Business Motion

– in the Scottish Parliament on 22nd September 2021.

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Photo of Alison Johnstone Alison Johnstone Green

The next item of business is consideration of business motion S6M-01328, in the name of George Adam, on behalf of the Parliamentary Bureau, setting out a business programme.

Motion moved,

That the Parliament agrees—

(a) the following programme of business—

Tuesday 28 September 2021

2.00 pm Time for Reflection followed by

Parliamentary Bureau Motions followed by

Topical Questions (if selected) followed by

First Minister’s Statement: COVID-19 Update followed by

Scottish Government Debate: Keeping the Lifeline - A Call to Cancel the Cut to Universal Credit followed by

Environmental Standards Scotland: Appointment of the Chief Executive followed by

Committee Announcements followed by

Business Motions followed by

Parliamentary Bureau Motions

5.00 pm Decision Time followed by

Members’ Business

Wednesday 29 September 2021

2.00 pm Parliamentary Bureau Motions

2.00 pm Portfolio Questions:

Health and Social Care;

Social Justice,

Housing and Local Government followed by

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party Business followed by

Business Motions followed by

Parliamentary Bureau Motions

5.10 pm Decision Time followed by

Members’ Business

Thursday 30 September 2021

11.40 am Parliamentary Bureau Motions

11.40 am General Questions

12.00 pm First Minister’s Questions followed by

Members’ Business

2.30 pm Parliamentary Bureau Motions

2.30 pm Portfolio Questions:

Constitution, External Affairs and Culture followed by

Ministerial Statement: Autumn and Winter Vaccine Programme followed by

Scottish Government Debate: Constitution, External Affairs and Culture followed by

Business Motions followed by

Parliamentary Bureau Motions

5.00 pm Decision Time

Tuesday 5 October 2021

2.00 pm Time for Reflection followed by

Parliamentary Bureau Motions followed by

Topical Questions (if selected) followed by

First Minister’s Statement: COVID-19 Update followed by

Scottish Government Business followed by

Committee Announcements followed by

Business Motions followed by

Parliamentary Bureau Motions

5.00 pm Decision Time followed by

Members’ Business

Wednesday 6 October 2021

2.00 pm Parliamentary Bureau Motions

2.00 pm Portfolio Questions:

Justice and Veterans;

Finance and Economy followed by

Scottish Government Business followed by

Business Motions followed by

Parliamentary Bureau Motions

5.00 pm Decision Time followed by

Members’ Business

Thursday 7 October 2021

11.40 am Parliamentary Bureau Motions

11.40 am General Questions

12.00 pm First Minister's Questions followed by

Members’ Business

2.30 pm Parliamentary Bureau Motions

2.30 pm Portfolio Questions: Education and Skills followed by

Stage 3 Proceedings: Carer’s Allowance Supplement (Scotland) Bill followed by

Parliamentary Bureau Motions

5.00 pm Decision Time

(b) that, for the purposes of Portfolio Questions in the week beginning 27 September 2021, in rule 13.7.3, after the word “except” the words “to the extent to which the Presiding Officer considers that the questions are on the same or similar subject matter or” are inserted.—[

George Adam

]

The Presiding Officer:

Any member who wishes to contribute should press their request-to-speak button now. I call Stephen Kerr.

The Presiding Officer:

I am sorry. Excuse me for one moment, Mr Kerr.

Thank you, Mr Kerr. If you could just bear with me, we will hear from Mr Bibby first.

Photo of Neil Bibby Neil Bibby Labour

I wish to move an amendment to the business motion, requiring a ministerial statement to take place on Covid vaccination certificates. Scottish Labour requested that at the Parliamentary Bureau both last week and this week.

Parliament voted for certification after the Scottish Government brought forward a debate, but it did so before the Government could set out how the scheme would be implemented. The Government rightly saw the importance of debating the principle of the certification in Parliament. We did not support the Government’s proposals, but it is equally important that there is now proper and full scrutiny in the chamber of the Government’s implementation of the scheme.

The First Minister’s Covid updates are on a range of issues and we need dedicated time, so that members can raise the many questions that they have about the implementation of the scheme. Many sectors of the Scottish economy have questions that they want us to raise on their behalf, and we learned today that the Night Time Industries Association is launching a legal challenge.

The scheme will have a massive impact on businesses and workers and it will go live at the end of next week. We need a statement, because there are still too many unanswered questions. For example, where is the economic impact assessment? Will one be carried out? There are further questions about what is and is not a nightclub and detailed questions for venues that do not normally have door staff about how and when enforcement will be carried out.

