Points of Order

– in the Scottish Parliament at 12:30 pm on 4th December 2008.

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Photo of Mike Rumbles Mike Rumbles Liberal Democrat 12:30 pm, 4th December 2008

On a point of order, Presiding Officer. During First Minister's question time, the First Minister said that the Minister for Justice would prevent searches of MSPs' offices by the police. My point of order—[ Interruption. ] Just listen, First Minister. My point of order is not about the veracity of what the First Minister said. Presiding Officer, you have made it clear often enough that you are not responsible for adjudicating on the veracity of what is said in the chamber, but I want to ensure that Parliament is not misled. As you will be aware, I raised this issue at the Parliamentary Bureau meeting. Are you willing to make a statement to Parliament as soon as possible about the proper processes involved if, at any point in the future, the police put such a request before you?

Photo of Alex Fergusson Alex Fergusson None

Thank you for the point of order. As you are aware, Mr Rumbles, you raised the issue at the bureau meeting on Tuesday. The matter is under consideration and the Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body and the bureau will be informed of the outcome of those deliberations in due course.

Photo of Alex Salmond Alex Salmond First Minister of Scotland, Leader, Scottish National Party

Further to the point of order, Presiding Officer. I actually said—it can be checked in the Official Report —that the Minister for Justice has no plans to send in police to MSPs' offices. That is factually correct and Mr Rumbles, in pursuing his wider concerns, should note it.

Photo of Alex Fergusson Alex Fergusson None

That is not a point of order, but it will be in the Official Report .

Photo of Margo MacDonald Margo MacDonald Independent

Further to the point of order, Presiding Officer. I had meant to write to you on this matter. A precedent might have been set when, on one occasion, the police were invited on to the floor of the chamber and into the gallery to remove members of the press corps. In that light, it is perhaps apposite that you rule on privilege in this place.

Photo of Alex Fergusson Alex Fergusson None

I can save you the trouble of writing, Ms MacDonald. As I have said, the matter is under consideration.

Photo of Rt Hon Jack McConnell Rt Hon Jack McConnell Labour

Further to the point of order, Presiding Officer. I note that, last week, the Parliamentary Bureau agreed that you will present an adjudication on this matter to the bureau and others in due course. However, given this week's events at Westminster and the seriousness of the matter there and for elected parliamentarians anywhere in the United Kingdom, I think that it would be appropriate for your adjudication to be reported to the full chamber when all members are present rather than in the business bulletin or to the bureau. I hope that you will take that point on board.

Photo of Alex Fergusson Alex Fergusson None

I hear what the former First Minister says and will reflect on his point at the appropriate time.

Meeting suspended until 14:15.

On resuming—