Only a few days to go: We’re raising £25,000 to keep TheyWorkForYou running and make sure people across the UK can hold their elected representatives to account.

Donate to our crowdfunder

Decision Time

– in the Scottish Parliament at 5:06 pm on 1st November 2000.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Lord David Steel Lord David Steel Presiding Officer, Scottish Parliament 5:06 pm, 1st November 2000

There are no Parliamentary Bureau motions, so we move straight to decision time. There are three questions to put to the chamber.

The first question is, that amendment S1M-1299.2, in the name of Mr John Swinney, seeking to amend motion S1M-1299, in the name of the First Minister, on the Executive's policy on official information and accountability to Parliament, be agreed to. Are we agreed?

Members:

No.

Division number 2

For: Adam, Brian, Campbell, Colin, Crawford, Bruce, Cunningham, Roseanna, Ewing, Fergus, Fabiani, Linda, Gibson, Mr Kenneth, Grahame, Christine, Hamilton, Mr Duncan, Harper, Robin, Hyslop, Fiona, Ingram, Mr Adam, Lochhead, Richard, MacAskill, Mr Kenny, MacDonald, Ms Margo, Marwick, Tricia, McGugan, Irene, McLeod, Fiona, Neil, Alex, Paterson, Mr Gil, Quinan, Mr Lloyd, Reid, Mr George, Robison, Shona, Russell, Michael, Salmond, Mr Alex, Sturgeon, Nicola, Swinney, Mr John, Ullrich, Kay, White, Ms Sandra, Wilson, Andrew
Against: Aitken, Bill, Alexander, Ms Wendy, Baillie, Jackie, Barrie, Scott, Boyack, Sarah, Brankin, Rhona, Brown, Robert, Chisholm, Malcolm, Craigie, Cathie, Curran, Ms Margaret, Davidson, Mr David, Deacon, Susan, Douglas-Hamilton, Lord James, Eadie, Helen, Ferguson, Patricia, Finnie, Ross, Galbraith, Mr Sam, Gallie, Phil, Godman, Trish, Goldie, Miss Annabel, Gorrie, Donald, Grant, Rhoda, Harding, Mr Keith, Henry, Hugh, Home Robertson, Mr John, Hughes, Janis, Jackson, Dr Sylvia, Jackson, Gordon, Jamieson, Margaret, Jenkins, Ian, Johnston, Nick, Johnstone, Alex, Kerr, Mr Andy, Lamont, Johann, Livingstone, Marilyn, Lyon, George, Macdonald, Lewis, Macintosh, Mr Kenneth, MacKay, Angus, MacLean, Kate, Macmillan, Maureen, Martin, Paul, McAllion, Mr John, McAveety, Mr Frank, McCabe, Mr Tom, McConnell, Mr Jack, McGrigor, Mr Jamie, McIntosh, Mrs Lyndsay, McLeish, Henry, McLetchie, David, McMahon, Mr Michael, McNeil, Mr Duncan, McNeill, Pauline, McNulty, Des, Monteith, Mr Brian, Morrison, Mr Alasdair, Muldoon, Bristow, Mulligan, Mrs Mary, Mundell, David, Munro, Mr John, Murray, Dr Elaine, Peacock, Peter, Peattie, Cathy, Radcliffe, Nora, Robson, Euan, Rumbles, Mr Mike, Scanlon, Mary, Scott, John, Scott, Tavish, Simpson, Dr Richard, Smith, Elaine, Smith, Iain, Smith, Mrs Margaret, Stephen, Nicol, Stone, Mr Jamie, Thomson, Elaine, Tosh, Mr Murray, Wallace, Mr Jim, Watson, Mike, Whitefield, Karen, Wilson, Allan, Young, John

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

The result of the division is: For 30, Against 83, Abstentions 0.

Amendment disagreed to.

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

The second question is, that amendment S1M-1299.1, in the name of David McLetchie, seeking to amend the motion in the name of the First Minister, on the Executive's policy on official information and accountability to Parliament, be agreed to. Are we agreed?

Members:

Yes.

Members:

No.

