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Meeting of the Parliament

24 March 2005

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

The meeting opened at 9.30 am.

1. Firearms Legislation: Mr Kenny MacAskill moved S2M-2622—That the Parliament notes with concern recent tragedies involving firearms and the continuing dangers in our communities posed by both real and replica guns; recognises that, notwithstanding action taken after the Dunblane tragedy in 1996, there are ongoing difficulties and gaps in the current legislation; calls, therefore, for powers over firearms to be devolved to the Scottish Parliament in view of the distinctive nature of our society, the distinct nature of the gun problem in Scotland and the urgent needs in our communities, and further calls for a new and all-encompassing Firearms Act to clarify what constitutes a firearm, who may possess a firearm, the circumstances under which people may acquire, keep and use firearms and all other aspects relating to firearms, including authorisation, monitoring and revocation.

The Minister for Justice (Cathy Jamieson) moved amendment S2M-2622.2 to motion S2M-2622—

Leave out from "notes with concern" to end and insert—

"extends its sympathies to those affected by recent tragedies involving firearms; acknowledges that following the Dunblane tragedy in 1996 UK governments have considerably tightened firearms legislation so that the UK now has some of the toughest firearms laws in the world; welcomes additional action taken by the Scottish Executive to encourage people to hand in air weapons to the police; reaffirms the benefits of a UK-wide legal framework and system of gun control, and supports the Executive in its continuing engagement with the UK Government on the current wide-ranging and comprehensive review of firearms provisions."

After debate, the amendment was agreed to ((DT) by division: For 72, Against 28, Abstentions 10).

Amendment S2M-2622.1 was not moved.

The motion, as amended was then agreed to ((DT) by division: For 73, Against 25, Abstentions 12).

Accordingly, the Parliament resolved—That the Parliament extends its sympathies to those affected by recent tragedies involving firearms; acknowledges that following the Dunblane tragedy in 1996 UK governments have considerably tightened firearms legislation so that the UK now has some of the toughest firearms laws in the world; welcomes additional action taken by the Scottish Executive to encourage people to hand in air weapons to the police; reaffirms the benefits of a UK-wide legal framework and system of gun control, and supports the Executive in its continuing engagement with the UK Government on the current wide-ranging and comprehensive review of firearms provisions.

2. Nuclear Weapons: Roseanna Cunningham moved S2M-2640—That the Parliament is opposed to the existence of weapons of mass destruction in Scotland; believes that the existing Trident nuclear system which costs almost £1 billion annually to keep in operation should be scrapped; recognises that a decision on the replacement of Trident will require to be taken within the next UK Parliament; further recognises that the cost of replacing Trident would be over £20 billion, and wishes to register strong opposition to any proposal by Her Majesty’s Government to procure a replacement for the Trident nuclear system.

Scott Barrie moved amendment S2M-2640.4 to motion S2M-2640—

Leave out from "is opposed" to end and insert—

"acknowledges that defence and national security are matters reserved to the UK Parliament and acknowledges, in the words of the Government’s Strategic Defence Review, "the goal of the global elimination of nuclear weapons"; welcomes the many moves taken to reduce the number of weapons in the world including UK support for the convention to ban anti-personnel landmines, end-user certificates and other restrictions on the arms trade and the significant reductions in the UK’s nuclear weapons stockpile; notes the position of the Scottish National Party, in favour of withdrawal from the United Kingdom and NATO; recognises that withdrawal from the United Kingdom and from NATO would put at risk 25,000 direct MoD jobs in Scotland, 6,000 more dependent on MoD contracts and 12,000 more jobs supported by the military presence, and notes that between 2000 and 2004 the MoD placed 2,500 contracts in Scotland worth around £2 billion, all of which would be at risk under the SNP."

Robert Brown moved amendment S2M-2640.2 to motion S2M-2640—

Leave out from "is opposed" to end and insert—

"believes that the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty is central to nuclear weapons control; supports the universal ratification of, and adherence to, the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty; regrets that technology in the production of weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear weapons, continues to advance and to proliferate around the globe; supports the retention, against this background, of Britain’s nuclear deterrent until real progress can be made on the multilateral elimination of nuclear weapons; believes that for nuclear non-proliferation and weapons reduction to be achieved, nuclear-armed countries such as Britain must be willing to participate in any disarmament process; believes that a decision to commit any research or other funding for the preparation of any successor to Trident must be first approved by the Westminster Parliament and that no effective case for a successor to Trident has yet been made, and calls on the UK Government to press for a nuclear weapons convention to formalise the commitment of all nuclear weapon states to nuclear disarmament."

