Business Motion

– in the Scottish Parliament at 9:30 am on 13th December 2000.

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Photo of Lord David Steel Lord David Steel Presiding Officer, Scottish Parliament 9:30 am, 13th December 2000

The first item of business this morning is consideration of Parliamentary Bureau motion S1M-1457, in the name of Tom McCabe, which proposes an addition to the business to be taken today, together with an amendment to that motion.

Photo of Tavish Scott Tavish Scott Liberal Democrat 9:34 am, 13th December 2000

Before moving the motion on behalf of the Parliamentary Bureau, I should note that it is disappointing that we find ourselves debating a motion that provides the Scottish National Party with an early opportunity to debate its motion of no confidence.

It is important to set out what is proposed in the business motion: it allows for the motion of no confidence that was lodged on Friday last week to be debated at the earliest opportunity. It is important that the seriousness of a motion of no confidence is recognised, and that the decision to lodge such a motion is not taken lightly. When proposing this morning's business as set out in the business motion, the Executive took into account the fact that the allegations against Mr Galbraith were linked inextricably to the Scottish Qualifications Authority issue. The points that are likely to made in the debate on the motion of no confidence will no doubt also be made in the main debate on the SQA reports. The time allocated to the SQA debate reflects that. Brian Monteith recognised that there would be a separate debate on a motion of no confidence by withdrawing his amendment to motion S1M-1446, which called for Sam Galbraith's resignation.

The Parliament will have the same amount of time to debate the issues as it would have had under the motion agreed to by Parliament last week. The proposed amendment to today's business motion would simply structure the debate in a way that reflects the wishes of those who signed up to the motion of no confidence. I believe that the motion before Parliament is fair and will allow members ample time and opportunity to address issues that are raised by both committee reports.

I move,

That the Parliament agrees, as an addition to the Business Motion agreed on 7 December 2000:

Wednesday 13 December 2000 after the first Parliamentary Bureau Motions, insert followed by Debate on Motion of No Confidence

Photo of Tricia Marwick Tricia Marwick Scottish National Party 9:35 am, 13th December 2000

Yesterday I indicated to the other business managers that I could not support the business motion that is before us today. On behalf of the SNP, I recorded my group's objections with the bureau and advised that today I would move an amendment to the business motion.

The purpose of my amendment is to allow the reports by the Enterprise and Lifelong Learning Committee and the Education, Culture and Sport Committee to be debated fully by the Parliament. Last week the Parliament approved a business motion that provided for a debate lasting almost three hours. Today the Parliament is being asked to agree to a motion that would slash an hour off that time. The effect of that would be to deny 15 back-bench members the opportunity to contribute to the debate on the SQA and the exams crisis. If the debate was important enough last week to warrant three hours, it is important enough this week to warrant three hours.

The Executive will claim—Tavish Scott already has—that the SNP motion of no confidence has impacted on the time available for the SQA debate. Let me deal with that charge right now. What has impacted on the time available for the SQA debate is the sheer intransigence of the Executive. The standing orders of the Parliament are clear. When a motion of no confidence has been lodged and has attracted 25 signatures, it must be debated by the Parliament—no ifs, no buts, no maybes. The role of the Parliamentary Bureau is to find the time for that debate. It was the Executive's business managers who timetabled the two debates to run consecutively this morning.

As I could not accept that one hour should be slashed from the SQA debate, I offered the business managers two other options. The first was that this morning's business should continue until 1.30 pm, to allow one hour for the debate on the motion of no confidence, which would be followed by the previously agreed three-hour debate on the committees' reports. That offer was turned down. I then suggested that the SQA debate should take place this morning, as originally timetabled, and that the SNP group would give up an hour of its Opposition time on Thursday morning so that the motion of no confidence could be debated. That suggestion was also rejected.

I do not intend to speak about the debates that will follow. However, we all recognise the work that has been done by the committee conveners, Mary Mulligan and Alex Neil, by the members of the Education, Culture and Sport Committee and the Enterprise and Lifelong Learning Committee, and by the clerking staff. I pay tribute to them for that.

They have investigated the debacle of the past year and have made important recommendations for next year's exam process. The Executive has let down the two committees, which have worked tirelessly on behalf of the Parliament to take evidence and to produce their reports. Those reports deserve to be debated properly and thoroughly. According to one commentator, they are reports that

"made this Parliament worth having."

Students, teachers and parents will not understand why the Executive has prevented a full debate today. The message that will go out from the chamber is that the agony and heartbreak of the summer are worth only two hours of the Parliament's time. That is a shameful message. Thousands of young people are relying on the Parliament to make things right for them this year and next year. I say this to the Executive, as gently as I can: by its actions today it has not even begun to put things right.

