First Minister

Part of Contract Research Staff – in the Scottish Parliament at 3:18 pm on 22nd November 2001.

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Photo of John Swinney John Swinney Scottish National Party 3:18 pm, 22nd November 2001

That is one test that he has passed. I do not intend to ask the First Minister about that next Thursday—but that is enough warning if I do.

Mr McConnell said that some important decisions could stretch across party boundaries. I welcome that. The SNP has good ideas—I know that that is sometimes hard to imagine, but it does—and it offers them in the genuine spirit of debate, although they are often rebuffed by the traditional party-political arguments of Westminster, which I thought that we came here not to repeat. [Applause.] I have attracted some applause from the Liberal Democrats, which I hope is a good sign.

If Mr McConnell is interested in a positive debate about the future of Scotland, one in which he genuinely listens to the views of the Opposition, we will take part willingly in that debate. When he says and does wise things, we will say so, but when he deserves a hard time, we will give him one.