Point of Order

– in the Scottish Parliament at 2:56 pm on 28 June 2007.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Mike Rumbles Mike Rumbles Liberal Democrat 2:56, 28 June 2007

On a point of order, Presiding Officer. I make this point of order under rule 9.1.6(a) of the code of conduct for members of the Scottish Parliament.

In today's edition of the Aberdeen Evening Express there is a report on yesterday's debate on transport, which says of the Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Climate Change:

"Mr Stevenson at one point angrily suggested that anybody who voted to support trams and the airport rail link in Edinburgh ... would be voting against the Aberdeen bypass.

When pressed on this by the Evening Express after the debate, Mr Stevenson withdrew the accusation."

The paper quotes Mr Stevenson as saying:

"It was just a debating point to wind them up."

Presiding Officer, is it not—[Interruption.] Members might laugh, but this is a serious point. Is it not inappropriate for any MSP—minister or not—to say something to the Parliament that they know to be untrue? The minister's comment calls into question the veracity of what he said yesterday about the Aberdeen western peripheral route. If he made a comment that he knows to be untrue, what are we to make of other comments?

An MSP saw fit to apologise to a newspaper reporter but did not see fit to come to the Parliament at the earliest opportunity to apologise to his colleagues. Does not that behaviour show disrespect to the Parliament?

I would appreciate your guidance on the matter, Presiding Officer. Please note that I raise it not under the Scottish ministerial code, for which you have no remit, but under the code of conduct for MSPs, which applies to us all.

Photo of Alex Fergusson Alex Fergusson None

Thank you for giving notice of the point of order.

Despite what you say, points of order are, by definition, about the standing orders of the Scottish Parliament and not about the code of conduct for MSPs. If you want to raise the matter as a standards issue, you should write to me and I will consider the matter under paragraph 9.1.6(a) of the code of conduct.

Photo of Mike Rumbles Mike Rumbles Liberal Democrat

On a point of clarification, Presiding Officer. I understand that under the code of conduct you are responsible for conduct in the chamber. Are you suggesting that I write to you rather than raise the matter verbally?

Photo of Alex Fergusson Alex Fergusson None

That is exactly what I am suggesting.