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Meeting of the Parliament

Thursday 4 May 2006

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

The meeting opened at 9.15 am.

1. Replacement of Trident: Chris Ballance moved S2M-3866—That the Parliament believes that the United Kingdom should not seek to replace the Trident nuclear missile system;notes that in 2005 the UK Government reaffirmed its commitment to all its obligations under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty 1967 (NPT), including its legally binding obligation to negotiate nuclear disarmament in good faith;agrees with the legal opinion of Rabinder Singh QC and Professor Christine Chinkin of Matrix Chambers on 19 December 2005 that any replacement of the Trident system would constitute a material breach of Article VI of the NPT, and calls on the Scottish Executive to seek an early assurance from the UK Government that it will fully comply with our legal obligations in respect of the NPT and that it will not seek to replace the Trident nuclear missile system with another weapon system of mass destruction.

Jackie Baillie moved amendment S2M-3866.4 to motion S2M-3866—

Leave out from “believes” to end and insert—

“notes that in 2005 the UK Government reaffirmed its commitment to all its obligations under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty 1967; notes the commitment of all three major UK parties to retain an independent nuclear deterrent; notes the comments of the UK Government that no decisions on replacing Trident have yet been taken; believes there should be the fullest possible public debate on any decision to replace the Trident nuclear weapons system, considering all possible options including non-replacement; notes the significant reductions in the United Kingdom’s nuclear weapons arsenal; is committed to the goal of the global elimination of nuclear, biological and chemical weapons, and wishes to see the United Kingdom continue to work both bilaterally and through the United Nations to urge states not yet party to non-proliferation instruments to become so, to remain committed to the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty and to make further progress toward significant reductions in the nuclear arsenals of the major nuclear powers.”

After debate, the amendment was disagreed to ((DT) by division: For 44, Against 65, Abstentions 6).

Bruce Crawford moved amendment S2M-3866.1 to motion S2M-3866—

Insert at end—

“and believes that the best way to ensure that nuclear weapons are removed from Scotland is for Scotland to become an independent nation.”

After debate, the amendment was disagreed to ((DT) by division: For 32, Against 82, Abstentions 1).

Phil Gallie moved amendment S2M-3866.2 to motion S2M-3866—

Leave out from “that the United Kingdom” to end and insert—

“it essential that the United Kingdom should continue to play a full and effective role in the world and in NATO and that to do that requires the continuation of an effective defence capacity; notes that as long as other countries have nuclear weapons it is essential that Britain has the capacity to address that threat; supports the principle of replacing or updating the current Trident system with a successor generation nuclear deterrent when necessary; believes that there should be an objective of multilateral global nuclear disarmament, and further believes that, however, that objective can only safely be achieved by ensuring that no rogue dictatorships have the capacity to use nuclear weaponry unchallenged.”

After debate, the amendment was disagreed to ((DT) by division: For 14, Against 100, Abstentions 1).

Euan Robson moved amendment S2M-3866.3 to motion S2M-3866—

Leave out from “believes” to end and insert—

“wishes to see the worldwide elimination of nuclear weapons; notes the UK Government’s commitment, made in June 2005, to reach a decision on the replacement of the Trident system by the end of the current Westminster Parliament; further notes that the Secretary of State for Defence stated in June 2005 the “no decision on any replacement for Trident has been taken, either in principle or otherwise”; calls on the UK Government to publish a White Paper on the issue in order to stimulate a full public debate; further calls on the UK Government to press for a new round of multilateral arms reduction talks, and believes that the UK’s current minimum nuclear deterrent should be retained for the foreseeable future until sufficient progress has been made towards the global elimination of nuclear weapons.”

After debate, the amendment was disagreed to ((DT) by division: For 18, Against 97, Abstentions 0).

The motion was then disagreed to ((DT) by division: For 38, Against 73, Abstentions 4).

2. Pledge Against New Nuclear Power Stations in Scotland: Shiona Baird moved S2M-4329—That the Parliament notes the interim report of the Committee on Radioactive Waste Management (CoRWM) which states “CoRWM takes no position on the desirability or otherwise of nuclear new build. We believe that future decisions on new build should be subject to their own assessment process”; further notes that government advisors on sustainable development have reported that there are issues other than waste management that should rule out new nuclear power, including risk of accident, terrorist threat, security of supply, economic cost and the availability of safe, clean and economic renewable energy and energy efficiency measures; recognises the opposition to nuclear new build in Scotland by the Green, SNP, SSP and Liberal Democrat parties; notes in particular that Nicol Stephen MSP recently stated “The Liberal Democrats have a tough, clear and consistent position across the UK….We oppose new nuclear power.... the Liberal Democrats remain determined to oppose this year, next year and every year”, and calls on all political parties opposed to new nuclear power stations in Scotland to pledge that they will not be part of, or support, a Scottish Executive that allows new nuclear power stations to be built, even if the issue of nuclear waste management may be considered to have been resolved.

