Schedule 1 — Water Industry Commissioner and Customer Panels: Further Provision

Part of Water Industry (Scotland) Bill: Stage 3 – in the Scottish Parliament at 12:30 pm on 14th February 2002.

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Photo of Fiona McLeod Fiona McLeod Scottish National Party 12:30 pm, 14th February 2002

I will speak to amendment 93 and to the generalities of all the amendments. I apologise for any confusion earlier, Presiding Officer.

Those amendments are intended to ensure that the appointments of the water industry commissioner, the convener of the water customer consultation panels and members of the board of Scottish Water, which are powerful positions in the Scottish water industry, have parliamentary approval. I thought that every member would want that.

I will talk about the role of the convener of the customer consultation panels—or conveners, if amendments 106 and 107 from the Scott twins are agreed to, of which I would approve. The convener of those panels will be the voice and face of millions of customers. They cannot be a ministerial placeman or placewoman and they cannot be a ministerial mouthpiece. We know from last week's revelations that we still have no independent scrutiny of ministerial appointments. Only parliamentary approval of such pivotal appointments will lift them above political interference.

I ask all members to vote for amendments 92, 93 and 95.