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Business Bulletin 1999-2011

Minutes of Proceedings 1999-2011

Journal of Parliamentary Proceedings Sessions 1 & 2

Committees Sessions 1, 2 & 3

Annual reports

Meeting of the Parliament

Thursday 9 December 2004

Note: (DT) signifies a decision taken at Decision Time.

The meeting opened at 9.30 am.

1. Iraq: Frances Curran moved S2M-2132—That the Parliament notes with grave concern that Iraqi civilians have reported the use of napalm and/or phosphorous cluster bombs by US forces in their attack on the city of Fallujah, that the use of such weapons is banned by the United Nations international treaty to which the United Kingdom is a signatory and therefore utterly condemns any failure of the United States to abide by international treaties and the use of such weapons of mass destruction; notes the International Committee of the Red Cross’s recent call to both parties to the conflict in Iraq which stated that it is prohibited to torture participants or to subject them to any form of inhuman, humiliating or degrading treatment and that both sides must do everything possible to help civilians caught up in the fighting obtain the basics of survival such as food, water and health care, notes that there were reliable reports of US forces cutting off water supplies to Fallujah prior to the assault and therefore, along with the Red Cross, believes that “for the parties to this conflict, complying with international humanitarian law is an obligation, not an option”; believes that the war in Iraq was based on deceit and lies and that far from ending terrorism “American actions have instead elevated the authority of the jihadi insurgents and tended to ratify their legitimacy among Muslims”and that most Muslims thin k that “the occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq has not led to democracy there, but only more chaos and suffering”, as stated by the Defence Science Board, notes that the war has resulted in a humanitarian disaster with as many as 100,000 Iraqis having lost their lives and malnutrition amongst Iraqi children having almost doubled and that British and US troops are seen by most Iraqis as occupiers rather than liberators and therefore believes that it is in the best interests of all for all troops to be brought home for Christmas.

Mr Duncan McNeil moved amendment S2M-2132.6 to motion S2M-2132—

Leave out from first “notes” to end and insert—

“believes that there should be a peaceful and democratic Iraq and supports all those who are working for world peace and the extension of democracy; recognises the importance of international support for the people of Iraq in their efforts to achieve stability and democracy; reaffirms its support for a route map to peace in the Middle East which delivers a free and viable Palestinian state and security for Israel; affirms the importance of the principles of the rule of law, including respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, and of democracy, including free and fair elections; believes that the planned withdrawal of British forces should only occur at the first practicable opportunity after the establishment of a democratic government in Iraq; acknowledges that the United Nations should play the leading role in assisting the Iraqi people, in particular in the formation of institutions for representative government; continues to express its gratitude to UK service personnel and their families including those from Scotland, and offers its sincere sympathy to the families of those members of the armed forces who have made the ultimate sacrifice in the service of their country.”

Alex Neil moved amendment S2M-2132.1 to motion S2M-2132—

Leave out from “all for all” to end and insert—

“both Iraq and the international community that the United States of America, United Kingdom and other western forces be replaced as a matter of urgency by a force assembled under the auspices of the League of Arab States, with other appropriate international support.”

Phil Gallie moved amendment S2M-2132.3 to motion S2M-2132—

Leave out from first “Iraqi” to end and insert—

“after the cessation of the Iraq war, deaths as a consequence of conflict continue albeit at a much reduced rate from that of proceeding years; deplores the continuing violence; trusts the Iraqi people to take a giant step towards democracy and peace in the forthcoming elections; pays tribute to the courageous, professional and effective manner in which British forces are responding to the serious security situation in Iraq; welcomes the return of soldiers from the Black Watch regiment and, in doing so, thanks them for their service to this country and the people of Iraq; wishes the Scots Guards well on their current tour of duty, and believes that at a time of international turbulence our regiments should be strengthened not disbanded.”

Mr Keith Raffan moved amendment S2M-2132.5 to motion S2M-2132—

Leave out from first “notes” to end and insert—

“deeply regrets that Her Majesty’s Government took the United Kingdom into an unjustified war in Iraq; believes that it would be irresponsible to withdraw British troops until a fully democratically elected Parliament has been established in Iraq and that then a phased withdrawal of troops should begin; believes that the continued presence of multinational forces is essential in order to maintain stability and security prior to the January elections and to avoid even greater loss of life among the civilian population; believes that concerted action must be taken to improve the security situation and to ensure that Iraqi security forces are fully trained and equipped; recognises the bravery and professionalism of our armed forces serving in Iraq, not least those from the Black Watch, who operate in difficult and dangerous circumstances, but believes that no further troops should be committed to Iraq unless requested by United Kingdom commanders for force protection purposes or to fulfil our international obligations towards the people of Iraq; believes that all British forces should serve under British command, and believes that greater United Nations involvement is essential, particularly in the urgently-required humanitarian effort to provide clean water, food and adequate health care and also in economic reconstruction and stabilisation.”

Chris Ballance moved amendment S2M-2132.4 to motion S2M-2132—

Leave out from “it is in the best interests” to end and insert—

“the only way forward for peace and justice in Iraq is for the British and US governments to request the United Nations to bring in a peacekeeping force made up of soldiers from countries which did not support the invasion to replace British and US troops immediately, in order to allow civic society to re-establish itself in Iraq, and calls on the Scottish Executive to launch an inquiry into the physical and mental health of Scottish soldiers returning from Iraq and to prepare for an anticipated increase in combat stress-related conditions by increasing its support for the charity, Combat Stress, and its Hollybush House appeal.” 

