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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

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No. 60            Thursday 1 March 2007

The meeting opened at 9.15 am.

1.  Dealing with Illegal Money Lenders: The Deputy Minister for Communities (Des McNulty) moved S2M-5669—That the Parliament condemns the activities of illegal money lenders who prey on and exploit vulnerable individuals and communities; welcomes the Scottish Executive’s determination to work in partnership with the UK Government to tackle illegal lending through enforcement and by developing new approaches, such as the successful illegal money lending task force pilots, and supports the Executive’s activity to help affected individuals by increasing affordable credit from credit unions, by improving the availability of money advice, through citizens’ advice, local authority trading standards departments and other organisations which provide invaluable help to those with unmanageable debt, and by extending financial education in schools and in other settings such as the workplace and the community.

Mr Kenny MacAskill moved amendment S2M-5669.1 to motion S2M-5669—

Leave out from “welcomes” to end and insert—

“notes the significant debt problem in Scotland, a problem that is more serious than in the rest of the United Kingdom; recognises that a main cause of Scotland’s debt crisis is the irresponsible actions of legal money lenders; believes that the causes as well as the consequences of unmanageable debt must be addressed; regrets that current consumer legislation at Westminster is inadequate in protecting vulnerable groups from predatory lending; calls for the Parliament to have appropriate powers to deal with Scotland’s distinct debt problem, and further calls for the removal of dwelling homes from the land attachment method of debt recovery, thereby ending the draconian situation of a person’s home being at risk over a small amount of debt.”

After debate, the amendment was disagreed to ((DT) by division: For 36, Against 76, Abstentions 0).

Margaret Mitchell moved amendment S2M-5669.2 to motion S2M-5669—

Insert at end—

“recognises that an increase in the number of police walking our streets would encourage and give people more confidence to report the activities of illegal money lenders in local communities, and believes that tackling personal debt and financial exclusion is an issue of social responsibility.”

After debate, the amendment was disagreed to ((DT) by division: For 15, Against 96, Abstentions 1).

The motion was then agreed to (DT).

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

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

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

5.      Aquaculture and Fisheries (Scotland) Bill – Business Motion: Margaret Curran, on behalf of the Parliamentary Bureau, moved S2M-5666—That the Parliament agrees that, during Stage 3 of the Aquaculture and Fisheries (Scotland) Bill, debate on groups of amendments shall, subject to Rule 9.8.4A, be brought to a conclusion by the time limit indicated, each time limit being calculated from when the Stage begins and excluding any periods when other business is under consideration or when a meeting of the Parliament is suspended (other than a suspension following the first division in the Stage being called) or otherwise not in progress:

Groups 1 and 2:           35 minutes

Groups 3 and 4:           1 hour 5 minutes

Groups 5, 6 and 7:       1 hour 20 minutes.

The motion was agreed to.

6.      Aquaculture and Fisheries (Scotland) Bill – Stage 3: The Bill was considered at Stage 3.

Amendment 13 was agreed to without division.

The following amendments were disagreed to (by division)—

            14        (For 32, Against 70, Abstentions 0)

            1A       (For 43, Against 59, Abstentions 0)

            1          (For 43, Against 57, Abstentions 0)

            15        (For 43, Against 59, Abstentions 0)

            2          (For 11, Against 80, Abstentions 0)

            12        (For 36, Against 65, Abstentions 0)

            4          (For 26, Against 73, Abstentions 0)

            5          (For 26, Against 74, Abstentions 0)

            6          (For 33, Against 68, Abstentions 0)

            7          (For 10, Against 91, Abstentions 0)

            8          (For 4, Against 95, Abstentions 0)

            3          (For 13, Against 87, Abstentions 1)

The following amendments were not moved: 10, 11 and 9.

The Presiding Officer extended the time-limits under Rules 9.8.4A(c) and 9.8.4A(a).

7.      Aquaculture and Fisheries (Scotland) Bill – Stage 3: The Minister for Environment and Rural Development (Ross Finnie) moved S2M-5630—That the Parliament agrees that the Aquaculture and Fisheries (Scotland) Bill be passed.

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

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

9.      Tysabri for People with MS: The Parliament debated S2M-5305 in the name of Tricia Marwick—That the Parliament deplores the decision by the Scottish Medicines Consortium not to recommend that Tysabri be prescribed to people with multiple sclerosis (MS); notes that, for a small number of those with the most aggressive form of relapsing-remitting MS for whom existing treatments do not work, Tysabri represents the only treatment available; believes that Tysabri has the potential to alleviate suffering for MS patients in Fife and across Scotland; notes that Tysabri is prescribed in Germany, Ireland and the United States of America but not in Scotland, which has the highest rate of MS in the world, and considers that NHS boards in Scotland should prescribe Tysabri which had been described by Dr Gavin Giovannoni, of the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery in London, as the most significant advance in MS treatment for nearly a decade.

The meeting closed at 5.50 pm.

No. 61            Wednesday 7 March 2007

The meeting opened at 10.00 am.

1.      Time for Reflection: Rabbi David Rosen, President, International Jewish Committee for Interreligious Consultations, led Time for Reflection.

2.      Christmas Day and New Year’s Day Trading (Scotland) Bill – Business Motion: Ms Margaret Curran, on behalf of the Parliamentary Bureau, moved S2M-5711—That the Parliament agrees that, during Stage 3 of the Christmas Day and New Year’s Day Trading (Scotland) Bill, debate on groups of amendments shall, subject to Rule 9.8.4A, be brought to a conclusion by the time limit indicated, that time limit being calculated from when the Stage begins and excluding any periods when other business is under consideration or when the meeting of the Parliament is suspended (other than a suspension following the first division in the Stage being called) or otherwise not in progress:

Group 1: 45 minutes.

