Amendment 45's purpose is to bring Scotland into line with the other countries of the United Kingdom by ensuring that our contingency plan has a statutory basis. We need a statutory framework, which must be flexible. We need due process, because we cannot rely for ever on old Uncle Ross or, indeed, Ted
Unfortunately, the recent avian flu contingency plan does not mention the organic farming bodies. Organic poultry producers were not consulted on it, although they are key stakeholders that would be affected by a disease outbreak. We need due process. We need a process that considers how we produce contingency plans, how they are laid before Parliament, how they are consulted on and how they are published. Surely that is not too much to ask. That is best practice in the rest of the UK.
We do not want the minister to be challenged—as he rightly was in 2001—in the middle of a disease outbreak because people believe that he has acted unreasonably by not having a framework for operating with a contingency plan. We need flexibility and due process. I ask members to ensure that we get that by voting for amendment 45.
I move amendment 45.
I am not sure whether Mark Ruskell understands precisely what he calls for. He says that he wants flexibility, but his amendment 45 calls for all the diseases that are specified in section 32E of the Animal Health Act 1981 to be dealt with in a single contingency plan. Perhaps he wishes us to align ourselves with other countries in the United Kingdom, but we are here in Scotland, and our agriculture and poultry industries have found it much more helpful to have separate contingency plans for foot-and-mouth disease, Newcastle disease, avian influenza and other exotic diseases. Those plans have been welcomed by the industry, which has been clear that it would prefer to have individual plans that deal with specific circumstances that might arise and for which we ought to plan.
Review under a contingency plan is not the issue. People's actions can be reviewed only in terms of whether they have properly complied with a law. Amendment 45's rigid requirement for all the diseases under section 32E of the 1981 act to be brought into a single plan is not how the industry in Scotland wishes us to proceed.
Let us be clear about the organic sector. We supported the exemption of organic producers from avian influenza measures after consulting them, and we were among those who successfully lobbied the European Union to change the regulations in that regard. Our plans did not prevent us doing that.
I urge members to reject amendment 45.
I am not sure how the minister knows that the whole industry is behind his
Division number 6
For: Ballance, Chris, Ballard, Mark, Byrne, Ms Rosemary, Canavan, Dennis, Harper, Robin, Harvie, Patrick, Ruskell, Mr Mark, Scott, Eleanor
Against: Aitken, Bill, Arbuckle, Mr Andrew, Baillie, Jackie, Baker, Richard, Barrie, Scott, Boyack, Sarah, Brankin, Rhona, Brocklebank, Mr Ted, Brownlee, Derek, Butler, Bill, Chisholm, Malcolm, Craigie, Cathie, Curran, Ms Margaret, Davidson, Mr David, Douglas-Hamilton, Lord James, Eadie, Helen, Ferguson, Patricia, Fergusson, Alex, Finnie, Ross, Fraser, Murdo, Gillon, Karen, Glen, Marlyn, Godman, Trish, Gordon, Mr Charlie, Gorrie, Donald, Home Robertson, John, Hughes, Janis, Jackson, Dr Sylvia, Jamieson, Cathy, Jamieson, Margaret, Johnstone, Alex, Kerr, Mr Andy, Lamont, Johann, Livingstone, Marilyn, Lyon, George, Macdonald, Lewis, MacDonald, Margo, Macmillan, Maureen, Martin, Campbell, Martin, Paul, May, Christine, McCabe, Mr Tom, McConnell, Mr Jack, McGrigor, Mr Jamie, McLetchie, David, McMahon, Michael, Milne, Mrs Nanette, Mitchell, Margaret, Muldoon, Bristow, Mulligan, Mrs Mary, Munro, John Farquhar, Murray, Dr Elaine, Oldfather, Irene, Peacock, Peter, Peattie, Cathy, Petrie, Dave, Pringle, Mike, Purvis, Jeremy, Radcliffe, Nora, Robson, Euan, Scott, John, Scott, Tavish, Smith, Elaine, Smith, Margaret, Stone, Mr Jamie, Swinburne, John, Tosh, Murray, Whitefield, Karen, Wilson, Allan
Abstentions: Adam, Brian, Crawford, Bruce, Ewing, Fergus, Fabiani, Linda, Gibson, Rob, Grahame, Christine, Hyslop, Fiona, Ingram, Mr Adam, Lochhead, Richard, MacAskill, Mr Kenny, Marwick, Tricia, Mather, Jim, Matheson, Michael, Maxwell, Mr Stewart, McFee, Mr Bruce, Morgan, Alasdair, Neil, Alex, Robison, Shona, Stevenson, Stewart, Watt, Ms Maureen, Welsh, Mr Andrew, White, Ms Sandra
I will explain my application of rule 9.8.5A. The rule allows any member to lodge a motion without notice to extend a debate on a grouping of amendments. The