Point of Order

– in the Scottish Parliament at on 28 April 2022.

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Photo of Stephen Kerr Stephen Kerr Conservative

On a point of order, Presiding Officer. I have lost count of the number of times that the Scottish Government has leaked significant policy announcements to the press before they have been delivered in the chamber. That often includes media reports that contain full extracts from ministerial statements that have yet to be made.

This morning, we have learned through the media that Angus Robertson will say in the chamber today that there will be a four-week extension to the deadline for completing census entries. That follows the Scottish National Party’s insistence that we diverge from the United Kingdom census timeline so that we can achieve

“the highest possible response rate”.

The argument did not make sense then, but opponents were hushed because the Scottish Government knew better. It turns out that it did not. It has utterly bungled it.

Presiding Officer, I do not know how many times the Scottish Government has bypassed your request that significant announcements be made in the chamber in the first instance. What I do know is that it is ignoring your instruction, which is contempt. What action can you now take to ensure that ministers respect the Parliament?

The Presiding Officer:

I thank the member for the point of order. I have made my position clear on several occasions that significant announcements should be made in the chamber in the first instance. I have seen the press coverage that speculates on the content of the statement. I am, as yet, unaware of the content of the statement, as it is under embargo and has not been delivered or circulated, but I have asked the Minister for Parliamentary Business’s office for an explanation ahead of this afternoon’s statement. I will give that full consideration.