Point of Order

– in the Scottish Parliament on 2nd April 2019.

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Photo of Patrick Harvie Patrick Harvie Green

On a point of order, Presiding Officer. I am pleased that we will have the opportunity to debate the Climate Change (Emissions Reduction Targets) (Scotland) Bill at stage 1 this afternoon. As you will be aware, it is an issue that many people across society are deeply concerned about, as we have seen from the rally outside Parliament, at which many people have been calling for changes to strengthen the bill.

Those people knew that they had to organise a rally outside Parliament, because the rules on events inside Parliament state that

“events and exhibitions must respect the wide range of existing channels for influencing parliamentary business by not lobbying on parliamentary business under current consideration”.

I was therefore surprised that members walked to the chamber past a large corporate exhibition for the fossil fuel industry, whose very existence is directly relevant to the climate crisis that the bill exists to address. Aside from the existence of that industry being relevant to climate change, the material that is promoted today includes explicit discussion—for example in a document about energy transition and low carbon—of low-carbon targets and Government climate policy.

Photo of Kenneth Macintosh Kenneth Macintosh Labour

Mr Harvie is making a political point and should get to the point of order.

Photo of Patrick Harvie Patrick Harvie Green

Why do apparent double standards exist that mean that pro-climate action campaigners must organise events outside the Parliament but the fossil fuel industry, which is implicated in causing the crisis, is lobbying inside the Parliament on a day on which we are debating the bill?

The Presiding Officer:

Thank you, Mr Harvie. It is open to any member to organise an event or an exhibition. Such events and exhibitions, which are planned well in advance, are covered by the events and exhibitions rules, not by the lobbying rules, which are a different matter altogether. That is not a point of order for the chamber.

Mr Harvie is pointing at his laptop. I hope that this is a further point of order, rather than an argument about the previous point.

Photo of Patrick Harvie Patrick Harvie Green

I am, of course, happy to accept your ruling that the matter that I raised is not a point of order, but I would be grateful for some clarity on how members can be reassured that the rule that I mentioned will be consistently applied in the future, when it has not been today.

The Presiding Officer:

That is not a point of order. There are plenty of procedures to deal with such matters outside the chamber.