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Meeting of the Parliament

Thursday 6 December 2007

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

The meeting opened at 9.15 am.

1. A New Agenda for Scotland: Wendy Alexander moved S3M-976—That the Parliament, recognising mainstream public opinion in Scotland, supports the establishment of an independently chaired commission to review devolution in Scotland; encourages UK Parliamentarians and parties to support this commission also and proposes that the remit of this commission should be:

“To review the provisions of the Scotland Act 1998 in the light of experience and to recommend any changes to the present constitutional arrangements that would enable the Scottish Parliament to better serve the people of Scotland, that would improve the financial accountability of the Scottish Parliament and that would continue to secure the position of Scotland within the United Kingdom”,

and further instructs the Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body to allocate appropriate resources and funding for this review.

Nicola Sturgeon moved amendment S3M-976.2 to motion S3M-976—

Leave out from “recognising” to end and insert—

“welcomes the Scottish Government’s National Conversation which has reinvigorated the debate on Scotland’s constitutional future and caused the Labour, Conservative and Liberal Democrat parties to seek an agreement on more responsibilities for the Scottish Parliament; congratulates those parties on their changed position; believes that independence and equality offer the best future for Scotland, and supports a referendum in this parliamentary term in which the people of Scotland have the right to choose independence, the status quo, or more responsibilities for Scotland.”

After debate, the amendment was disagreed to ((DT) by division: For 46, Against 76, Abstentions 3).

The motion was then agreed to ((DT) by division: For 76, Against 46, Abstentions 3).

2. General Question Time: Questions were answered by Cabinet Secretaries and Ministers.

3. First Minister’s Question Time: Questions were answered by the First Minister (Alex Salmond).

4. Themed Question Time: Questions on Health and Wellbeing were answered by the Cabinet Secretary and Ministers.

5. Summary Justice Reform: The Cabinet Secretary for Justice (Kenny MacAskill) moved S3M-983—That the Parliament recognises that a summary justice system should deal with offending behaviour quickly and effectively; believes that the implementation of the provisions contained in the Criminal Proceedings etc. (Reform) (Scotland) Act 2007 will help bring about improvement in how the summary justice system deals with offending behaviour; considers that the legal aid system should complement the reformed summary justice system and ensure that solicitors receive fair remuneration for their work in advising clients while also providing best value to taxpayers, and looks forward to the Justice Committee providing effective post-enactment scrutiny on the impact of the programme of summary justice reform.

Bill Aitken moved amendment S3M-983.1 to motion S3M-983—

After second “behaviour” insert—

“and recognises also that the success of a revised summary justice system will be dependent on fine payments being enforced and a much tighter and rigorous control of community service orders, and that in some cases custodial sentences are the only appropriate disposal”.

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

Margaret Smith moved amendment S3M-983.2 to motion S3M-983—

Insert at end—

“and further calls on the Scottish Government to ensure that the views of professionals are taken into account in the consultation on summary justice to ensure that access to justice for the weakest and most disadvantaged in society is protected.”

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

The motion, as amended, was then agreed to (DT).

Accordingly, the Parliament resolved—That the Parliament recognises that a summary justice system should deal with offending behaviour quickly and effectively; believes that the implementation of the provisions contained in the Criminal Proceedings etc. (Reform) (Scotland) Act 2007 will help bring about improvement in how the summary justice system deals with offending behaviour; recognises also that the success of a revised summary justice system will be dependent on fine payments being enforced and a much tighter and rigorous control of community service orders, and that in some cases custodial sentences are the only appropriate disposal; considers that the legal aid system should complement the reformed summary justice system and ensure that solicitors receive fair remuneration for their work in advising clients while also providing best value to taxpayers; looks forward to the Justice Committee providing effective post-enactment scrutiny on the impact of the programme of summary justice reform; and further calls on the Scottish Government to ensure that the views of professionals are taken into account in the consultation on summary justice to ensure that access to justice for the weakest and most disadvantaged in society is protected

6. Membership of the Committee of the Regions and the Regional Chamber of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe: Bruce Crawford, moved S3M-982—That the Parliament endorses the Scottish Government’s proposal to nominate as representatives of the Parliament Alex Neil MSP as full member and Malcolm Chisholm MSP as alternate member on the UK delegation to the regional chamber of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe, and Keith Brown MSP and Irene Oldfather MSP as full members and Alison McInnes MSP and Ted Brocklebank MSP as alternate members on the UK delegation to the Committee of the Regions for the remainder of the current session to 2010, and notes that the representation from local government to the Committee of the Regions will be Councillor Corrie McChord and Councillor Roger Knox as full members and Councillor Graham Garvie and Councillor Jim McCabe as alternate members.

The motion was agreed to (DT).

7. Decision Time: The Parliament took decisions on items 1, 5 and 6 as noted above.

8. 100 Years of Scouting: The Parliament debated S3M-639 in the name of Robert Brown—That the Parliament congratulates the Scottish Council of the Scout Association on the centenary of the Scout Movement being celebrated throughout 2007, on the level and commitment of volunteers to the delivery of the scouting programme in all 32 local authority areas and on the contribution made by scouting to the lives of young people in Scotland and worldwide; recognises the contribution of scouting to non-formal and outdoor education and applauds the commitment to engaging young people in decision-making through its Voice for Young People initiative and the participation of 120 young people in its recent annual conference; notes that the 1st Glasgow Scout Troop was the first officially recognised Scout group in the world; notes also the achievement of Carrie Gibson, a Scout leader from Greenock, on being the first person ever to have scaled Mount Everest through scouting as part of the Scottish Scouts 7 Summits Expedition; welcomes the work put into the £2 million centenary 7 on Appeal to help put scouting on a solid footing for the next centenary; is concerned at the difficulties that the major youth organisations have in accessing capital development funding; applauds the increase in membership across all sections of the Scouts in Scotland, and believes that scouting continues to make a major contribution to the development of citizenship and leadership and to life-enhancing opportunities for young people in Scotland and across the world.

The meeting closed at 5.37 pm.

P E Grice
Clerk of the Parliament
6 December 2007


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

Subordinate Legislation

Negative Instruments

The following instrument was laid before the Parliament on 6 December 2007 and is subject to annulment

The Infant Formula and Follow-on Formula (Scotland) Regulations 2007 (SSI 2007/549)

laid under section 48(3) of the Food Safety Act 1990 and paragraph 2 of Schedule 2 to the European Communities Act 1972

New Documents

The following documents were laid before the Parliament on 6 December 2007 and are not subject to any parliamentary procedure—

The Scottish Building Standards Agency Annual Report and Accounts 2006-07 (SE/2007/237)

laid under section 22(5) of the Public Finance and Accountability (Scotland) Act 2000

Accountant in Bankruptcy Annual Report and Accounts 2006-07 (SE/2007/252)

laid under section 1A(1)(c) of the Bankruptcy (Scotland) Act 1985, section 159 of the Bankruptcy (Scotland) Act 1913 and section 22(5) of the Public Finance and Accountability (Scotland) Act 2000

Committee Reports

The following reports were published on 6 December 2007—

Subordinate Legislation Committee, 14 Report, 2007 (Session 3): Report on Subordinate Legislation (SP Paper 34)

Subordinate Legislation Committee, 15th Report, 2007 (Session 3): Legislative Consent Memorandum on the Dormant Bank and Building Society Accounts Bill (SP Paper 35)