Back to the Scottish Parliament Business Bulletin No.124/2005: Friday 9 September 2005
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Guidance on Members’ Business

Members are advised that, at its meeting on 5 September 2005 , the Parliamentary Bureau agreed the following revised guidance on Members’ Business—

Members’ Business Debates

Members’ Business debates will normally follow the conclusion of Decision Time each day and last for 45 minutes. The member moving the motion will be allocated seven minutes to speak to the motion at the start of the debate, as will the Minister responding at the end of the debate. As with other debates, the Presiding Officer will select members to speak and allocate time for speeches.

Content of Motions

The Parliamentary Bureau will select motions to be debated as Members’ Business using the following criteria:

  1. Motions will (a) have an explicit local or regional dimension; or (b) raise issues of national policy in a local or regional context and have cross-party support; or (c) raise issue-commemorating anniversaries or marking national “weeks” or special events and have cross-party support; and

  2. As Members’ Business debates provide an opportunity for particular issues to be raised without a decision being taken, motions will not “call on” anybody to undertake specific actions or to take or reverse particular decisions.

The Chamber Desk will advise on compliance with the above at the time of lodging. Those motions which require cross-party support (b and c in the first criterion above) will be given a hash symbol once they have attained the requisite support and the Clerk will have the authority to publish any motion in the Business Bulletin without a Members’ Business designation. Only those motions with a hash symbol will be eligible for selection for Members’ Business debates. The Parliamentary Bureau will be the final arbiter in any unresolved dispute.

The Bureau may exceptionally select for debate a motion which falls outwith the above, should it have cross-party support and a majority of members in the Bureau supports its selection.


In order for the Parliamentary Bureau to be given as much notice as possible of motions to be debated and for checks against the above criteria to be made, the Parliamentary Bureau will only select for debate from those motions that comply with this guidance and that are lodged by the Monday of the week preceding the debate.

This guidance will be effective for all motions selected for Members’ Business from Monday 12 September 2005.