Points of Order

– in the Scottish Parliament at 12:00 pm on 9th March 2006.

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Photo of George Reid George Reid None 12:00 pm, 9th March 2006

It is now 12 noon. We move to questions to the First Minister

Photo of George Reid George Reid None

Is your point of order so urgent that we have to take it now? Can I take it at the back end of First Minister's questions?

Photo of John Swinburne John Swinburne SSCUP

I would prefer that it was taken now, Presiding Officer.

Photo of John Swinburne John Swinburne SSCUP

I rise to highlight the most flagrant breach of the Parliament's principles. I refer to discrimination—age discrimination, in particular—which is covered by rule 6.9.1 and 6.9.2 of standing orders. I am 75 years old. However, having reached that age, I find that I am being discriminated against in this place. I should point out that I am raising this not for myself but on behalf of the others who will follow me in 2007. I want the Presiding Officer's good self to look into and rule on the matter.

Basically, under the parliamentary pension scheme—

Photo of George Reid George Reid None

What is your point of order, Mr Swinburne?

Photo of John Swinburne John Swinburne SSCUP

I am allowed three minutes in which to expand upon my point—

Photo of George Reid George Reid None

Only if you are speaking to a point of order.

Photo of John Swinburne John Swinburne SSCUP

I am being discriminated against because, of the 129 MSPs, I am the only one who comes into a separate category. If I and one of my colleagues were knocked down by a bus on the way up to this place, my colleague's family would be awarded three times his basic salary. However, I would receive nothing because I am too old. That is discrimination of the worst kind.

Photo of George Reid George Reid None

I am sorry that you find yourself in that situation, Mr Swinburne. I know that the matter is of personal importance to you, but I think that it would be better if you wrote to me. I will ensure that the parliamentary authorities respond to you.

Photo of Dennis Canavan Dennis Canavan Independent

On a different point of order, Presiding Officer. I will be very brief. Last week, for the first time ever, the independent MSPs were given a slot at First Minister's question time. Unfortunately, Margo MacDonald lost the opportunity to ask her question because the roof fell in. Why is she not being given the opportunity to ask her question this week, in the same way that last week's votes were simply postponed until this week?

Photo of George Reid George Reid None

We have already agreed the schedule until the end of June. I am afraid that we will just have to live with it.