The motion was agreed to.

3.      Christmas Day and New Year’s Day Trading (Scotland) Bill - Stage 3: The Bill was considered at Stage 3.

The following amendments were agreed to (by division)—

            1          (For 86, Against 23, Abstentions 0)

            2          (For 83, Against 27, Abstentions 0)

            3          (For 84, Against 26, Abstentions 0)

The Presiding Officer extended the time-limits under Rule 9.8.4A(c).

4.      Christmas Day and New Year’s Day Trading (Scotland) Bill - Stage 3: Karen Whitefield moved S2M-5436—That the Parliament agrees that the Christmas Day and New Year’s Day Trading (Scotland) Bill be passed.

After debate, the motion was agreed to ((DT) by division: For 100, Against 17, Abstentions 2).

5.      Economy and Small Business: Jim Mather moved S2M-5690—That the Parliament recognises the need to make the Scottish economy and hence Scottish businesses increasingly competitive and therefore welcomes the SNP’s Small Business Bonus Scheme, which will remove 120,000 small businesses from eligibility to pay business rates and reduce the rates burden on a further 30,000 small businesses by either 25% or 50%, thereby increasing small business viability and bringing increased vibrancy and job opportunity to cities, towns, villages and rural Scotland.

The Deputy Minister for Enterprise and Lifelong Learning (Allan Wilson) moved amendment S2M-5690.3 to motion S2M-5690—

Leave out from “to make” to end and insert—

“to continue to grow the Scottish economy and to support the competitiveness of Scottish businesses; welcomes the steps that the Scottish Executive has taken to achieve that by listening to business and reducing the level of business rates; supports measures to encourage innovation, including supporting links to Scotland’s science and research base and easing access by business to public sector contracts; welcomes support from Scottish Enterprise and the Business Gateway through investing in a highly skilled workforce in Scotland, such as through the modern apprenticeships scheme, and increasing investment in the infrastructure necessary to build a modern competitive economy.”

Murdo Fraser moved amendment S2M-5690.1 to motion S2M-5690—

Leave out from “welcomes” to end and insert—

“condemns the proposals put forward by the SNP and the Liberal Democrats for a local income tax which would represent a significant new financial burden for the many small businesses that are unincorporated; further condemns the policies of the Lib-Lab pact which have done so much to harm business, especially the decision taken by Jack McConnell MSP to abolish the uniform business rate in 2000 which has cost Scottish businesses an extra £900 million, and welcomes the fully costed proposals put forward in the Scottish Conservatives’ business manifesto, including the abolition of business rates for all firms with a rateable value under £7,000, a tiered rates cut for all firms with a rateable value of between £7,000 and £15,000, a £20 million annual town centre regeneration fund, a dedicated public procurement unit to cut through the bureaucratised process of approval when businesses are tendering for public contracts, five-year sunset clauses on all primary legislation, a presumption against gold-plating of EU regulation, a new dedicated skills agency to work with business, schools and colleges to tackle the skills shortage, extra investment in the road network to prioritise improvements on key links such as the A9, A75, A96 and A82, and the building of a new Forth crossing, a package which will deliver real benefits to Scotland’s small business and lead to higher economic growth.”

After debate, amendment S2M-5690.3 was agreed to (DT) by division: For 66, Against 29, Abstentions 24).  As a result, amendment S2M-5690.1 was pre-empted.

The motion, as amended, was then agreed to ((DT) by division: For 65, Against 30, Abstentions 24).

Accordingly, the Parliament resolved—That the Parliament recognises the need to continue to grow the Scottish economy and to support the competitiveness of Scottish businesses; welcomes the steps that the Scottish Executive has taken to achieve that by listening to business and reducing the level of business rates; supports measures to encourage innovation, including supporting links to Scotland’s science and research base and easing access by business to public sector contracts; welcomes support from Scottish Enterprise and the Business Gateway through investing in a highly skilled workforce in Scotland, such as through the modern apprenticeships scheme, and increasing investment in the infrastructure necessary to build a modern competitive economy.

6.      Tackling Alcohol Misuse: Kenny MacAskill moved S2M-5692—That the Parliament notes with concern the recent alcohol statistics published by the Office for National Statistics which show that men and women in Scotland are twice as likely to die an alcohol-related death as people in the United Kingdom as a whole; recognises the huge cost of alcohol abuse to the health service and the economy and its impact on families; further recognises the clear links between alcohol abuse and crime and antisocial behaviour; further notes that youth disorder and violence in many communities throughout Scotland are often fuelled by cheap and easily available alcohol; welcomes measures such as test purchasing and calls for the strict enforcement of existing licensing legislation to prevent the sale or supply of alcohol to those under age, and calls for the powers contained within the Licensing (Scotland) Act 2005 to be extended to off-sales premises, thus stopping irresponsible drink promotions in off-sales premises and the practice of deep discounting of alcohol by supermarkets.

The Deputy Minister for Finance, Public Service Reform and Parliamentary Business (George Lyon) moved amendment S2M-5692.2 to motion S2M-5692—

Leave out from “with concern” to end and insert—

“the damage excessive drinking can cause to physical and mental health, our communities, our economy, and our way of life; notes the success of the Fife test purchasing pilot and welcomes its proposed rollout to all police forces; welcomes that the vast majority of licensed retailers in the Fife pilot refused to sell alcohol to those under age; believes that the provisions of the Licensing (Scotland) Act 2005 provide a solid foundation for future action to combat problem drinking; notes that this Act already sets out a range of irresponsible drinks promotions in both on-sales and off-sales that will not be permitted when the Act replaces the current licensing regime; welcomes the publication of the updated Plan for Action on Alcohol Problems and the industry partnership agreement, the actions from which represent a significant programme to reduce alcohol misuse; supports the Executive’s commitment to extend the Keep Well initiative as a way of ensuring that those most at risk from the effects of excessive drinking in our deprived communities are offered advice and support; recognises that the problems associated with excessive drinking require action from industry, government and individuals, and notes that changing culture and behaviours will require a long-term collaborative approach where everyone takes responsibility for our society’s excessive consumption.”

