Points of Order

– in the Scottish Parliament at on 7 December 2023.

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Photo of Russell Findlay Russell Findlay Conservative

On a point of order, Presiding Officer.

A woman who entered the Parliament yesterday morning was stopped by security staff, who confiscated her small pin badge, which was in the shape of a circle with a downward-facing cross denoting the female sex—within the circle were two Xs, denoting female chromosomes. The Parliament told the press that that was

“in line” with its

“Visitor Behaviour Policy”,

which bans

“the display of banners, flags or political slogans, including on clothing and accessories”.

Last year, security staff ordered the same woman to leave a committee room because she was wearing a purple, white and green scarf. The Presiding Officer then said that that had been an error and issued a public apology to the woman.

I cannot work out whether the badge seizure was simply petty, was plain stupidity or was perhaps something more sinister. However, many people have since pointed out that MSPs regularly wear or display a wide range of political items, including badges, lanyards and stickers. If the Parliament chooses to define the confiscated badge as political, it surely needs to be consistent. There cannot be double standards, with one rule for MSPs and another for those who pay our wages. Therefore, I seek your guidance on the matter.

Photo of Liam McArthur Liam McArthur Liberal Democrat

Thank you for that point of order. However, that is not a matter for standing orders and, therefore, it is not a matter for me to rule on from the chair. If you wish, you may take up the matter with the Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body.

Photo of Alex Cole-Hamilton Alex Cole-Hamilton Liberal Democrat

On a point of order, Presiding Officer. I wish to correct the

Official Report

. In my question to the First Minister earlier, I inadvertently said that Scotland’s programme for international student assessment—PISA—ranking score for this year is 407 when, in fact, it is 471.

The Deputy Presiding Officer:

Thank you. That is on the record.

12:50 Meeting suspended.

12:52 On resuming—