The Deputy Minister for Environment and Rural Development (Ross Finnie) moved amendment S2M-4329.3 to motion S2M-4329—

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

“appreciates the work of the Committee on Radioactive Waste Management; welcomes the position statement on its draft recommendations published by the committee on 27 April 2006; agrees that the review of options for the long-term management of radioactive waste, currently being undertaken by the committee, is the correct means of engaging Scotland on the crucial issue of finding a long-term management option for higher activity radioactive waste, and notes the Executive’s position, as outlined in the Partnership Agreement, that it will not support the further development of nuclear power stations while waste management issues remain unresolved.”

Richard Lochhead moved amendment S2M-4329.2 to motion S2M-4329—

Insert at end—

“and therefore agrees that no nuclear power stations should be built in Scotland.”

Alex Johnstone moved amendment S2M-4329.1 to motion S2M-4329—

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

“believes that Scotland needs a balanced energy policy to meet the energy needs of the nation, including a mixture of generation from a range of technologies, including coal, oil, gas, renewables and nuclear; further believes that our energy policy must support sustainable economic growth while simultaneously fighting against fuel poverty, and believes that the decisions on the future make-up of our energy provision, which should include a nuclear component, need to be made now.”

After debate, amendment S2M-4329.3 was agreed to ((DT) by division: For 66, Against 49, Abstentions 0). As a result, amendments S2M-4329.2 and S2M-4329.1 were pre-empted.

The motion, as amended, was then agreed to ((DT) by division: For 66, Against 46, Abstentions 0).

Accordingly, the Parliament resolved—That the Parliament appreciates the work of the Committee on Radioactive Waste Management; welcomes the position statement on its draft recommendations published by the committee on 27 April 2006; agrees that the review of options for the long-term management of radioactive waste, currently being undertaken by the committee, is the correct means of engaging Scotland on the crucial issue of finding a long-term management option for higher activity radioactive waste, and notes the Executive’s position, as outlined in the Partnership Agreement, that it will not support the further development of nuclear power stations while waste management issues remain unresolved.

3. General Question Time: Questions were answered by Scottish Ministers and junior Scottish Ministers.

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

5. Themed Question Time: Questions on Justice and Law Officers, and on Enterprise, Transport and Lifelong Learning were answered by Scottish Ministers and junior Scottish Ministers and by the Scottish Law Officers.

6. Local Electoral Administration and Registration Services (Scotland) Bill: The Deputy Minister for Finance and Public Service Reform and Parliamentary Business (George Lyon) moved S2M-4272—That the Parliament agrees to the general principles of the Local Electoral Administration and Registration Services (Scotland) Bill.

After debate, the motion was agreed to (DT).

7. Local Electoral Administration and Registration Services (Scotland) Bill: Financial Resolution: The Deputy Minister for Finance and Public Service Reform and Parliamentary Business (George Lyon) moved S2M-4222—That the Parliament, for the purposes of any Act of the Scottish Parliament resulting from the Local Electoral Administration and Registration Services (Scotland) Bill, agrees to—

(a) any increase in expenditure of a kind referred to in paragraph 3(b)(iii) of Rule 9.12 of the Parliament’s Standing Orders; and

(b) any charges or payments in relation to which paragraph 4 of that Rule applies, arising in consequence of the Act.

The motion was agreed to (DT).

8. Police and Justice Bill - UK Legislation: The Deputy Minister for Justice (Hugh Henry) moved S2M-4317—That the Parliament agrees that the UK Parliament should consider those provisions of the Police and Justice Bill, introduced in the House of Commons on 25 January 2006, which will legislate in devolved areas in respect of the abolition of the Police Information Technology Organisation and the establishment of the National Policing Improvement Agency and the Justice, Community Safety and Custody Inspectorate, and computer misuse, and which will alter the executive competence of the Scottish Ministers on extradition matters, as laid out in LCM(S2) 4.1.