Mrs Nanette Milne moved amendment S2M-5692.1 to motion S2M-5692—

Leave out from “and calls” to end and insert—

“recognises that an increase in the number of police walking the streets would help to enforce the law, and welcomes the recent partnership between the Scottish Executive, the Scotch Whisky Association and eight other trade associations representing alcohol producers and retailers to tackle alcohol abuse.”

After debate, amendment S2M-5692.2 was agreed to ((DT) by division: For 66, Against 50, Abstentions 4).  As a result, amendment S2M-5692.1 was pre-empted.

The motion, as amended, was then agreed to ((DT) by division: For 89, Against 25, Abstentions 6).

Accordingly, the Parliament resolved—That the Parliament notes the damage excessive drinking can cause to physical and mental health, our communities, our economy, and our way of life; notes the success of the Fife test purchasing pilot and welcomes its proposed rollout to all police forces; welcomes that the vast majority of licensed retailers in the Fife pilot refused to sell alcohol to those under age; believes that the provisions of the Licensing (Scotland) Act 2005 provide a solid foundation for future action to combat problem drinking; notes that this Act already sets out a range of irresponsible drinks promotions in both on-sales and off-sales that will not be permitted when the Act replaces the current licensing regime; welcomes the publication of the updated Plan for Action on Alcohol Problems and the industry partnership agreement, the actions from which represent a significant programme to reduce alcohol misuse; supports the Executive’s commitment to extend the Keep Well initiative as a way of ensuring that those most at risk from the effects of excessive drinking in our deprived communities are offered advice and support; recognises that the problems associated with excessive drinking require action from industry, government and individuals, and notes that changing culture and behaviours will require a long-term collaborative approach where everyone takes responsibility for our society’s excessive consumption.

7.      Business Motion: Ms Margaret Curran, on behalf of the Parliamentary Bureau, moved S2M-5710—That the Parliament agrees the following programme of business—

Wednesday 14 March 2007

10.00 am                        Time for Reflection

followed by                      Parliamentary Bureau Motions

followed by                      Stage 3 Proceedings: Schools (Health Promotion and Nutrition) (Scotland) Bill

2.30 pm                          Parliamentary Bureau Motions

followed by                      Final Stage: Edinburgh Airport Rail Link Bill

followed by                      Standards and Public Appointments Committee Debate: 2nd Report 2007, Code of Conduct

followed by                      Business Motion

followed by                      Parliamentary Bureau Motions

5.00 pm                          Decision Time

followed by                      Members’ Business

Thursday 15 March 2007

9.15 am                          Parliamentary Bureau Motions

followed by                      Stage 3 Proceedings: Custodial Sentences and Weapons (Scotland) Bill

11.40 am                        General Question Time

12 noon                          First Minister’s Question Time

2.15 pm                          Themed Question Time—

                                      Health and Community Care;

                                      Environment and Rural Development

2.55 pm                          Conclusion of Stage 3 Proceedings: Custodial Sentences and Weapons (Scotland) Bill

followed by                      Procedures Committee Debate: 10th Report 2006, Scottish Commission for Public Audit

followed by                      Parliamentary Bureau Motions

5.00 pm                          Decision Time

followed by                      Members’ Business

Wednesday 21 March 2007

2.30 pm                          Time for Reflection

followed by                      Parliamentary Bureau Motions

followed by                      Stage 3 Proceedings: Rights of Relatives to Damages (Mesothelioma) (Scotland) Bill

followed by                      Business Motion

followed by                      Parliamentary Bureau Motions

5.00 pm                          Decision Time

followed by                      Members’ Business

Thursday 22 March 2007

9.15 am                          Parliamentary Bureau Motions

followed by                      Executive Business

11.40 am                        General Question Time

12 noon                          First Minister’s Question Time

2.15 pm                          Themed Question Time—

                                      Enterprise, Transport and Lifelong Learning

                                      Justice and Law Officers

2.55 pm                          Executive Business

followed by                      Parliamentary Bureau Motions

5.00 pm                          Decision Time

followed by                      Members’ Business

The motion was agreed to.

8.      Approval of SSIs: Ms Margaret Curran, on behalf of the Parliamentary Bureau, moved—

S2M-5701—That the Parliament agrees that the draft Police, Public Order and Criminal Justice (Scotland) Act 2006 (Modification of Agency’s Powers and Incidental Provision) Order 2007 be approved;

S2M-5702—That the Parliament agrees that the draft Sexual Offences Act 2003 (Notification Requirements) (Scotland) Regulations 2007 be approved;

S2M-5703—That the Parliament agrees that the Licensing (Scotland) Act 2005: Draft Guidance for Licensing Boards and Local Authorities (SE/2007/9) be approved;

S2M-5704—That the Parliament agrees that the draft Advice and Assistance (Financial Limit) (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2007 be approved;

S2M-5705—That the Parliament agrees that the draft Advice and Assistance (Financial Conditions) (Scotland) Regulations 2007 be approved;

S2M-5706—That the Parliament agrees that the draft Civil Legal Aid (Financial Conditions) (Scotland) Regulations 2007 be approved;

S2M-5707—That the Parliament agrees that the draft Town and Country Planning (Fees for Applications and Deemed Applications) (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2007 be approved;

S2M-5708—That the Parliament agrees that the draft Town and Country Planning (Marine Fish Farming) (Scotland) Order 2007 be approved; and

S2M-5709—That the Parliament agrees that the draft Housing Support Grant (Scotland) Order 2007 be approved.

