Point of Order

– in the Scottish Parliament at 5:00 pm on 2nd October 2008.

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Photo of Michael McMahon Michael McMahon Labour 5:00 pm, 2nd October 2008

On a point of order, Presiding Officer. It is normally understood that, as a courtesy to both constituency and list members, when a minister visits a constituency or makes an announcement from a constituency, those members are advised of that occurrence. The Labour and Liberal ministers previously had failings in that regard and it is understandable that, on occasions, the current ministers will make similar errors. However, when previous failures occurred it was regarded as an oversight rather than as a deliberate slight. Parliament's standing orders require courtesy to members and the ministerial code of conducts requires more—that both MSPs and MPs be treated with courtesy in such circumstances.

This morning, an announcement was made by the Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning. I am advised that the constituency MSP and the MP were told, but I know for a fact that the Labour list MSPs were not told. In the circumstances, it is difficult to understand how an oversight could have occurred, as some members were advised of the visit but others were deliberately not advised. Presiding Officer, can you advise me whether the matter falls under the Parliament's standing orders or under the ministerial code of conduct, so that this discourtesy towards members may be addressed?

Photo of Alex Fergusson Alex Fergusson None

As the member has been made aware, the matter does not fall under the standing orders. It is, therefore, not a matter for me. However, I am sure that the Government would wish to discuss the question of courtesy among ministers, so I advise the member that he might wish to pursue the matter under the ministerial code of conduct.