O n a point of order, Presiding Officer. I seek your clarification with regard to the standing orders. No doubt you will have seen the news reports on the actions of civil servants who work for the Scottish Government with regard to evidence taking by the Education and Skills Committee on the named person policy. As a member of that committee, I was deeply disappointed to read that civil servants who work on behalf of Mr Swinney have allegedly made inappropriate requests to clerks. They included asking clerks to hand over the identities of future committee witnesses and asking to have Government officials sitting in on focus groups conducted by the committee. I have written in full to you with the specifics of my request, Presiding Officer, but I ask, under section 9.6(a) of the MSPs’ code of conduct, for clarification on whether you think that rules 7.3 and 7.8 of the standing orders have been breached. I am sure that you will agree that the independence and impartiality of Parliament are paramount.
I thank Mr Johnson for notifying me in advance that he intended to raise a point of order. However, there was not enough time to be able to investigate the matter in the depth that I would have liked. I am aware of the issue as a result of reading reports in the papers and talking to Education and Skills Committee clerks, but I would like time to deliberate further on it. Therefore, I will bring it back to one of next week’s meetings and inform members of my decision at that point.
The Presiding Officer:
Thank you, Mr Dornan. If Mr Dornan will allow me, I will deliberate on the matter. It may be very much for the committee to decide. I will let everybody know in the chamber next week.