Let us look at the timeline for this appointment and at how other statutory watchdogs are appointed—for example, the Scottish Information Commissioner. That commissioner is selected by a cross-party panel that is approved by Parliament. As a result, in the words of the Minister for Parliamentary Business, Joe FitzPatrick,
“The commissioner is independent of the Government” and is able to function
“without fear or favour.”—[
, 21 June 2017; c 38.]
He is right. That is exactly what we need from a Scottish Police Authority chair, as well.
The First Minister is correct to say that, five months ago, every party in the chamber, bar the SNP, signed up for Parliament to be in charge of appointing the SPA chair, to take it out of the hands of ministers and—like the appointment of the information commissioner—to put it in the hands of the whole Parliament. Five months ago, she said that she would consider that. Today, she has said the same. What has happened in between?