I urge members of all parties to support the amendment and to extend the SQA debate until 1.30 pm to allow a proper debate of the issues. The committees and Scotland's young people and teachers deserve no less.

I move amendment S1M-1457.1, to insert at end:

"and after the 'Education, Culture and Sport Committee and Enterprise and Lifelong Learning Committee Debate on SQA Inquiries' insert to be concluded at 1.30 pm".

Photo of Tavish Scott Tavish Scott Liberal Democrat 9:40 am, 13th December 2000

I am bound to say that the Executive has done what I thought the SNP wanted, which is to create time for the motion that the SNP wants to debate. It is now 9.40 am; the longer that we spend discussing the timing, the less time there is to debate the motion of no confidence and the committee reports. There would have been howls of protest had the Executive not timetabled the no confidence motion that the SNP wanted.

We should get on with discussing the committee reports. As Tricia Marwick said, they are important and we must treat them seriously and not waste time on a sterile argument about time. That does a disservice to the committees that Tricia Marwick mentioned. The Education, Culture and Sport Committee report has 56 recommendations. Let us get on and debate them now.

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

I will now put the questions on the amendment and the motion to the chamber. The first question is, that amendment S1M-1457.1, in the name of Tricia Marwick, be agreed to. Are we agreed?

Members:

No.

Division number 1

For: Adam, Brian, Campbell, Colin, Grahame, Christine, Crawford, Bruce, Cunningham, Roseanna, Elder, Dorothy-Grace, Ewing, Fergus, Ewing, Mrs Margaret, Ewing, Dr Winnie, Fabiani, Linda, Gibson, Mr Kenneth, Gorrie, Donald, Hamilton, Mr Duncan, Hyslop, Fiona, Ingram, Mr Adam, Lochhead, Richard, MacAskill, Mr Kenny, MacDonald, Ms Margo, McGugan, Irene, Marwick, Tricia, Matheson, Michael, McLeod, Fiona, Neil, Alex, Quinan, Mr Lloyd, Reid, Mr George, Robison, Shona, Russell, Michael, Sturgeon, Nicola, Swinney, Mr John, Ullrich, Kay, Welsh, Mr Andrew, White, Ms Sandra, Wilson, Andrew
Against: Aitken, Bill, Alexander, Ms Wendy, Baillie, Jackie, Barrie, Scott, Boyack, Sarah, Butler, Bill, Chisholm, Malcolm, Craigie, Cathie, Curran, Ms Margaret, Davidson, Mr David, Deacon, Susan, Douglas-Hamilton, Lord James, Eadie, Helen, Ferguson, Patricia, Fergusson, Alex, Finnie, Ross, Galbraith, Mr Sam, Gallie, Phil, Godman, Trish, Goldie, Miss Annabel, Grant, Rhoda, Gray, Iain, Harding, Mr Keith, Harper, Robin, Henry, Hugh, Home Robertson, Mr John, Hughes, Janis, Jackson, Gordon, Jackson, Dr Sylvia, Jamieson, Cathy, Jamieson, Margaret, Jenkins, Ian, Johnston, Nick, Johnstone, Alex, Kerr, Mr Andy, Lamont, Johann, Livingstone, Marilyn, Lyon, George, Macdonald, Lewis, McGrigor, Mr Jamie, Macintosh, Mr Kenneth, Martin, Paul, McAllion, Mr John, McAveety, Mr Frank, McCabe, Mr Tom, McConnell, Mr Jack, McIntosh, Mrs Lyndsay, MacKay, Angus, McLeish, Henry, McMahon, Mr Michael, Macmillan, Maureen, McNeil, Mr Duncan, McNeill, Pauline, Monteith, Mr Brian, Morrison, Mr Alasdair, Muldoon, Bristow, Mulligan, Mrs Mary, Munro, Mr John, Murray, Dr Elaine, Peacock, Peter, Peattie, Cathy, Radcliffe, Nora, Raffan, Mr Keith, Robson, Euan, Rumbles, Mr Mike, Scanlon, Mary, Scott, John, Scott, Tavish, Simpson, Dr Richard, Smith, Iain, Smith, Mrs Margaret, Stephen, Nicol, Thomson, Elaine, Tosh, Mr Murray, Wallace, Ben, 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 33, Against 79, Abstentions 0.

Amendment disagreed to.

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

The second question is, that motion S1M-1457, in the name of Tom McCabe, be agreed to. Are we agreed?

Members:

No.

Division number 2

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

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

The result of the division is: For 78, Against 32, Abstentions 0.

Motion agreed to.

That the Parliament agrees, as an addition to the Business Motion agreed on 7 December 2000:

Wednesday 13 December 2000 after the first Parliamentary Bureau Motions, insert followed by Debate on Motion of No Confidence