that with a full commitment to parliamentary democracy, and the Parliament should be able...

Scottish Parliament: Coronavirus (Extension and Expiry) (Scotland) Bill: Stage 1 (22 Jun 2021)

Stephen Kerr: Oh, my goodness me. I am not sure whether John Mason will be proud of that intervention when he looks back on it. The bill still consists of considerable powers, and the Parliament should take the time to scrutinise the bill and consider whether those powers are necessary. That should be the concern of every parliamentarian. My first concern is that three days of parliamentary debate is not...

Scottish Parliament: Coronavirus (Extension and Expiry) (Scotland) Bill: Stage 1 (22 Jun 2021)

Stephen Kerr: If I may say so, that is the whole point. As we go through the summer, the situation is changing rapidly. There is no need for us to rush the bill through Parliament in the next three days. The powers that we are debating will expire on 30 September 2021. Between now and then, the Government should be consulting experts and members of the public about the powers. The weeks of parliamentary...

Scottish Parliament: Coronavirus (Extension and Expiry) (Scotland) Bill: Stage 1 (22 Jun 2021)

Stephen Kerr: Oh, come on. I welcome the fact that the Government is giving up those extraordinary powers in some areas. I asked Stuart McMillan during his speech whether he would support my suggestion that, if we got to the first week of September—if the bill gets pushed through Parliament with this undue haste—the act, as it would be then, should be repealed, but he could not answer then and he is...

Scottish Parliament: Coronavirus (Extension and Expiry) (Scotland) Bill: Stage 1 (22 Jun 2021)

Stephen Kerr: How does the member know that we will need the powers in the first week of September? The member does not know that. The Deputy First Minister once again remonstrates with his hands in that way that he has, but this is a serious point. How does he know that we will need those powers in the first week of September? We should wait until then to review the situation and consider the progress...

Scottish Parliament: Coronavirus (Extension and Expiry) (Scotland) Bill: Stage 1 (22 Jun 2021)

Stephen Kerr: The reality is that, if there is a successful roll-out of the vaccine in the next few months, the situation that we come back to after summer recess could be dramatically different. That is why I asked the Government to postpone the debate on the extension of emergency powers until after recess and use the remaining parliamentary time this week to debate the issues that Scotland immediately...

Scottish Parliament: Coronavirus (Extension and Expiry) (Scotland) Bill: Stage 1 (22 Jun 2021)

Stephen Kerr: We should not be spending this week debating an SNP power grab.

Scottish Parliament: Coronavirus (Extension and Expiry) (Scotland) Bill: Stage 1 (22 Jun 2021)

Stephen Kerr: Will the cabinet secretary give way?

Scottish Parliament: Coronavirus (Extension and Expiry) (Scotland) Bill: Stage 1 (22 Jun 2021)

Stephen Kerr: The point that the Deputy First Minister is making about timing is important. As Jamie Greene pointed out, it took only a few days for the emergency measures that were debated and passed on 1 April 2020 to receive royal assent. Should emergency powers be necessary beyond 30 September, what is stopping us from passing an emergency bill and it getting royal assent in that same timescale? It...

Scottish Parliament: Drug-related Deaths (17 Jun 2021)

Stephen Kerr: Karen Briggs, the chief executive officer of Phoenix Future in Falkirk has said: “We know many people across Scotland would benefit from residential treatment but aren’t able to access it.” Will the Government take steps to provide more beds in residential situations? There are currently no beds at all in Falkirk.

Scottish Parliament: Point of Order (17 Jun 2021)

Stephen Kerr: On a point of order, Presiding Officer. I raised a point of order yesterday about members speaking remotely, even though they are here, in their offices, and even though there are clearly free spaces in the chamber. Interventions can enliven a debate and they can be made and taken only in the chamber. The technology that we are currently using does not allow for interventions on virtual...


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