Business Motions

– in the Scottish Parliament at 4:59 pm on 18th March 2009.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Alex Fergusson Alex Fergusson None 4:59 pm, 18th March 2009

The next item of business is consideration of business motion S3M-3717, in the name of Bruce Crawford, on behalf of the Parliamentary Bureau, setting out a business programme.

Motion moved,

That the Parliament agrees the following programme of business— Wednesday 25 March 2009

2.30 pm Time for Reflection followed by Parliamentary Bureau Motions followed by Standards, Procedures and Public Appointments Committee Debate: Review of Section 6 of the Code of Conduct (Cross-Party Groups)

followed by Standards, Procedures and Public Appointments Committee Debate: Changes to the Code of Conduct Arising from the Reimbursement of Members' Expenses Scheme followed by Standards, Procedures and Public Appointments Committee Debate: Review of Section 8 of the Code of Conduct followed by Announcement of Appointment of Scottish Public Services Ombudsman followed by Scottish Government Debate: Local Government Finance Act 1992 (Scotland) Amendment Order 2009 followed by Business Motion followed by Parliamentary Bureau Motions

5.00 pm Decision Time followed by Members' Business Thursday 26 March 2009

9.15 am Parliamentary Bureau Motions followed by Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party Business

11.40 am General Question Time 12 noon First Minister's Question Time

2.15 pm Themed Question Time Rural Affairs and the Environment; Justice and Law Officers

2.55 pm Scottish Government Debate: Supporting Economic Recovery followed by Parliamentary Bureau Motions

5.00 pm Decision Time followed by Members' Business Wednesday 1 April 2009

2.30 pm Time for Reflection followed by Parliamentary Bureau Motions followed by Scottish Government Business followed by Business Motion followed by Parliamentary Bureau Motions

5.00 pm Decision Time followed by Members' Business Thursday 2 April 2009

9.15 am Parliamentary Bureau Motions followed by Scottish Government Business

11.40 am General Question Time 12 noon First Minister's Question Time

2.15 pm Themed Question Time Finance and Sustainable Growth

2.55 pm Scottish Government Business followed by Parliamentary Bureau Motions

5.00 pm Decision Time followed by Members' Business—[Bruce Crawford.]

Photo of Alex Fergusson Alex Fergusson None

Jeremy Purvis has indicated that he wishes to speak against the motion.

Photo of Jeremy Purvis Jeremy Purvis Liberal Democrat 5:00 pm, 18th March 2009

It is with regret that I rise to speak against the business motion that sets out the business programme for next week. I do so noting that the SNP has lodged two further Sewell motions today. At one point last autumn, more devolved legislation was going through the Westminster Parliament than was going through the Scottish Parliament.

Next week, the SNP proposes to hold yet another debate on the economy without a resolution of the Parliament. The difficulty with the business motion is not that it proposes a debate on the economy but that, yet again, the Government is asking us to debate an issue of its choosing without testing the Parliament's opinion on its actions. The Government may say in response that it is important that the Parliament speaks with one voice on the issue of economic recovery, but in order for the Parliament to have a voice, it must pass a resolution after a debate, rather than there being Government assertion without debate.

We have some common cause with the Government on the economy. We brought to the Parliament a debate on the merger of Lloyds TSB and HBOS, and the Parliament voted against the merger. The vote was welcomed by Kenneth Clarke in another place and described as reckless and unwise by the Conservatives in this place, but that example shows that the Parliament needs to pass resolutions on the important issues that face the economy.

There are occasions when it is appropriate for the Parliament to have subject debates. The standing orders allow that, but they present subject debates as an exception to the rule. The Government seems to prefer them to debates with motions. In the previous session of Parliament, there were five subject debates. Since the SNP came into office, there have been 16 such debates, and, as the First Minister might say, we are only halfway through.

It would be wholly inappropriate to debate the economy next week without a Government motion. The Government obviously takes the view that no one is bothered whether it lodges a motion or not. This morning, it published "Progress on the Scottish Economic Recovery Programme", but it is not seeking a debate next week in which the Parliament can note that document. On the very day when the Government promotes its policies, it judges it inappropriate for the Parliament to have a say on whether it is satisfied with them. The Government considers the Parliament to be superfluous in many areas, unless of course it sees an opportunity to ditch manifesto commitments. That is a pick-and-mix approach to parliamentary accountability.

There is no disagreement that the Parliament should be united on the need for economic recovery, but we abrogate our responsibility if we deny that there needs to be debate and a resolution on what the Parliament believes are the right measures to bring that about. That is why I hope that the Government will think again and will test the Parliament's opinion rather than just use its time.

Photo of Bruce Crawford Bruce Crawford Scottish National Party 5:03 pm, 18th March 2009

If Jeremy Purvis is right and the Parliament has had 16 debates without a motion, not only must the Parliamentary Bureau have agreed that those debates should take place but the Parliament must have agreed.

At a time of unprecedented economic uncertainty, the last thing that the Parliament needs—and, more important, the last thing that the public need—is politicians who are more concerned about internal party politics and about who voted for what than about economic recovery. What the public want is an understanding that politicians have the vision, the plans and the imagination to address the problems that individuals and businesses are facing. A debate without a motion will give members in all parts of the chamber the chance to have a full, open and frank debate about how best we can help our country through the recession and come out of the other side stronger. A subject debate will enable members to put forward ideas, views and proposals without the constraint of having to address a particular party position.

Since October, the Parliament has had 12 debates and nine statements with strong economic themes. There will be plenty more opportunities to have debates with motions in the future, because, as we all know, the economic problems will be with us for some considerable time yet.