Division number 3

For: Aitken, Bill, Davidson, Mr David, Douglas-Hamilton, Lord James, Gallie, Phil, Goldie, Miss Annabel, Harding, Mr Keith, Johnston, Nick, Johnstone, Alex, McGrigor, Mr Jamie, McIntosh, Mrs Lyndsay, McLetchie, David, Monteith, Mr Brian, Mundell, David, Scanlon, Mary, Scott, John, Tosh, Mr Murray, Wallace, Ben, Young, John
Against: Alexander, Ms Wendy, Baillie, Jackie, Barrie, Scott, Boyack, Sarah, Brankin, Rhona, Brown, Robert, Chisholm, Malcolm, Craigie, Cathie, Curran, Ms Margaret, Deacon, Susan, Eadie, Helen, Ferguson, Patricia, Finnie, Ross, Galbraith, Mr Sam, Godman, Trish, Gorrie, Donald, Grant, Rhoda, Henry, Hugh, Home Robertson, Mr John, Hughes, Janis, Jackson, Gordon, Jackson, Dr Sylvia, Jamieson, Cathy, Jamieson, Margaret, Jenkins, Ian, Kerr, Mr Andy, Lamont, Johann, Livingstone, Marilyn, Lyon, George, Macdonald, Lewis, McIntosh, Mr Kenneth, MacLean, Kate, Martin, Paul, McAllion, Mr John, McAveety, Mr Frank, McCabe, Mr Tom, McConnell, Mr Jack, MacKay, Angus, McLeish, Henry, McMahon, Mr Michael, Macmillan, Maureen, McNeil, Mr Duncan, McNeill, Pauline, McNulty, Des, Morrison, Mr Alasdair, Muldoon, Bristow, Mulligan, Mrs Mary, Munro, Mr John, Murray, Dr Elaine, Peacock, Peter, Peattie, Cathy, Radcliffe, Nora, Robson, Euan, Rumbles, Mr Mike, Scott, Tavish, Simpson, Dr Richard, Smith, Elaine, Smith, Iain, Smith, Mrs Margaret, Stephen, Nicol, Stone, Mr Jamie, Thomson, Elaine, Wallace, Mr Jim, Watson, Mike, Whitefield, Karen, Wilson, Allan
Abstentions: Adam, Brian, Campbell, Colin, Crawford, Bruce, Cunningham, Roseanna, Ewing, Fergus, Fabiani, Linda, Gibson, Mr Kenneth, Grahame, Christine, Hamilton, Mr Duncan, Harper, Robin, Hyslop, Fiona, Ingram, Mr Adam, Lochhead, Richard, Marwick, Tricia, MacAskill, Mr Kenny, MacDonald, Ms Margo, McGugan, Irene, McLeod, Fiona, Neil, Alex, Paterson, Mr Gil, Quinan, Mr Lloyd, Reid, Mr George, Robison, Shona, Russell, Michael, Salmond, Mr Alex, Sturgeon, Nicola, Swinney, Mr John, Ullrich, Kay, White, Ms Sandra, Wilson, Andrew

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

The result of the division is: For 18, Against 66, Abstentions 30.

Amendment disagreed to.

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

The third question is, that motion S1M-1299, in the name of the First Minister, on the Executive's policy on official information and accountability to Parliament, be agreed to. Are we agreed?

Members:

No.