Chris Ballance moved amendment S2M-2640.3 to motion S2M-2640—

Insert after "£20 billion"—

"; notes that communities and the environment across Scotland are endangered by nuclear convoys, by the dismantling of nuclear submarines at Rosyth and the testing of depleted uranium shells at Dundrennan; furthermore calls on Her Majesty’s Government to honour its international obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty,"

After debate, amendment S2M-2640.4 was agreed to ((DT) by division: For 59, Against 50, Abstentions 1). As a result, amendments S2M-2640.2 and S2M-2640.3 were pre-empted.

The motion, as amended was then agreed to ((DT) by division: For 59, Against 49, Abstentions 2).

Accordingly, the Parliament resolved—That the Parliament acknowledges that defence and national security are matters reserved to the UK Parliament and acknowledges, in the words of the Government’s Strategic Defence Review, "the goal of the global elimination of nuclear weapons"; welcomes the many moves taken to reduce the number of weapons in the world including UK support for the convention to ban anti-personnel landmines, end-user certificates and other restrictions on the arms trade and the significant reductions in the UK’s nuclear weapons stockpile; notes the position of the Scottish National Party, in favour of withdrawal from the United Kingdom and NATO; recognises that withdrawal from the United Kingdom and from NATO would put at risk 25,000 direct MoD jobs in Scotland, 6,000 more dependent on MoD contracts and 12,000 more jobs supported by the military presence, and notes that between 2000 and 2004 the MoD placed 2,500 contracts in Scotland worth around £2 billion, all of which would be at risk under the SNP.

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

4. 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.

5. Life Sciences: The Deputy First Minister and Minister for Enterprise and Lifelong Learning (Mr Jim Wallace) moved S2M-2644—That the Parliament recognises the important role of life sciences in Scottish society and the contribution they make to economic prosperity, wealth creation and improving the health and quality of life of millions of people; believes that the sector harnesses Scotland’s world-class scientific excellence and fosters greater entrepreneurial spirit; endorses the Scottish Executive’s support to the sector, notably through successful, innovative initiatives such as the Scottish Co-investment Fund and the Life Sciences Intermediary Technology Institute; welcomes the Executive’s commitment to the Life Sciences Strategy, working in partnership with industry, academia, the investment community, NHS Scotland and all the other stakeholders to create a stable infrastructure in which the life sciences sector can flourish, and supports the firm intention to work in partnership to deliver the 15-year vision for 2020.

Alex Neil moved amendment S2M-2644.1 to motion S2M-2644—

Leave out from "endorses" to end and insert—

"and also recognises the need to root that spirit and its resultant wealth in Scotland by gaining the economic powers that will allow Scotland to produce an increasingly more competitive proposition, thereby retaining and attracting more investment and talented people and providing an environment that encourages the growth of indigenous and multi-national businesses in Scotland."

After debate, the amendment was disagreed to ((DT) by division: For 26, Against 75, Abstentions 7).

Murdo Fraser moved amendment S2M-2644.2 to motion S2M-2644—

Leave out from "endorses" to end and insert—

"notes the Scottish Executive’s support to the sector, notably through initiatives such as the Scottish Co-investment Fund and the Life Sciences Intermediary Technology Institute; regrets, however, that the Scottish Life Sciences Community Strategy failed to engage adequately with all sectors of the industry; notes the industry’s very real concerns about bureaucracy, infrastructure and an appropriate skills base, and therefore calls on the Executive to supplement glossy brochures with tangible action to grow biosciences and encourage venture capitalist investment in Scotland by creating a more business-friendly environment."

After debate, the amendment was disagreed to ((DT) by division: For 37, Against 64, Abstentions 8).

The motion was then agreed to ((DT) by division: For 62, Against 4, Abstentions 43).

