Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament at 3:54 pm on 8th March 2007.

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Photo of Mark Ballard Mark Ballard Green 3:54 pm, 8th March 2007

I respect the fact that the Scottish parliamentary standards commissioner ruled against Brian Monteith, but I am genuinely concerned about how minority reports and minority opinions are treated by committees. There is a lack of clarity about the rules in such situations.

I understand from reading the standards commissioner's judgment that Brian Monteith might have fallen foul of the rules, but in a situation where there is such a lack of clarity about what the rules mean; in a situation where there were, as we heard from Brian Adam, two press releases with different uses of the word "embargo"; and in a situation where we routinely issue press releases on a no-approach basis, which do not always give minority opinions the same exposure as the views of the majority, we have a genuine concern that the matter needs to be addressed by the Procedures Committee. We need clear rules so that nobody can claim that a lack of clarity has led to a situation like the one that we are in today.

For that reason, the Greens will abstain from the vote on the motion.