Mr David Davidson moved amendment S2M-4317.1 to motion S2M-4317—

Insert at end—

“but, in doing so, expresses serious concerns over the ambiguity of the status of an extradition request in respect of a person domiciled in Scotland against whom the Lord Advocate has decided not to proceed; notes that the United States of America has not, over a period of some three years, ratified the bilateral extradition treaty with the United Kingdom, and accordingly, in the interest of equality between nations and recognising the distinctive nature of the Scottish legal system and the need to protect the civil liberties and human rights of those living in Scotland, urges the Minister for Justice to make representations to the UK Government based upon these concerns.”

After debate, the amendment was agreed to (DT).

The motion, as amended, was agreed to ((DT) by division: For 101, Against 6, Abstentions 7).

Accordingly, the Parliament resolved—That the Parliament agrees that the UK Parliament should consider those provisions of the Police and Justice Bill, introduced in the House of Commons on 25 January 2006, which will legislate in devolved areas in respect of the abolition of the Police Information Technology Organisation and the establishment of the National Policing Improvement Agency and the Justice, Community Safety and Custody Inspectorate, and computer misuse, and which will alter the executive competence of the Scottish Ministers on extradition matters, as laid out in LCM(S2) 4.1 but, in doing so, expresses serious concerns over the ambiguity of the status of an extradition request in respect of a person domiciled in Scotland against whom the Lord Advocate has decided not to proceed; notes that the United States of America has not, over a period of some three years, ratified the bilateral extradition treaty with the United Kingdom, and accordingly, in the interest of equality between nations and recognising the distinctive nature of the Scottish legal system and the need to protect the civil liberties and human rights of those living in Scotland, urges the Minister for Justice to make representations to the UK Government based upon these concerns.

9. Membership of Committee: Ms Margaret Curran, on behalf of the Parliamentary Bureau, moved S2M-4338—That the Parliament agrees that Richard Lochhead be appointed to the Environment and Rural Development Committee.

The motion was agreed to (DT).

10. Substitution on Committees: Ms Margaret Curran, on behalf of the Parliamentary Bureau, moved S2M-4339—That the Parliament agrees that Richard Lochhead be appointed as the Scottish National Party substitute on the European and External Relations Committee.

The motion was agreed to (DT).

11. Motion without Notice: Ms Margaret Curran, on behalf of the Parliamentary Bureau, moved without notice that S2M-4351 be taken at this meeting of Parliament.

The motion was agreed to.

12. Meetings of the Parliament: Ms Margaret Curran, on behalf of the Parliamentary Bureau, moved S2M-4351—That the Parliament agrees that the Parliament shall return to meeting in the Debating Chamber of the Parliament at Holyrood from 10 May 2006.

The motion was agreed to (DT).

11. Decision Time: The Parliament took decisions on items 1, 2, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 and 12 as noted above.

12. Strathaven Academy: The Parliament debated S2M-4103 in the name of Margaret Mitchell—That the Parliament congratulates Strathaven Academy on its selection to represent central Scotland at the Youth Forum to be held at the Scottish Parliament on 7 and 8 May 2006; recognises the excellent extra-curricular activities currently offered at Strathaven Academy; expresses concern that these activities will be curtailed during the proposed decant of the school to Crosshouse Campus in East Kilbride whilst a new school is built on the existing Strathaven Academy site; expresses further concern at reports of asbestos being present on the Crosshouse Campus; notes that no consultation has been held regarding the possibility of locating Strathaven Academy on a new site, and considers that South Lanarkshire Council should enter into a consultation, which should include the option to consider locating the school on an alternative site which would enable the Scottish Executive’s target of two hours of physical education per pupil per week by 2008 to be met.

The meeting closed at 5.45 pm.

P E Grice
Clerk of the Parliament
4 May 2006

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

Legislative Consent Memorandums

The following memorandum was lodged on 4 May 2006

Nicol Stephen: Legislative Consent Memorandum on the Lighter Evenings (Experiment) Bill (UK Parliament legislation) (LCM(S2) 7.1)

Other Documents

The following document was laid before the Parliament on 4 May 2006 and is not subject to any Parliamentary procedure

Scottish Agricultural Science Agency – Pesticide Poisoning of Animals 2005: A Report of Investigations in Scotland (SE/2006/73)

Committee Reports

The following reports were published on 4 May 2006—

Justice 1 Committee, 4th Report, 2006 (Session 2): Report on Subordinate Legislation (SP Paper 550)

Subordinate Legislation Committee, 18th Report, 2006 (Session 2): Report on Subordinate Legislation (SP Paper 551)