6. Business Motion: Ms Margaret Curran, on behalf of the Parliamentary Bureau, moved S2M-2642—That the Parliament agrees the following programme of business—

Wednesday 13 April 2005

9.30 am Time for Reflection

followed by Parliamentary Bureau Motions

followed by Independents’ Group Debate: Meeting the Needs and Aspirations of people in Scotland

2.30 pm Parliamentary Bureau Motions

followed by Executive Debate: Women in Prison

followed by Business Motion

followed by Parliamentary Bureau Motions

5.00 pm Decision Time

followed by Members’ Business

Thursday 14 April 2005

9.15 am Parliamentary Bureau Motions

followed by Scottish National Party Business

11.40 am General Question Time

12 noon First Minister’s Question Time

2.15 pm Themed Question Time—

Enterprise, Lifelong Learning and Transport;

Justice and Law Officers

2.55 pm Executive Debate: Skills

followed by Parliamentary Bureau Motions

5.00 pm Decision Time

followed by Members’ Business

Wednesday 20 April 2005

2.30 pm Time for Reflection

followed by Parliamentary Bureau Motions

followed by Stage 3 Proceedings: Further and Higher Education (Scotland) Bill

followed by Business Motion

followed by Parliamentary Bureau Motions

5.00 pm Decision Time

followed by Members’ Business

Thursday 21 April 2005

9.15 am Parliamentary Bureau Motions

followed by Health Committee Debate: Access to Dental Health Services in Scotland

11.40 am General Question Time

12 noon First Minister’s Question Time

2.15 pm Themed Question Time—

Education and Young People, Tourism, Culture and Sport;

Finance and Public Services and Communities

2.55 pm Stage 3 Proceedings: Gaelic Language (Scotland) Bill

followed by Parliamentary Bureau Motions

5.00 pm Decision Time

followed by Members’ Business

The motion was agreed to.

7. Business Motion: Ms Margaret Curran, on behalf of the Parliamentary Bureau, moved S2M-2624—That the Parliament agrees—

(a) that the Justice 2 Committee reports to the Justice 1 Committee by 8 April 2005 on the Police Grant (Scotland) Order 2005 (SSI 2005/107);

(b) that the Justice 2 Committee reports to the Justice 1 Committee by 15 April 2005 on the Criminal Legal Aid (Scotland) (Fees) Amendment Regulations 2005 (SSI 2005/113);

(c) that the Justice 2 Committee reports to the Justice 1 Committee by 22 May 2005 on the Act of Sederunt (Fees of Solicitors and Witnesses in the Sheriff Court) (Amendment) 2005 (SSI 2005/149);

(d) that the Justice 2 Committee reports to the Justice 1 Committee by 22 May 2005 on the Act of Sederunt (Fees of Shorthand Writers in the Sheriff Court) (Amendment) 2005 (SSI 2005/150)

(e) that the Justice 1 Committee reports to the Justice 2 Committee by 8 April 2005 on the Antisocial Behaviour (Fixed Penalty Offence) (Prescribed Area) (Scotland) Regulations 2005 (SSI 2005/106);

(f) that the Justice 1 Committee reports to the Justice 2 Committee by 8 April 2005 on the Antisocial Behaviour (Amount of Fixed Penalty) (Scotland) Order 2005 (SSI 2005/110);

(g) that the Justice 1 Committee reports to the Justice 2 Committee by 15 April 2005 on the Advice and Assistance (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2005 (SSI 2005/111);

(h) that the Justice 1 Committee reports to the Justice 2 Committee by 15 April 2005 on the Civil Legal Aid (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2005 (SSI 2005/112); and

(i) that the Justice 1 Committee reports to the Justice 2 Committee by 15 April 2005 on the Intensive Support and Monitoring (Scotland) Regulations 2005 (SSI 2005/129).

The motion was agreed to.

8. Business Motion: Ms Margaret Curran, on behalf of the Parliamentary Bureau, moved S2M-2625—That the Parliament agrees—

(a) that consideration of the Protection of Children and Prevention of Sexual Offences (Scotland) Bill at Stage 2 be completed by 6 May 2005;

(b) that consideration of the Environmental Assessment (Scotland) Bill at Stage 1 be completed by 24 June 2005;

(c) that consideration of the Management of Offenders etc. (Scotland) Bill at Stage 1 be completed by 17 June 2005; and

(d) that consideration of the Licensing (Scotland) Bill at Stage 1 be completed by 24 June 2005.

The motion was agreed to.

