Business Motion

– in the Scottish Parliament at 2:30 pm on 8th June 1999.

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Photo of Lord David Steel Lord David Steel Presiding Officer, Scottish Parliament 2:30 pm, 8th June 1999

The first item of business this afternoon will be consideration of Parliamentary Bureau motion S1M-35 to amend the business programme that was agreed by Parliament on Wednesday 2 June, and an amendment to that motion. Before I call Mr Tom McCabe to move the business motion, I remind members that under standing orders there should be no more than one speaker for and one speaker against the motion and any amendment to it, and that each speaker may speak for no longer than five minutes. As there is one amendment, the debate may last up to 20 minutes, with one speaker for the motion, one for the amendment, one against the motion and one against the amendment. Each speaker will be limited to five minutes.

Photo of Dennis Canavan Dennis Canavan Independent

On a point of order, Mr Presiding Officer. I wonder whether you could use your good influence to ensure that we are given adequate notice of the business that we are about to discuss. Yesterday, when I asked at the chamber office for a copy of the motions and amendments that we would be discussing today, I was told that they were not available. A business bulletin was published this morning, which details the motions and some of the amendments that are to be debated today, but at the last minute we have been handed-by one of the Parliament's staff-a copy of subsequent amendments.

I do not blame the members who lodged those later amendments; I understand why they lodged them. However, the original motions should surely have been lodged so as to give us greater opportunity to propose amendments to them. That raises the general question of the lack of notice, even of the meetings of the Parliament. Mr Presiding Officer, can you ensure that we are given more than a week's notice of meetings, and more than one day's notice of motions and amendments?

Photo of Lord David Steel Lord David Steel Presiding Officer, Scottish Parliament

I have every sympathy with that point of order-I have raised the matter myself in the Parliamentary Bureau. The problem stems from the short notice that is required, under the standing orders that we have inherited, for the lodging of motions and amendments. We have agreed that the Procedures Committee should, very early on, examine the matter. We are operating against a timetable that is far too tight. For the immediate future, we are limited by the standing orders. It may help members to know that tomorrow a business motion will be moved that will cover the next fortnight. We will do our best within the limits of the standing orders that we have.

Motion moved,

That the Parliament agrees the following amendment to the business set out in the business motion agreed by the Parliament on Wednesday 2 June; Tuesday 8 June 1999 Immediately after Decision Time, a debate on the subject of S1M-24 (Dr Sylvia Jackson) to be taken as Members' Business and to be concluded without any question being put no later than 30 minutes after its commencement; Wednesday 9 June 1999 At 10.30 am, a statement by the First Minister on legislation in the UK Parliament about devolved matters followed no later than 11.00 am by a debate on the Consultative Steering Group report and draft Information Strategy; the remaining business to remain as set out in the business motion of 2 June. - [Mr McCabe.]

Photo of Michael Russell Michael Russell Scottish National Party 2:33 pm, 8th June 1999

I do not want to get a reputation for moving amendments or for being negative about business motions. I propose a technical change to motion S1M-35 and have lodged motion S1M-41, which deals with information technology and office equipment. We were advised that those matters could not be covered by the allowances motion because they did not come under the heading of allowances. However, all parties felt that information technology should form part of today's debate, as there will be support for members in that area. Accordingly, and with Mr McCabe's agreement, I seek permission for debate on that issue to be included in this afternoon's business, as was originally intended.

I move amendment S1M-35.1, to insert after "Tuesday 8 June 1999", "motion S1M-41 in the name of Michael Russell to be debated together with S1M-40 also in the name of Michael Russell."

Photo of Lord David Steel Lord David Steel Presiding Officer, Scottish Parliament

Does anyone want to speak against the amendment? If not, I call Mr McCabe.

Photo of Tom McCabe Tom McCabe Labour 2:34 pm, 8th June 1999

I support the amendment that has been moved by Mr Russell, and agree that it would be sensible to include a discussion on information technology and office equipment in the debate on members' allowances. The amendment is not contentious; it deals with a technical matter that was omitted in the drafting of motion S1M-35.

The business motion seeks to make two amendments to the programme of business to which the Parliament agreed on Wednesday 2 June. It proposes that, today, immediately after decision time, there should be a 30-minute debate on the subject of motion S1M-24, in the name of Dr Sylvia Jackson, on the Loch Lomond and Trossachs national park. That will be the first members' business debate. Such debates will be included in the business programme regularly, and the subject will be chosen by the Parliamentary Bureau from the motions that members have lodged. The debates will give members the opportunity to have debated by the Parliament issues that they consider to be of particular local interest or concern.

The other amendment proposed in the business motion affects tomorrow's business. It is proposed that, at 10.30 am, the First Minister will make a statement on legislation in the UK Parliament concerning devolved matters. That will allow him to respond to some of the points raised during last week's debate on the orders made under the Scotland Act 1998. The matter is of particular interest and relevance to the Parliament, and the Parliamentary Bureau has taken the view that it should be included in the business programme at an early date.

The debate will be followed, no later than 11 am, by a debate on the consultative steering group report. The bureau proposes that the remaining business should remain as set out in the business motion that was approved by the Parliament on 2 June.

Photo of Brian Monteith Brian Monteith Conservative

On a point of order. Mr McCabe explained that the reason for having members' business after decision time was so that we could have the opportunity to debate members' concerns. Could you clarify whether other members will be able to speak in such debates?

Photo of Lord David Steel Lord David Steel Presiding Officer, Scottish Parliament

That is the case, but members' business debates are very short and are the property of the member who has secured them. Speaking off the top of my head, I think that the right thing to do would be to consult the member who has secured the debate and to seek his or her agreement about whether it is reasonable for another member to intervene. As a matter of courtesy, that would be the right way of doing it.

Does anybody want to speak against motion S1M-35 or to speak on the amendment proposed by Mr Russell? No.

The question is, that amendment S1M-35.1, in the name of Michael Russell, be agreed to.

Amendment agreed to.

Photo of Lord David Steel Lord David Steel Presiding Officer, Scottish Parliament

The question is, that business motion S1M-35, in the name of Tom McCabe, as amended, be agreed to.

Motion, as amended, agreed to.

That the Parliament agrees the following amendment to the business set out in the business motion agreed by the Parliament on Wednesday 2 June; Tuesday 8 June 1999 Motion S1M-41 in the name of Michael Russell to be debated together with S1M-40 also in the name of Michael Russell.

Immediately after Decision Time, a debate on the subject of S1M-24 (Dr Sylvia Jackson) to be taken as Members' Business and to be concluded without any question being put no later than 30 minutes after its commencement; Wednesday 9 June 1999 At 10.30 am, a statement by the First Minister on legislation in the UK Parliament about devolved matters followed no later than 11.00 am by a debate on the Consultative Steering Group report and draft Information Strategy; the remaining business to remain as set out in the business motion of 2 June.