Division number 4

For: Alexander, Ms Wendy, Baillie, Jackie, Barrie, Scott, Boyack, Sarah, Brankin, Rhona, Brown, Robert, Chisholm, Malcolm, Craigie, Cathie, Curran, Ms Margaret, Deacon, Susan, Eadie, Helen, Ferguson, Patricia, Finnie, Ross, Galbraith, Mr Sam, Godman, Trish, Gorrie, Donald, Grant, Rhoda, Henry, Hugh, Home Robertson, Mr John, Hughes, Janis, Jackson, Gordon, Jackson, Dr Sylvia, Jamieson, Cathy, Jamieson, Margaret, Jenkins, Ian, Kerr, Mr Andy, Lamont, Johann, Livingstone, Marilyn, Lyon, George, Macdonald, Lewis, Macintosh, Mr Kenneth, MacLean, Kate, Martin, Paul, McAllion, Mr John, McAveety, Mr Frank, McCabe, Mr Tom, McConnell, Mr Jack, MacKay, Angus, McLeish, Henry, McMahon, Mr Michael, Macmillan, Maureen, McNeil, Mr Duncan, McNeill, Pauline, McNulty, Des, Morrison, Mr Alasdair, Muldoon, Bristow, Mulligan, Mrs Mary, Munro, Mr John, Murray, Dr Elaine, Peacock, Peter, Peattie, Cathy, Radcliffe, Nora, Robson, Euan, Rumbles, Mr Mike, Scott, Tavish, Simpson, Dr Richard, Smith, Elaine, Smith, Iain, Smith, Mrs Margaret, Stephen, Nicol, Stone, Mr Jamie, Thomson, Elaine, Wallace, Mr Jim, Watson, Mike, Whitefield, Karen, Wilson, Allan
Against: Adam, Brian, Campbell, Colin, Crawford, Bruce, Cunningham, Roseanna, Ewing, Fergus, Fabiani, Linda, Gibson, Mr Kenneth, Grahame, Christine, Hamilton, Mr Duncan, Harper, Robin, Ingram, Mr Adam, Lochhead, Richard, Marwick, Tricia, MacAskill, Mr Kenny, MacDonald, Ms Margo, McGugan, Irene, McLeod, Fiona, Neil, Alex, Paterson, Mr Gil, Quinan, Mr Lloyd, Reid, Mr George, Robison, Shona, Russell, Michael, Salmond, Mr Alex, Sturgeon, Nicola, Swinney, Mr John, Ullrich, Kay, White, Ms Sandra, Wilson, Andrew
Abstentions: Aitken, Bill, Davidson, Mr David, Douglas-Hamilton, Lord James, Gallie, Phil, Goldie, Miss Annabel, Harding, Mr Keith, Hyslop, Fiona, Johnston, Nick, Johnstone, Alex, McGrigor, Mr Jamie, McIntosh, Mrs Lyndsay, McLetchie, David, Monteith, Mr Brian, Mundell, David, Scanlon, Mary, Scott, John, Tosh, Mr Murray, Wallace, Ben, Young, John

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

The result of the division is: For 66, Against 29, Abstentions 19.

Motion agreed to.

That the Parliament notes that the Executive is committed to a policy of openness, accessibility and accountability in all its dealings with the Parliament and its Committees; further notes both the Parliament's right and duty to hold the Executive to account including the power to invoke section 23 of the Scotland Act and the public interest in maintaining the confidentiality of exchanges between officials and Ministers concerning policy advice; observes that other Parliaments with strong freedom of information regimes do not disclose the terms of such exchanges; calls, to that end, for the Executive and the Parliament to observe the following principles:

(i) consistent with its policy of openness, the Executive should always seek to make as much information as possible publicly available as a matter of course and should respond positively to requests for information from the Parliament and its Committees;

(ii) officials are accountable to Ministers and Ministers in turn are accountable to the Parliament and it follows that, while officials can provide Committees with factual information, Committees should look to Ministers to account for the policy decisions they have taken;

(iii) where, exceptionally, Committees find it necessary to scrutinise exchanges between officials and Ministers on policy issues, arrangements should be made to ensure that the confidentiality of these exchanges is respected, and commends these principles to Committees as guidelines to be followed in their dealings with the Executive.

Photo of Alex Neil Alex Neil Scottish National Party

On a point of order, Presiding Officer. This afternoon we heard a very dignified speech from Mr John Home Robertson, in which he pointed out that, as a result of an application of the ministerial code, he had in effect been debarred from a substantial part of his portfolio. As the Parliament approves the appointment of ministers, is it not the case that when such restrictions are applied—albeit as a result of the ministerial code—Parliament should be informed as to what those restrictions are? If nothing else, that should be done as a matter of courtesy, but I would have thought that it should be done as a matter of form.

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

What Mr Home Robertson said this afternoon was of great interest to us all. I hope that we have all learned something from it, but I do not want to give a ruling on something that is outside the jurisdiction of the chamber. What he said related to the ministerial code, rather than the parliamentary code—members will recall Tricia Marwick's point of order on that matter. This may be a partial answer to your question, but we still have not got a code of conduct between the Executive and the Parliament. That is something that we need to consider.