Point of Order

– in the Scottish Parliament at 4:52 pm on 5th March 2003.

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Photo of Alex Fergusson Alex Fergusson Conservative 4:52 pm, 5th March 2003

On a point of order, Presiding Officer, of which I have given you written notice. At 12.26 this afternoon, according to my e-mail, the National Farmers Union of Scotland issued a press release saying that the Executive is to lodge a number of amendments to the Agricultural Holdings (Scotland) Bill that will

"achieve radical changes which were not envisaged when this process began over three years ago."

That suggests that others have been made privy to details of Executive amendments of which members of the Scottish Parliament have still not been made aware. I understand that the amendments will not be lodged until Friday at the earliest, which will leave precious little time for scrutiny of those amendments to that serious piece of legislation. Presiding Officer, I ask you whether you consider that to be in order.

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

I am afraid that I cannot give a very helpful ruling in response to that question. I am grateful to the member for giving me advance notice of his point of order. However, I have not seen the amendments to which he refers, so I am not in a position to take a view of the nature of the amendments, nor can I speculate about whether they have been seen by third parties. In general terms, there is nothing to prevent details of amendments from being discussed with others prior to their being lodged; that is quite normal. However, the member might wish to raise the matter again when we have seen the amendments.