I would not expect the Minister for Parliamentary Business to be able to answer those questions now. That is why we need a dedicated ministerial statement, or another debate if the Government wants one, in the chamber to address the many outstanding concerns that our constituents have.

I move amendment S6M-01328.1, to insert after “First Minister’s Statement: COVID-19 Update”,

“ followed by

Ministerial Statement: COVID-19 Vaccine Certification Scheme”.

Photo of Stephen Kerr Stephen Kerr Conservative

Thank you, Presiding Officer.

After a false start, I rise to speak against today’s business motion. The proposed programme does not include a further debate on the details of the Scottish Government’s shambolic vaccination certification plans. Although we will support Neil Bibby’s amendment, we believe that the final business motion, if amended, still falls short of an adequate level of scrutiny. Members should need no reminder that it is the business of Parliament to scrutinise the Executive.

After weeks of the Deputy First Minister dodging questions on the definition of a nightclub, yesterday the First Minister believed that she had clarified the matter. In fact, her definition raised more questions than it answered. Dr Liz Cameron, chief executive of the Scottish Chambers of Commerce, said that the Government’s new definition will mean that

“thousands of ... businesses will now be caught up in vaccine certification rules, with little time left to understand, plan and implement” them. She also said that the Scottish Government was now going

“beyond what was initially proposed.”

Each time the Deputy First Minister dodged the question, it was Scottish businesses that lost out. Each time a Scottish National Party back bencher read a Google definition of a nightclub, in what I am sure they though was a clever debate rebuttal, it added to the confusion for Scottish businesses.

With the First Minister’s new definition, thousands of business owners are despairing at being included in the category of nightclub despite being nothing of the sort. There is genuine confusion. The First Minister might assume a certain level of intelligence among those to whom she speaks, but I, for one, would prefer that the Government explained itself, rather than suggest that those who do not understand are simply stupid.

I hear that a legal challenge is now being mounted. Presiding Officer, we must have more time to properly scrutinise the proposals in a meaningful way. The business motion does not allocate time to do so, which is why we will oppose it at decision time.

The Presiding Officer:

I call George Adam to respond on behalf of the Parliamentary Bureau.

Photo of George Adam George Adam Scottish National Party

When I took on the role of Minister for Parliamentary Business, I vowed that I would be reasonable with colleagues in the Parliament. On numerous occasions, I have said to Mr Bibby that there will be times when we can work together, and I will be able to ensure that he gets a statement that he has requested, and there will be other times when I will not be able to do so. I will give the reasons why that is the case here shortly.

I have tried to be reasonable. From Mr Kerr’s contribution just now, we can see how difficult it is to be a reasonable individual when trying to work through the business that we have in front of us. How can I be reasonable with someone who is constantly showboating and playing to the gallery? It is impossible to deal with that.

The issue of how vaccination certification works is extremely important, and it is my position that we have had the opportunity to debate, question and discuss the matter. [

Interruption

.]

Photo of George Adam George Adam Scottish National Party

If we can forget the theatrics for the moment, we can possibly move on to the reason why I believe that we have had ample time to discuss the matter. Last week, we had a topical question on the issue. We had Covid statements—[

Interruption

.] Over the past two weeks, we had Covid statements, on which the First Minister stood for two hours answering questions from every single individual who asked one.

I was told at Bureau that the issue was important, and had to be debated and discussed. However—this may shock you, Presiding Officer—five Opposition members asked questions about it.

Therefore, over the past two weeks, the First Minister has been on her feet for two hours answering questions on Covid statements, there has been a topical question on the matter, and, in addition, the Deputy First Minister attends the COVID-19 Recovery Committee every two weeks.

Let us review the position again, Presiding Officer. Apart from the topical question, two hours of questions on Covid-19 statements, and the Deputy First Minister’s attendance at the COVID-19 Recovery Committee every two weeks, I do not think that there is much more that we can do.

Mr Kerr feels that there is not enough time to scrutinise the Government, but it is not my fault that he is not good at doing that. He needs to ensure that he gets his act together.

The Scottish Parliament has already had a full debate on the issue and it agreed to move forward with the vaccination certification scheme.

Let us consider the matter. The whole point is that ministers must review the regulations at least every three weeks to assess whether any of the requirements are still necessary to protect against, control or—[

Interruption

.]

The Presiding Officer:

Mr Adam, I am concerned that not all colleagues in the chamber can hear your contribution. [

Interruption

.]

Members:

Oh!

