Point of Order

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament at 2:33 pm on 27 June 2007.

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Photo of Robert Brown Robert Brown Liberal Democrat 2:33, 27 June 2007

On a point of order, Presiding Officer. I want to raise a point of order that is germane both to the ministerial statement and to the motion on transport that we will debate this afternoon.

The Scottish National Party promised to come back to the chamber before the summer recess for a vote on the Edinburgh trams and the Edinburgh airport rail link. During the debate on 7 June, the minister Stewart Stevenson specifically stated:

"We will consider the report" of the Auditor General

"swiftly and return to the Parliament before the summer recess, to set out our position clearly and concisely."—[Official Report, 7 June 2007; c 460.]

Whatever else today's motion is, it does not set out a position that is clear and concise. It is an abdication of responsibility by the Government on this issue. The SNP motion simply invites the Parliament to read the SNP manifesto—an obsolete document if ever there was one, given the number of key commitments that have already been binned.

It cannot be in order for the Government to bring to this chamber a motion that ignores the future of the issue that the Government promised to bring to us—the motion simply notes the manifesto. However, the situation is worse than that: the motion asks the chamber to endorse the SNP's transport priorities. How can we possibly do that? The Government has published no transport plans.

We are about to hear a statement that the spokespeople of the other parties received an hour or so ago, and of which the rest of the chamber has no knowledge. That is no way for a modern Government and Parliament to conduct business. I therefore ask you, Presiding Officer, to advise the chamber whether that is in order, and whether you approve of the Government's reneging on its promises to the chamber in this way. What action can you take as a consequence?