The motions were agreed to (DT).

9.      Decision Time: The Parliament took decisions on items 4, 5, 6 and 8 as noted above.

10.    Celebrating Success: The Parliament debated S2M-5596 in the name of Mr Alasdair Morrison—That the Parliament welcomes the substantive progress being made in tackling sectarianism in Scotland; commends the initiatives undertaken by Scotland’s largest football clubs, Rangers FC and Celtic FC, to counter sectarian attitudes; congratulates the football clubs on their initiatives, Pride over Prejudice and Bhoys Against Bigotry; notes the success of their highly commendable joint educational programme, the Old Firm Alliance, within Glasgow schools; recognises that the significant progress achieved in tackling sectarianism represents a continuing determination by both clubs to help eradicate the problem, and also commends the informal arrangements between old firm supporters in the Western Isles as an example for the rest of the country.

The meeting closed at 5.45 pm.

No. 62            Thursday 8 March 2007

The meeting opened at 9.15 am.

1.      Protection of Vulnerable Groups (Scotland) Bill – Business Motion: Ms Margaret Curran, on behalf of the Parliamentary Bureau, moved S2M-5712—That the Parliament agrees that, during Stage 3 of the Protection of Vulnerable Groups (Scotland) Bill, debate on groups of amendments shall, subject to Rule 9.8.4A, be brought to a conclusion by the time limit indicated, each time limit being calculated from when the Stage begins and excluding any periods when other business is under consideration or when a meeting of the Parliament is suspended (other than a suspension following the first division in each of the morning and the afternoon being called) or otherwise not in progress:

Groups 1 to 4:               35 minutes

Groups 5 to 7:               1 hour

Groups 8 and 9:           1 hour 35 minutes

Groups 10 and 11:       2 hours

Groups 12 and 13:       2 hours 25 minutes

Groups 14 to 16:          3 hours.

The motion was agreed to.

2.      Protection of Vulnerable Groups (Scotland) Bill – Stage 3: The Bill was considered at Stage 3.

The following amendments were agreed to without division: 11, 29, 1, 2, 3, 4, 12, 13, 35, 14, 15, 16, 5, 17, 18, 6, 19, 32, 33, 7, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 8, 34, 9, 28 and 10.

The following amendments were disagreed to (by division)—

            37        (For 45, Against 56, Abstentions 0)

            38        (For 13, Against 87, Abstentions 0)

The following amendments were moved and, with the agreement of the Parliament, withdrawn: 30 and 36.

Amendment 31 was not moved.

3.      General Question Time:  General 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 Education, Tourism, Culture and Sport, and on Finance and Communities were answered by Scottish Ministers and junior Scottish Ministers.

6.      Motion without notice: Ms Margaret Curran, on behalf of the Parliamentary Bureau, moved without notice, that, under Rule 11.2.4 of Standing Orders, Decision Time on Thursday 8 March 2007 be taken at 4.00 pm.

The motion was agreed to.

7.      Protection of Vulnerable Groups (Scotland) Bill – Stage 3: The Minister for Education and Young People (Hugh Henry) moved S2M-5631—That the Parliament agrees that the Protection of Vulnerable Groups (Scotland) Bill be passed.

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

8.      Serious Crime Bill - UK Legislation: The Deputy Minister for Justice (Johann Lamont) moved S2M-5671—That the Parliament endorses the principle that the offence of breaching a Serious Crime Prevention Order should be extended to Scotland and that amendments to the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 relating to the use of force in executing search warrants in Scotland under section 387 of that Act and the extension of production orders and search warrants to include cash seizures as set out in the Serious Crime Bill, introduced in the House of Lords on 16 February 2007, should be considered by the UK Parliament.

After debate, the motion was agreed to ((DT) by division: For 88, Against 9, Abstentions 2).

9.      Breach of the Code of Conduct for Members of the Scottish Parliament: Brian Adam, on behalf of the Standards and Public Appointments Committee, moved S2M-5678—That the Parliament notes the 1st Report, 2007 (Session 2) of the Standards and Public Appointments Committee, Complaint against Brian Monteith MSP (SP Paper 758), and agrees to impose the sanction recommended in the report that Brian Monteith MSP be excluded from all meetings of the Parliament and all meetings of its committees for the first five sitting days immediately after this motion is agreed.

After debate, the motion was agreed to ((DT) by division: For 69, Against 4, Abstentions 20).

10.    Decision Time: The Parliament took decisions on items 7, 8 and 9 as noted above.

11.    Fairtrade: The Parliament debated S2M-5653 in the name of Christine May—That the Parliament recognises the focus which Fairtrade Fortnight gives to the local, national and global effects of fair trade; notes that this year’s event is taking place from 26 February to 11 March 2007; welcomes the growing support in Scotland for fair trade, with 27 areas of Scotland having achieved Fairtrade status, including all of Scotland’s cities; notes that all local authority areas have groups working to achieve Fairtrade status; further notes that 40% of people in Scotland regularly buy Fairtrade products and 75% buy a Fairtrade product every year; congratulates the Co-operative Group on providing the first Fairtrade cotton shopping bag; believes that Scotland should continue to campaign to achieve Fairtrade country status, and further believes that such campaigning not only empowers people in the developing world but also empowers the people of Scotland.

