Only a few days to go: We’re raising £25,000 to keep TheyWorkForYou running and make sure people across the UK can hold their elected representatives to account.Donate to our crowdfunder
The next item of business is stage 3 proceedings on the UEFA European Championship (Scotland) Bill. In dealing with amendments, members should have with them the bill as amended at stage 2, the second revised marshalled list and the groupings of amendments.
The division bell will sound and proceedings will be suspended for five minutes for the first division of the afternoon and the period of voting for that first division will be 30 seconds. Thereafter, the period will be one minute for the first division following a debate.
Members who wish to speak in the debate on any group of amendments should press their request-to-speak buttons as soon as possible after I call that group.
Amendment 1 will make a change to section 20(2) that I believe will be beneficial as a result of changes to section 20(1) on the use of reasonable force that were made at stage 2.
The stage 2 amendments resulted from constructive discussions that I had with Ross Greer about the important role of the police constable where the use of reasonable force is being considered. The amendments, which were agreed to unanimously, provided that only a constable can authorise the use of force.
Given that we have reframed the original power, we need to reframe the limit on the power. Amendment 1 makes it clear that, in exercising that power of authorisation, the police must not authorise an enforcement officer, or third-party assister, to use force against an individual. Therefore, an enforcement officer or third party who used force against an individual would be acting unlawfully. That was the case as the provision was originally drafted, with the amendment simply ensuring that the manner in which the restriction is imposed is consistent with the way that the power is granted.
I move amendment 1.
This group contains Government amendments related to the commencement of the regulation-making powers in the bill.
Amendment 5 extends the sections of the bill that it will be possible to commence through commencement regulations to include the sections required to permit regulations to be laid on the extent and dates of operation of the event zones, trading and advertising, compensation for enforcement action and further enforcement processes.
The bill already provides for the sections required to allow the ticket-touting regulations that are to be made to be commenced through commencement regulations. In lodging amendment 5, my aim is to give certainty, as soon as possible, to those whom we expect to be affected by the regulations, so that they have time to understand them and to prepare, where required.
I want to lay regulations towards the end of January 2020, subject to the date of royal assent and to parliamentary approval of amendment 2. That would mean that the regulations could be enforced towards the end of March 2020. Under the bill’s current provisions, the regulations are unlikely to be enforced much before the end of May 2020, and the championship period begins on 1 June.
The trading and advertising offences can, of course, be committed only on the effective dates, which will be specified in the regulations and which must be between 1 June and 12 July. Amendment 5 does not change that; it simply provides for the regulations to deliver that to be confirmed further in advance of the beginning of the championship period. That will provide greater notice to those affected, which will allow them to understand and to prepare.
I think that waiting two months after royal assent, as is provided for in the bill at present, would be counterproductive, as it would create a period in which the content of the act is confirmed but businesses and others with an interest are not clear on the extent of the offences. That is particularly important for the trading and advertising offences, exceptions to which will be set out in regulations—as will the maps of the event zones and the dates on which they are in operation.
I shared illustrative regulations with Parliament on 17 October to show how the Scottish Government expects to use its powers. The Scottish Government has been working to refine the illustrative regulations since October. That work has included seeking feedback from key stakeholders. We have already incorporated some of the feedback from the lead committee, such as that we should make an exception to the street trading offence to allow busking.
There is also a requirement in the bill for Glasgow City Council to publish guidance on advertising and trading restrictions. In addition, the council will need time to process authorisations to trade or advertise in the event zones. Such authorisations will, for example, permit charity collections. Neither of those things can happen until the regulations are in force. Being able to lay the regulations sooner after royal assent, as amendment 5 proposes, will mean that the council will have more time to undertake that activity and respond to any queries that it receives.
Amendment 2 provides that the commencement regulations that are to be made under section 34(1A), as modified by amendment 5, are not subject to section 31. Section 31 sets out whether negative or affirmative procedure should be followed when making regulations under the bill. It also provides that regulations under the bill may include ancillary provisions. Those two aspects are not required for commencement regulations, because they will be subject to no procedure aside from being laid in Parliament, as is standard practice for commencement regulations, and because there is no need for the ancillary powers in relation to commencing the bill.
I therefore ask members to support amendments 2 and 5.
I move amendment 2.
I urge all members to support amendments 2 and 5 so that businesses, charities and the public as a whole can, in good time, have certainty about the restrictions and enforcement processes that will be in place during the championship period before it begins on 1 June.
Amendment 2 agreed to.
This group contains Government amendments that will make minor and technical changes to the bill.
Amendments 3 and 4 replace the references in the bill to “Police Scotland” with its proper statutory name, “the Police Service of Scotland”. “Police Scotland” is only that body’s common name, rather than its formal legal name as set out in the Police and Fire Reform (Scotland) Act 2012.
Amendment 6 adds “European” before “Championship” in the long title of the bill, ensuring clarity and consistency with the rest of the bill, specifically section 1 and the short title.
I move amendment 3.