9. Approval of SSI: Ms Margaret Curran, on behalf of the Parliamentary Bureau, moved S2M-2623—That the Parliament agrees that the draft Non-Domestic Rating (Valuation of Utilities) (Scotland) Revocation Order 2005 be approved.

The motion was agreed to (DT).

10. Designation of Lead Committees: Ms Margaret Curran, on behalf of the Parliamentary Bureau, moved that the Parliament agrees that—

S2M-2626—the Justice 1 Committee be designated as lead committee in consideration of the Police Grant (Scotland) Order 2005 (SSI 2005/107);

S2M-2627—the Justice 1 Committee be designated as lead committee in consideration of the Criminal Legal Aid (Scotland) (Fees) Amendment Regulations 2005 (SSI 2005/113);

S2M-2628—the Justice 2 Committee be designated as lead committee in consideration of the Antisocial Behaviour (Fixed Penalty Notice) (Prescribed Area) (Scotland) Regulations 2005 (SSI 2005/106);

S2M-2629—the Justice 2 Committee be designated as lead committee in consideration of the Antisocial Behaviour (Amount of Fixed Penalty) (Scotland) Order 2005 (SSI 2005/110);

S2M-2630—the Justice 2 Committee be designated as lead committee in consideration of the Advice and Assistance (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2005 (SSI 2005/111);

S2M-2631—the Justice 2 Committee be designated as lead committee in consideration of the Civil Legal Aid (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2005 (SSI 2005/112);

S2M-2632—the Justice 2 Committee be designated as lead committee in consideration of the Intensive Support and Monitoring (Scotland) Regulations 2005 (SSI 2005/129);

S2M-2633—the Justice 1 Committee be designated as lead committee in consideration of the Act of Sederunt (Fees of Solicitors and Witnesses in the Sheriff Court) (Amendment) 2005 (SSI 2005/149); and

S2M-2634—the Justice 1 Committee be designated as lead committee in consideration of the Act of Sederunt (Fees of Shorthand Writers in the Sheriff Court) (Amendment) 2005 (SSI 2005/150).

The motions were agreed to (DT).

11. Decision Time: The Parliament took decisions on items 1, 2, 5, 9 and 10 as noted above.

12. Co-operative Education: The Parliament debated S2M-2411 in the name of Bill Butler—That the Parliament commends the work being undertaken by the Co-operative Group in Scotland to work in partnership with the Scottish Executive and local authorities to introduce knowledge and experience of co-operative principles into the mainstream curriculum of Scottish education; recognises that co-operatives offer a unique and valuable form of business structure from which Scotland can derive economic and social benefit and recognises the need to make more Scots aware of the value of co-operation; supports the establishment of the Co-operative Education Trust Scotland which will involve the wider co-operative movement in education, and believes that the Scottish Executive, Careers Scotland, Learning and Teaching Scotland and local authorities should continue to work with the co-operative movement to ensure the distribution of co-operative resource materials for use in schools, support for teacher placements in the co-operative business environment and support for the involvement of the young co-operatives in schools.

The meeting closed at 5.46 pm.

P E Grice
Clerk of the Parliament
24 March 2005

Appendix

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

Subordinate Legislation

Not Subject to any Parliamentary Procedure

The following instrument was laid before the Parliament on 24 March 2005 and is not subject to any Parliamentary procedure

The Food Protection (Emergency Prohibitions) (Amnesic Shellfish Poisoning) (West Coast) (No. 7) (Scotland) Order 2004 Partial Revocation (No. 2) Order 2005 (SSI 2005/177)

laid under section 1(10) of the Food and Environment Protection Act 1985

Other Documents

The following documents were laid before the Parliament on 24 March 2005 and are not subject to any Parliamentary procedure

Return of Expenditure incurred and Prosecutions taken under the Animal Health Act 1981, and Incidences in Imported Animals for the year 2004 (SE/2005/17)

laid under section 80 of the Animal Health Act 1981

The Electoral Commission Annual Report 2003-04 (SE/2005/58)

laid under Schedule 1(20) of the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000

The Electoral Commission Corporate Plan 2005-06 to 2009-10 (SE/2005/59)

laid under paragraph 15(4) of Schedule 1 of the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000

Committee Reports

The following report was published on 24 March 2005

Local Government and Transport Committee, 5th Report, 2005 (Session 2): Report on Subordinate Legislation (SP Paper 319)