The meeting closed at 4.41 pm.

No. 63            Wednesday 14 March 2007

The meeting opened at 10.00 am.

1.      Time for Reflection: Father John Keenan, Catholic Chaplaincy, University of Glasgow, led Time for Reflection.

2.      School (Health Promotion and Nutrition) (Scotland) Bill – Business Motion: Ms Margaret Curran, on behalf of the Parliamentary Bureau, moved S2M-5748—That the Parliament agrees that, during Stage 3 of the Schools (Health Promotion and Nutrition) (Scotland) Bill, debate on groups of amendments shall, subject to Rule 9.8.4A, be brought to a conclusion by the time limit indicated, that time limit being calculated from when the Stage begins and excluding any periods when other business is under consideration or when the meeting of the Parliament is suspended (other than a suspension following the first division in the Stage being called) or otherwise not in progress:

Groups 1 to 2:   1 hour 5 minutes       

Groups 3 to 5:   1 hour 35 minutes.

The motion was agreed to.

3.      Schools (Health Promotion and Nutrition) (Scotland) Bill – Stage 3: The Bill was considered at Stage 3.

The following amendments were agreed to without division: 28, 29 and 30.

The following amendments were disagreed to (by division)—

            21        (For 29, Against 70, Abstentions 0)

            1          (For 29, Against 73, Abstentions 1)

            6          (For 11, Against 73, Abstentions 20)

            22        (For 32, Against 71, Abstentions 1)

            23        (For 12, Against 72, Abstentions 21)

            24        (For 12, Against 71, Abstentions 21)

            3          (For 32, Against 72, Abstentions 1)

            4          (For 32, Against 72, Abstentions 1)

            14        (For 12, Against 73, Abstentions 20)

            15        (For 12, Against 71, Abstentions 21)

            16        (For 32, Against 72, Abstentions 1)

            17        (For 32, Against 73, Abstentions 1)

            18        (For 32, Against 73, Abstentions 1)

            19        (For 32, Against 72, Abstentions 1)

            20        (For 30, Against 73, Abstentions 1)

            25        (For 30, Against 73, Abstentions 3)

            7          (For 12, Against 72, Abstentions 21)

            8          (For 11, Against 84, Abstentions 0)

            27        (For 30, Against 71, Abstentions 0)

            9          (For 11, Against 89, Abstentions 0)

            31        (For 32, Against 72, Abstentions 0)

Amendment 26 was not moved.

 

4.      Schools (Health Promotion and Nutrition) (Scotland) Bill – Stage 3: The Minister for Education and Young People (Hugh Henry) moved S2M-5695—That the Parliament agrees that the Schools (Health Promotion and Nutrition) (Scotland) Bill be passed.

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

5.      2nd Report 2007 (Session 2) of the Edinburgh Airport Rail Link Bill Committee, Appropriate Assessment Report on the Firth of Forth Special Protection Area: Scott Barrie, on behalf of the Edinburgh Airport Rail Link Bill Committee, moved S2M-5683—That the Parliament notes the 2nd Report, 2007 (Session 2) of the Edinburgh Airport Rail Link Bill Committee, Appropriate Assessment Report on the Firth of Forth Special Protection Area (SP Paper 736), and agrees that the construction of the project proposed in the Bill will not adversely affect the integrity of the Firth of Forth Special Protection Area.

The motion was agreed to (DT).

6.      3rd Report 2007 (Session 2) of the Edinburgh Airport Rail Link Bill Committee, Report on the Edinburgh Airport Rail Link Bill and European Protected Species: Scott Barrie, on behalf of the Edinburgh Airport Rail Link Bill Committee, moved S2M-5684—That the Parliament notes the 3rd Report, 2007 of the Edinburgh Airport Rail Link Bill Committee, Report on the Edinburgh Airport Rail Link Bill and European Protected Species (SP Paper 737), and agrees that the construction of the Edinburgh Airport Rail Link project should not impact on the favourable conservation status of otters.

The motion was agreed to (DT).

7.      Edinburgh Airport Rail Link Bill – Final Stage: Scott Barrie, on behalf of the Edinburgh Airport Rail Link Bill Committee, moved S2M-5685—That the Parliament agrees that the Edinburgh Airport Rail Link Bill be passed.

After debate, the motion was agreed to ((DT) by division: For 86, Against 29, Abstentions 3).

8.      Standards and Public Appointments Committee, Code of Conduct for Members of the Scottish Parliament: Brian Adam, on behalf of the Standards and Public Appointments Committee, moved S2M-5719—That the Parliament notes the 2nd Report, 2007 (Session 2) of the Standards and Public Appointments Committee, Code of Conduct for Members of the Scottish Parliament (SP Paper 763) and agrees to its conclusions.

After debate, the motion was agreed to ((DT) by division: For 106, Against 7, Abstentions 2).

9.      Business Motion: Ms Margaret Curran, on behalf of the Parliamentary Bureau, moved S2M-5746—That the Parliament agrees the following revision to the programme of business for Thursday 15 March 2007—

after,

12 noon                          First Minister’s Question Time

insert,

followed by                      Members’ Business – S2M-5725 Karen Gillon: Malawi

The motion was agreed to.

