– in the Scottish Parliament at 5:00 pm on 13th June 2007.
The next item of business is consideration of one Parliamentary Bureau motion. I ask Bruce Crawford to move motion S3M-166, on committee membership.
That the Parliament agrees the membership of committees of the Parliament as follows:
Audit Committee Membership: Willie Coffey, Murdo Fraser, Charlie Gordon, Jim Hume, Stuart McMillan, Mary Mulligan, Dr Richard Simpson, Andrew Welsh Equal Opportunities Committee Membership: Helen Eadie, Marlyn Glen, Bill Kidd, Margaret Mitchell, Hugh O'Donnell, Elaine Smith, Sandra White, Bill Wilson European and External Relations Committee Membership: Jackie Baillie, Ted Brocklebank, Alasdair Morgan, Alex Neil, Irene Oldfather, John Park, Gil Paterson, Iain Smith Finance Committee Membership; Derek Brownlee, Joe FitzPatrick, James Kelly, Liam McArthur, Tom McCabe, Elaine Murray, Alex Neil, Andrew Welsh Public Petitions Committee Membership: Bashir Ahmad, Claire Baker, Angela Constance, Rhoda Grant, Robin Harper, Mr Frank McAveety, Tricia Marwick, Nanette Milne, John Farquhar Munro Procedures Committee Membership: Keith Brown, Cathie Craigie, Marlyn Glen, Jamie McGrigor, Christina McKelvie, Hugh O'Donnell, Dave Thompson Standards and Public Appointments Committee Membership: Keith Brown, Cathie Craigie, Marlyn Glen, Jamie McGrigor, Christina McKelvie, Hugh O'Donnell, Dave Thompson Subordinate Legislation Committee Membership: Jackson Carlaw, Helen Eadie, George Foulkes, Ian McKee, Gil Paterson, Elaine Smith, Mr Jamie Stone Justice Committee Membership: Bill Aitken, Bill Butler, Cathie Craigie, Nigel Don, Stuart McMillan, Paul Martin, Margaret Smith, John Wilson Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee Membership: Brian Adam, Gavin Brown, Iain Gray, Christopher Harvie, Marilyn Livingstone, Tavish Scott, Dave Thompson, David Whitton Transport, Infrastructure and Climate Change Committee Membership: Rob Gibson, Patrick Harvie, Alex Johnstone,
I shall speak against the motion for several reasons.
I know that the Parliament is in a difficult position and that we have to work out committee convenerships using the d'Hondt principles, but I regret and lament—in fact, my views are even stronger—that we have put the Conservatives in charge of the Equal Opportunities Committee: it is like putting Attila the Hun in charge of care in the community. I will not, therefore, support the motion.
Further, during previous parliamentary sessions, I have served on as many as three committees at once. It is not that I am shy of working hard. I was a committed and hard-working member of three committees during the previous session, when at least one member was not a member of any committee, but if the motion is agreed to this evening I will resign immediately from the Equal Opportunities Committee and the Subordinate Legislation Committee.
There is an issue here for the Procedures Committee, which must address whether the Parliamentary Bureau should propose a member's name if that member has not agreed to their nomination. I urge the Procedures Committee to consider that.
I will not support the motion and serve notice that, as a protest, I will write to you, Presiding Officer, and resign immediately from both of the committees for which I have been nominated. I do not intend to disrespect the individual members of the Conservative party, because I have worked with several colleagues in that party for some time and I greatly respect and admire them, but I will not stand by and watch the Tories being put in charge of equal opportunities in Scotland.
On a point of order, Presiding Officer. As I am the only front-bench Conservative spokesman present—others are coming—I would like to say that it is absolutely outrageous that Mrs Eadie should make such suggestions to slur the Conservative party, and I invite her to substantiate them.
That is not a point of order. Mrs Eadie made it quite plain that she was not making a personal attack on the Conservative party. Minister, would you like to respond?
I was unaware that Helen Eadie had this angst. I assure her that when it came to the d'Hondt process, the Conservatives were delighted to be given the convenership of the Equal Opportunities Committee. There were queues of members who wanted to serve on the Equal Opportunities Committee and the Subordinate Legislation Committee. They are important committees, and I know that that view is shared throughout the chamber.
The committees must get on with the important business that they were designed to undertake. I suggest that we press ahead with some urgency and pass the business motion. It will be up to the Labour party to sort out the problems it has with this particular member.