The Presiding Officer:

I would be grateful if we could hear Mr Adam.

Photo of George Adam George Adam Scottish National Party

Thank you very much, Presiding Officer.

I was trying to say that, as soon as ministers consider the requirements no longer to be necessary, they must be revoked. The default position is that the vaccination certification regulations are due to expire on 28 April 2022.

In closing, all that I can say is that our place here is to scrutinise—[

Interruption

.]—and come up with solutions, not to start the pantomime season before it is Christmas.

The Presiding Officer:

The question is, that amendment S6M-01328.1, be agreed to. Are we agreed?

Members:

No.

The Presiding Officer:

There will be a division. There will be a short suspension to allow access to the digital voting system.

17:51 Meeting suspended.

17:55 On resuming—

We come to the division on amendment S6M-01328.1, in the name of Neil Bibby, which seeks to amend motion S6M-01328, in the name of George Adam, which sets out a business programme.

Division number 1 Business Motion

Aye: 53 MSPs

No: 68 MSPs

Ayes: A-Z by last name

Nos: A-Z by last name

The Presiding Officer:

The result of the division on amendment S6M-01328.1, in the name of Neil Bibby, is: For 53, Against 68, Abstentions 0.

Amendment disagreed to.

The next question is, that motion S6M-01328, in the name of George Adam, which sets out a business programme, be agreed to. Are we agreed?

Members:

No.

Division number 2 Business Motion

Aye: 68 MSPs

No: 53 MSPs

Ayes: A-Z by last name

Nos: A-Z by last name

The Presiding Officer:

The result of the division on motion S6M-01328, in the name of George Adam, which sets out a business programme, is: For 68, Against 53, Abstentions 0.

Motion agreed to,

That the Parliament agrees—

(a) the following programme of business—

Tuesday 28 September 2021

2.00 pm Time for Reflection followed by

Parliamentary Bureau Motions followed by

Topical Questions (if selected) followed by

First Minister’s Statement: COVID-19 Update followed by

Scottish Government Debate: Keeping the Lifeline - A Call to Cancel the Cut to Universal Credit followed by

Environmental Standards Scotland: Appointment of the Chief Executive followed by

Committee Announcements followed by

Business Motions followed by

Parliamentary Bureau Motions

5.00 pm Decision Time followed by

Members’ Business

Wednesday 29 September 2021

2.00 pm Parliamentary Bureau Motions

2.00 pm Portfolio Questions:

Health and Social Care;

Social Justice,

Housing and Local Government followed by

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party Business followed by

Business Motions followed by

Parliamentary Bureau Motions

5.10 pm Decision Time followed by

Members’ Business

Thursday 30 September 2021

11.40 am Parliamentary Bureau Motions

11.40 am General Questions

12.00 pm First Minister's Questions followed by

Members’ Business

2.30 pm Parliamentary Bureau Motions

2.30 pm Portfolio Questions:

Constitution, External Affairs and Culture followed by

Ministerial Statement: Autumn and Winter Vaccine Programme followed by

Scottish Government Debate: Constitution, External Affairs and Culture followed by

Business Motions followed by

Parliamentary Bureau Motions

5.00 pm Decision Time

Tuesday 5 October 2021

2.00 pm Time for Reflection followed by

Parliamentary Bureau Motions followed by

Topical Questions (if selected) followed by

First Minister’s Statement: COVID-19 Update followed by

Scottish Government Business followed by

Committee Announcements followed by

Business Motions followed by

Parliamentary Bureau Motions

5.00 pm Decision Time followed by

Members’ Business

Wednesday 6 October 2021

2.00 pm Parliamentary Bureau Motions

2.00 pm Portfolio Questions:

Justice and Veterans;

Finance and Economy followed by

Scottish Government Business followed by

Business Motions followed by

Parliamentary Bureau Motions

5.00 pm Decision Time followed by

Members’ Business

Thursday 7 October 2021

11.40 am Parliamentary Bureau Motions

11.40 am General Questions

12.00 pm First Minister's Questions followed by

Members’ Business

2.30 pm Parliamentary Bureau Motions

2.30 pm Portfolio Questions: Education and Skills followed by

Stage 3 Proceedings: Carer’s Allowance Supplement (Scotland) Bill followed by

Parliamentary Bureau Motions

5.00 pm Decision Time

(b) that, for the purposes of Portfolio Questions in the week beginning 27 September 2021, in rule 13.7.3, after the word “except” the words “to the extent to which the Presiding Officer considers that the questions are on the same or similar subject matter or” are inserted.