10.   Business Motion: Ms Margaret Curran, on behalf of the Parliamentary Bureau, moved S2M-5747—That the Parliament agrees the following programme of business—

Wednesday 21 March 2007

2.30 pm                          Time for Reflection

followed by                      Parliamentary Bureau Motions

followed by                      Stage 3 Proceedings: Rights of Relatives to Damages (Mesothelioma) (Scotland) Bill

followed by                      Stage 1 Debate: Cairngorms National Park Boundary Bill

followed by                      Business Motion

followed by                      Parliamentary Bureau Motions

5.00 pm                          Decision Time

followed by                      Members’ Business

Thursday 22 March 2007

9.15 am                          Parliamentary Bureau Motions

followed by                      Executive Debate: Scotland in the United Kingdom

11.40 am                        General Question Time

12 noon                          First Minister’s Question Time

followed by                      Members’ Business

2.15 pm                          Themed Question Time—

                                      Enterprise, Transport and Lifelong Learning

                                      Justice and Law Officers

2.55 pm                          Executive Debate: Education

followed by                      Parliamentary Bureau Motions

5.00 pm                          Decision Time

followed by                      Members’ Business

Wednesday 28 March 2007

2.30 pm                          Time for Reflection

followed by                      Parliamentary Bureau Motions

followed by                      Final Stage: Airdrie-Bathgate Railway and Linked Improvements Bill

followed by                      Business Motion

followed by                      Parliamentary Bureau Motions

5.00 pm                          Decision Time

followed by                      Members’ Business

Thursday 29 March 2007

9.15 am                          Parliamentary Bureau Motions

followed by                      Executive Business

11.40 am                        General Question Time

12 noon                          First Minister’s Question Time

followed by                      Executive Business

1.00 pm                          Decision Time

 

The motion was agreed to.

 

11.    Approval of SSIs: Ms Margaret Curran, on behalf of the Parliamentary Bureau, moved—

 S2M-5733—That the Parliament agrees that the draft Gambling Act 2005 (Mandatory and Default Conditions) (Scotland) Regulations 2007 be approved;

S2M-5734—That the Parliament agrees that the draft Local Governance (Scotland) Act 2004 (Allowances and Expenses) Regulations 2007 be approved;

S2M-5735—That the Parliament agrees that the draft Representation of the People (Postal Voting for Local Government Elections) (Scotland) Regulations 2007 be approved;

S2M-5736—That the Parliament agrees that the draft Representation of the People (Post-Local Government Elections Supply and Inspection of Documents) (Scotland) Regulations 2007 be approved;

S2M-5737—That the Parliament agrees that the draft Number of Inner House Judges (Variation) Order 2007 be approved;

S2M-5738—That the Parliament agrees that the draft National Waste Management Plan for Scotland Regulations 2007 be approved;

S2M-5739—That the Parliament agrees that the draft Fundable Bodies (Scotland) Order 2007 be approved;

S2M-5740—That the Parliament agrees that the draft Debt Arrangement Scheme (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2007 be approved; and

S2M-5741—That the Parliament agrees that the draft Renewables Obligation (Scotland) Order 2007 be approved.

The motions were agreed to (DT)

12.   Approval of SSI: Ms Margaret Curran, on behalf of the Parliamentary Bureau, moved S2M-5742—That the Parliament agrees that the draft Prohibited Procedures on Protected Animals (Exemptions) (Scotland) Regulations 2007 be approved.

The motion was agreed to ((DT) by division: For 70, Against 25, Abstentions 21).

13.   Approval of SSI: Ms Margaret Curran, on behalf of the Parliamentary Bureau, moved S2M-5743—That the Parliament agrees that the draft Business Improvement Districts (Ballot Arrangements) (Scotland) Regulations 2007 be approved.

The motion was agreed to ((DT) by division: For 75, Against 39, Abstentions 1).

14.    Decision Time: The Parliament took decisions on items 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 11, 12 and 13 as noted above.

15.   Success of Scots Trad Music Awards 2006: The Parliament debated S2M-5261 in the name of Rob Gibson—That the Parliament congratulates Hands Up For Trad, its founder Simon Thoumire of Footstompin’ Records and the sponsors and supporters who made the 2006 awards ceremony and weekend entertainment in Fort William such a happy and successful gathering; draws particular attention to the staff of the Nevis Centre whose hard work allowed the annual event to move from its Edinburgh base and offer a top-class venue, a friendly Highland welcome and a tremendous warm-up for the major events to be staged there in 2007 during the Scottish Year of Highland Culture; offers congratulations to winners of a wide range of awards, voted on by thousands across the globe, that give significant recognition to the excellence within Scotland’s thriving contemporary traditional music scene; encourages the funding bodies to invest in this success which promotes, through composition, performance and enthusiastic audience response, such a positive message about Scottish cultural confidence, and believes that Scotland’s television media should build on BBC Radio Scotland’s role as the sole consistent champion of our Scottish music and traditions by broadcasting the images and sounds round the world.

The meeting closed at 5.37 pm.

No. 64            Thursday 15 March 2007

The meeting opened at 9.15 am.

1.      Custodial Sentences and Weapons (Scotland) Bill – Business Motion: Ms Margaret Curran, on behalf of the Parliamentary Bureau, moved S2M-5749—That the Parliament agrees that, during Stage 3 of the Custodial Sentences and Weapons (Scotland) Bill, debate on groups of amendments shall, subject to Rule 9.8.4A, be brought to a conclusion by the time limit indicated, that time limit being calculated from when the Stage begins and excluding any periods when other business is under consideration or when the meeting of the Parliament is suspended (other than a suspension following the first division in the Stage being called) or otherwise not in progress:

Groups 1 to 4:               55 minutes

Groups 5 to 6:               1 hour 35 minutes

Groups 7 to 12:            2 hours 20 minutes.

The motion was agreed to.