After debate, amendment S2M-2132.6 was agreed to ((DT) by division: For 63, Against 54, Abstentions 2). As a result amendments S2M-2132.1, S2M-2132.3, S2M-2132.5 and S2M-2132.4 were pre-empted.

The motion, as amended, was agreed to ((DT) by division: For 65, Against 32, Abstentions 22).

Accordingly the Parliament resolved—That the Parliament believes that there should be a peaceful and democratic Iraq and supports all those who are working for world peace and the extension of democracy; recognises the importance of international support for the people of Iraq in their efforts to achieve stability and democracy; reaffirms its support for a route map to peace in the Middle East which delivers a free and viable Palestinian state and security for Israel; affirms the importance of the principles of the rule of law, including respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, and of democracy, including free and fair elections; believes that the planned withdrawal of British forces should only occur at the first practicable opportunity after the establishment of a democratic government in Iraq; acknowledges that the United Nations should play the leading role in assisting the Iraqi people, in particular in the formation of institutions for representative government; continues to express its gratitude to UK service personnel and their families including those from Scotland, and offers its sincere sympathy to the families of those members of the armed forces who have made the ultimate sacrifice in the service of their country.

2. First Minister’s Question Time: Questions were answered by the First Minister (Mr Jack McConnell).

3. Question Time: Questions were answered by the Minister for Environment and Rural Development (Ross Finnie); by the Minister for Health and Community Care (Mr Andy Kerr); and by other Ministers and junior Scottish Ministers.

4. Fisheries: The Minister for Environment and Rural Development (Ross Finnie) moved S2M-2129—That the Parliament supports the Scottish Executive in its efforts to negotiate the best possible outcome from the EU Fisheries Council in December 2004, an outcome that delivers sustainable fisheries, sustainable fishing businesses and sustainable fishing communities based on Total Allowable Catches and management controls that are both fair and effective.

Richard Lochhead moved amendment S2M-2129.2 to motion S2M-2129—

Insert at end—

“; recognises the healthy abundance of many stocks vitally important to Scotland, including nephrops, monkfish and the record haddock stocks, and calls for a management regime that provides adequate fishing opportunities for the fleet in light of this encouraging situation; notes that the general state of stocks in Scottish waters demands proper examination in light of up-to-date science and the views of the fishing industry before any further drastic and unworkable management measures are foisted on the fleet; believes that recent events further illustrate the flaws in a Common Fisheries Policy in which many Scots who support sustainable fishing policies have lost faith, and therefore calls for control over our fishing grounds to be returned to Scotland.”

After debate, the amendment was disagreed to ((DT) by division: For 31, Against 89, Abstentions 0).

Mr Ted Brocklebank moved amendment S2M-2129.1 to motion S2M-2129—

Leave out from “an outcome” to end and insert—

“urges the Minister for Environment and Rural Development to secure higher quotas and more days at sea to secure a future for our fishermen and their coastal communities, accompanied by an end to the discredited haddock permit scheme with no new restrictions for the nephrops sector, and calls on the Executive to support the view of the vast majority of Scottish fishermen that it is time to end the discredited Common Fisheries Policy and to regain national control of UK waters”.

After debate, the amendment was disagreed to ((DT) by division: For 39, Against 75, Abstentions 6).

Mr Mark Ruskell moved amendment S2M-2129.3 to motion S2M-2129—

Leave out from “based” to end and insert—

“; notes the North Sea Regional Advisory Council’s opinion that “the concept of a partially closed or restricted access area in the North Sea is not ruled out in principle”, and calls on the Executive to make proportionate use of closed areas, on-board observers and bycatch quotas in addition to existing management controls in furtherance of its aim to maintain the sustainability of fish stocks at the heart of the strategic agenda for fisheries, as stated in the Strategic Framework for the Scottish Sea Fishing Industry and, with UK and European counterparts, to seek the necessary resources and investment required to support these measures and fishery-dependent communities while fish stocks recover.”

After debate, the amendment was disagreed to ((DT) by division: For 9, Against 102, Abstentions 8).

The motion was then agreed to ((DT) by division: For 94, Against 24, Abstentions 1).

5. Business Motion: Ms Margaret Curran, on behalf of the Parliamentary Bureau, moved S2M-2126—That the Parliament agrees that the Justice 2 Committee reports to the Justice 1 Committee by 7 January 2005 on the draft Criminal Procedure (Amendment) (Scotland) Act 2004 (Incidental, Supplemental and Consequential Provisions) Order 2005.

The motion was agreed to.

6. Decision Time: The Parliament took decisions on items 1 and 4 as noted above.

7. Excess Winter Deaths: The Parliament debated S2M-2027 in the name of Mrs Margaret Ewing—That the Parliament notes with growing concern that, despite various efforts to reduce fuel poverty, excess winter deaths still continue to rise; believes that additional measures must be implemented to reverse this trend and eradicate this blight in an energy-rich nation, and therefore believes that the Scottish Executive should review the effectiveness of existing schemes.

The meeting closed at 5.59 pm.

P E Grice
Clerk of the Parliament
9 December 2004


Appendix

(Note: this Appendix does not form part of the Minutes)

Subordinate Legislation

Affirmative Instruments

The following instruments were laid in draft before the Parliament on 9 December 2004 for approval by resolution—

The Scotland Act 1998 (Modifications to Schedule 5) Order 2005—
The Scotland Act 1998 (Transfer of Functions to the Scottish Ministers etc.) Order 2005—
laid under section 115 of, and paragraphs 1 and 2 of Schedule 7 to, the Scotland Act 1998

The Scotland Act 1998 (River Tweed) Order 2005
laid under section 111 of, and paragraphs 1 and 2 of Schedule 7 to, the Scotland Act 1998