In next week's debate, Labour members will, no doubt, wish to criticise elements of the Scottish Government's economic recovery plan. They might even want to praise some of it. I have no doubt that, on our side, we will have some criticisms of the United Kingdom Government's position, but no doubt we will want to praise some aspects of it as well. Surely the Tories will want to put under the microscope the proposals of both the Scottish and UK Governments. We will leave it to the Liberals to argue fiercely about parliamentary processes while the rest of us address the issues that concern the people of Scotland.

Photo of Alex Fergusson Alex Fergusson None

The question is, that motion S3M-3717, in the name of Bruce Crawford, be agreed to. Are we agreed?

Members:

No.

Division number 1

For: Aitken, Bill, Alexander, Ms Wendy, Allan, Alasdair, Baker, Claire, Baker, Richard, Boyack, Sarah, Brocklebank, Ted, Brown, Gavin, Brown, Keith, Brownlee, Derek, Butler, Bill, Campbell, Aileen, Carlaw, Jackson, Chisholm, Malcolm, Coffey, Willie, Craigie, Cathie, Crawford, Bruce, Cunningham, Roseanna, Curran, Margaret, Don, Nigel, Doris, Bob, Eadie, Helen, Ewing, Fergus, Fabiani, Linda, Ferguson, Patricia, FitzPatrick, Joe, Fraser, Murdo, Gibson, Kenneth, Gibson, Rob, Glen, Marlyn, Godman, Trish, Goldie, Annabel, Gordon, Charlie, Grahame, Christine, Grant, Rhoda, Gray, Iain, Harvie, Christopher, Henry, Hugh, Hepburn, Jamie, Hyslop, Fiona, Ingram, Adam, Jamieson, Cathy, Johnstone, Alex, Kelly, James, Kerr, Andy, Kidd, Bill, Lamont, Johann, Lamont, John, Lochhead, Richard, MacAskill, Kenny, Macdonald, Lewis, Macintosh, Ken, Martin, Paul, Marwick, Tricia, Mather, Jim, Matheson, Michael, McAveety, Mr Frank, McCabe, Tom, McConnell, Jack, McGrigor, Jamie, McKee, Ian, McKelvie, Christina, McLaughlin, Anne, McLetchie, David, McMahon, Michael, McMillan, Stuart, McNeil, Duncan, McNeill, Pauline, McNulty, Des, Milne, Nanette, Morgan, Alasdair, Mulligan, Mary, Murray, Elaine, Neil, Alex, Oldfather, Irene, Paterson, Gil, Peacock, Peter, Robison, Shona, Russell, Michael, Salmond, Alex, Scanlon, Mary, Scott, John, Simpson, Dr Richard, Smith, Elaine, Smith, Elizabeth, Somerville, Shirley-Anne, Stevenson, Stewart, Stewart, David, Sturgeon, Nicola, Swinney, John, Thompson, Dave, Watt, Maureen, White, Sandra, Whitefield, Karen, Whitton, David, Wilson, Bill, Wilson, John
Against: Brown, Robert, Finnie, Ross, Harper, Robin, Harvie, Patrick, Hume, Jim, McArthur, Liam, McInnes, Alison, Munro, John Farquhar, O'Donnell, Hugh, Pringle, Mike, Purvis, Jeremy, Rumbles, Mike, Scott, Tavish, Smith, Iain, Smith, Margaret, Stephen, Nicol, Stone, Jamie, Tolson, Jim

Photo of Alex Fergusson Alex Fergusson None

The result of the division is: For 97, Against 18, Abstentions 0.

Motion agreed to,

That the Parliament agrees the following programme of business— Wednesday 25 March 2009

2.30 pm Time for Reflection followed by Parliamentary Bureau Motions followed by Standards, Procedures and Public Appointments Committee Debate: Review of Section 6 of the Code of Conduct (Cross-Party Groups)

followed by Standards, Procedures and Public Appointments Committee Debate: Changes to the Code of Conduct Arising from the Reimbursement of Members' Expenses Scheme followed by Standards, Procedures and Public Appointments Committee Debate: Review of Section 8 of the Code of Conduct followed by Announcement of Appointment of Scottish Public Services Ombudsman followed by Scottish Government Debate: Local Government Finance Act 1992 (Scotland) Amendment Order 2009 followed by Business Motion followed by Parliamentary Bureau Motions

5.00 pm Decision Time followed by Members' Business Thursday 26 March 2009

9.15 am Parliamentary Bureau Motions followed by Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party Business

11.40 am General Question Time 12 noon First Minister's Question Time

2.15 pm Themed Question Time Rural Affairs and the Environment; Justice and Law Officers

2.55 pm Scottish Government Debate: Supporting Economic Recovery followed by Parliamentary Bureau Motions

5.00 pm Decision Time followed by Members' Business Wednesday 1 April 2009

2.30 pm Time for Reflection followed by Parliamentary Bureau Motions followed by Scottish Government Business followed by Business Motion followed by Parliamentary Bureau Motions

5.00 pm Decision Time followed by Members' Business Thursday 2 April 2009

9.15 am Parliamentary Bureau Motions followed by Scottish Government Business

11.40 am General Question Time 12 noon First Minister's Question Time

2.15 pm Themed Question Time Finance and Sustainable Growth

2.55 pm Scottish Government Business followed by Parliamentary Bureau Motions

5.00 pm Decision Time followed by Members' Business

Photo of Alex Fergusson Alex Fergusson None

The next item of business is consideration of business motion S3M-3718, in the name of Bruce Crawford, on behalf of the Parliamentary Bureau—[ Interruption. ] If members want to know what this is about, it would be as well for them to listen. The motion sets out a timetable for stage 1 of the Criminal Justice and Licensing (Scotland) Bill.

Motion moved,

That the Parliament agrees that consideration of the Criminal Justice and Licensing (Scotland) Bill at Stage 1 be completed by 9 October 2009.—[Bruce Crawford.]

Motion agreed to.