2.      Custodial Sentences and Weapons (Scotland) Bill - Stage 3: The Bill was considered at Stage 3.

The following amendments were agreed to without division: 1, 2, 3, 45, 46, 4, 47, 48, 5, 49, 50, 51, 54, 60, 61, 63, 64, 65, 66, 67, 68, 69, 70, 71, 72, 73, 74, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 75, 76, 11, 77, 78, 79, 12, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 13, 14, 80, 15, 81, 82, 83 and 84.

The following amendments were disagreed to (by division)—

            16        (For 6, Against 94, Abstentions 0)

            17        (For 6, Against 94, Abstentions 0)

            18        (For 6, Against 95, Abstentions 0)

            19        (For 6, Against 83, Abstentions 0)

            20        (For 14, Against 84, Abstentions 0)

            21        (For 14, Against 85, Abstentions 0)

            22        (For 14, Against 84, Abstentions 0)

            23        (For 14, Against 89, Abstentions 0)

            24        (For 14, Against 86, Abstentions 0)

            25        (For 13, Against 74, Abstentions 0)

            52        (For 13, Against 86, Abstentions 0)

            44        (For 27, Against 74, Abstentions 0).

The following amendments were not moved: 53, 55, 56, 57, 58, 59, 62, 26, 27, 28, 31, 32, 33, 34 and 35.

Amendments 29 and 30 were pre-empted.

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.      Malawi: The Parliament debated S2M-5725 in the name of Karen Gillon—That the Parliament welcomes the partnership that has been established between Scotland and Malawi and, in particular, the historic co-operation agreement signed by the Scottish Executive and the Government of Malawi; congratulates the wide range of schools, churches and civic organisations in Clydesdale that are involved in joint work with similar groups in Malawi, and believes that MSPs should sign up to the Scotland Malawi Partnership’s pledge in advance of the election to ensure that this mutually beneficial partnership continues.

6.      Themed Question Time: Questions on Health and Community Care and on Environment and Rural Development were answered by Scottish Ministers and junior Scottish Ministers.

7.      Motion without notice: Ms Margaret Curran, on behalf of the Parliamentary Bureau, moved, without notice, that, under Rule 11.2.4 of Standing Orders, Decision Time on Thursday 15 March 2007 be taken at 4.15 pm.

The motion was agreed to.

8.      Custodial Sentences and Weapons (Scotland) Bill – Stage 3: The Minister for Justice (Cathy Jamieson) moved S2M-5632—That the Parliament agrees that the Custodial Sentences and Weapons (Scotland) Bill be passed.

After debate, the motion was agreed to ((DT) by division: For 89, Against 23, Abstentions 3).

9.      Procedures Committee Debate, Scottish Commission for Public Audit: Donald Gorrie, on behalf of the Procedures Committee, moved S2M-5626—That the Parliament notes the Procedures Committee’s 10th Report, 2006 (Session 2), Scottish Commission for Public Audit and agrees that the changes to Standing Orders set out in Annexe A to the report be made with effect from the day after the Parliament is dissolved at the end of the current session.

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

10.   Decision Time: The Parliament took decisions on items 8 and 9 as noted above.

11.   Rum’s Red Deer: The Parliament debated S2M-5492 in the name of Mr Jamie McGrigor—That the Parliament notes that the red deer is an iconic part of the image of Scotland; further notes that, because of its isolation, the red deer herd on Rum has arguably the purest bloodline in the country and has been the subject of scientific research, and considers that Scottish Natural Heritage’s plan to cull Rum’s red deer solely to protect the trees that it has decided to plant on the island without any protective fencing is to be condemned.

The meeting closed at 4.49 pm.

No. 65            Wednesday 21 March 2007

The meeting opened at 2.30 pm.

1.      Time for Reflection: Reverend Robbie Hamilton, New Wellwynd Parish Church, Airdrie, led Time for Reflection.

2.      Rights of Relatives to Damages (Mesothelioma) (Scotland) Bill – Stage 3: The Deputy Minister for Justice (Johann Lamont) moved S2M-5628—That the Parliament agrees that the Rights of Relatives to Damages (Mesothelioma) (Scotland) Bill be passed.

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

3.      Cairngorms National Park Boundary Bill – Stage 1: Mr John Swinney moved S2M-5758—That the Parliament agrees to the general principles of the Cairngorms National Park Boundary Bill.

After debate, the motion was disagreed to ((DT) by division: For 47, Against 64, Abstentions 2).

4.      Business Motion: Ms Margaret Curran, on behalf of the Parliamentary Bureau moved S2M-5773—That the Parliament agrees the following programme of business—

Wednesday 28 March 2007

2.30 pm                          Time for Reflection

followed by                      Parliamentary Bureau Motions

followed by                      Final Stage: Airdrie-Bathgate Railway and Linked Improvements Bill

followed by                      Business Motion

followed by                      Parliamentary Bureau Motions

5.00 pm                          Decision Time

followed by                      Members’ Business

Thursday 29 March 2007

9.15 am                          Parliamentary Bureau Motions

followed by                      Executive Debate: The Future of Scotland

11.40 am                        General Question Time

12 noon                          First Minister’s Question Time

followed by                      Motion of Thanks to the Presiding Officer

1.00 pm                          Decision Time

The motion was agreed to.

5.      Decision Time: The Parliament took decisions on items 2 and 3 as noted above.

6.   The Lack of Park-and-Ride in South Edinburgh: The Parliament debated S2M-5715 in the name of Mike Pringle—That the Parliament welcomes key public transport improvements being delivered by SEStran including bus priority measures, a bus tracker system and cycleway improvements, but is concerned that key schemes for three park-and-ride sites in south Edinburgh at Straiton, Sherrifhall and Lothianburn have yet to open and that the lack of park-and-ride sites in the south of the city is leading to increased commuter parking in residential streets, where residents’ parking is already made difficult by the extension of the controlled parking scheme.

The meeting closed at 5.46 pm.

No. 66            Thursday 22 March 2007

The meeting opened at 9.15 am.

1.      Scotland in the United Kingdom: The Minister for Parliamentary Business (Ms Margaret Curran) moved S2M-5779—That the Parliament believes that the United Kingdom is a mutually beneficial relationship for Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and England; notes that devolution “is a process, not an event”; notes the additional powers that have been devolved to the Scottish Parliament since 1999; notes that the majority of people in Scotland oppose separation from the rest of the UK; believes that such a course would result in either cuts in vital public services or massive increases in taxation; believes that Scotland should retain the benefits of being part of the UK; and notes the respective positions of the Labour and the Liberal Democrat parties on the powers of the Parliament.

Alasdair Morgan moved amendment S2M-5779.2 to motion S2M-5779—

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

“current constitutional arrangements do not offer the right solutions to the challenges facing Scotland, that the natural state of independence, enjoyed by our most successful neighbours, offers the best opportunities for Scotland and that the people of Scotland should have an opportunity in a referendum within the next four years to make their own decision on whether or not Scotland should be independent.”

After debate, the amendment was disagreed to ((DT) by division: For 31, Against 77, Abstentions 5).

Murdo Fraser moved amendment S2M-5779.3 to motion S2M-5779—

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

“whilst, where appropriate, increasing the powers available to the Scottish Parliament.”

After debate, the amendment was disagreed to ((DT) by division: For 24, Against 64, Abstentions 25).

Patrick Harvie moved amendment S2M-5779.4 to motion S2M-5779—

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

“all political parties receive electoral support from people with a range of views on the constitution; considers therefore that the constitutional future of Scotland is a matter best decided by the people of Scotland through a referendum; believes that, regardless of the constitutional future chosen by the people of Scotland, there is a strong case for devolving power from government to local communities throughout Scotland, and considers that government in Scotland, whether under the current devolved arrangements or in an independent future, can do far more to empower communities than has been done to date.”

After debate, the amendment was disagreed to ((DT) by division: For 33, Against 77, Abstentions 3).

Colin Fox moved amendment S2M-5779.1 to motion S2M-5779—

Leave out from “is a mutually beneficial relationship” to end and insert—

“thwarts Scotland’s economic, social, cultural and political development; believes that Scotland would be better off if it were independent from the UK; believes that an independent Scotland would remove Trident nuclear weapons from the Clyde, scrap the hated council tax and prescription charges and redistribute the great wealth of Scotland to address widening inequalities and would never have agreed to send Scottish soldiers to fight a war in Iraq that is considered by many to be illegal; believes that Scots have the same democratic rights to self-determination as the people of any other country, and looks forward to a Scotland that is independent, socially just and internationalist in its outlook.”

After debate, the amendment was disagreed to ((DT) by division: For 35, Against 76, Abstentions 1).

The motion was then agreed to ((DT) by division: For 58, Against 51, Abstentions 3).

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

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

4.      Crichton Campus and the University of Glasgow: The Parliament debated S2M-5726 in the name of Alasdair Morgan—That the Parliament welcomes the work to develop an academic strategy for higher and further education in Dumfries and Galloway but, conscious that the failure of the University of Glasgow to recruit an intake of new undergraduates at the Crichton Campus in Dumfries this year may prejudge the outcome of that strategy, considers that the Scottish Executive should take all necessary steps to ensure that recruitment is resumed for the current year.

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

6.      Celebrating Success in Scottish Education: The Minister for Education and Young People (Hugh Henry) moved S2M-5775—That the Parliament notes the commitment shown by the Scottish Executive and its partners to the most comprehensive programme of modernisation of Scottish education for a generation; recognises that the Executive’s investment in over 320 new and refurbished schools, increased teacher numbers, a world-leading induction scheme, reduced class sizes, strong parental involvement and stable industrial relations has rebuilt the foundations of a successful school system; welcomes the significant increase in pre-school education entitlement that has been delivered since 1999; further welcomes the high quality of leadership in Scotland’s schools and congratulates the 973 teachers who have achieved the Scottish Qualification for Headship; welcomes the Executive’s investment in Scotland’s 49 Schools of Ambition, and congratulates staff, teachers and pupils in schools and centres across Scotland for the contribution they are making to the delivery of excellent learning and teaching.

Fiona Hyslop moved amendment S2M-5775.3 to motion S2M-5775—

Leave out from “notes” to end and insert—

“congratulates staff, teachers and pupils in schools and centres across Scotland for the contribution that they are making to the delivery of excellent learning and teaching; recognises that it is the duty of government to provide stewardship to drive standards forward, providing leadership and direction for a strong Scottish education system for the purpose of self-improvement and a healthier, wealthier and socially and environmentally more responsible Scotland, and notes that the following can all contribute to this aim: early intervention to increase nursery provision and identify and serve additional support needs at an early stage, cutting class sizes in primary 1-3 to 18 and maintaining teacher numbers in the face of falling school rolls to cut class sizes in secondary so that every child gets the attention they deserve and to ensure that essential literacy and numeracy skills are developed, embedding Scottish history, culture and heritage in school life, offering vocational courses from S3 onwards with parity of esteem for academic courses, introducing a new languages and science baccalaureate recognising top performance at Higher level to encourage take-up of these subjects, focussing on support for those pupils particularly from families living in poverty who are currently left behind in society and continuing the planned school building and refurbishment programme but providing councils with an alternative funding scheme to provide better value for money and access to communities and clubs to schools at evenings and weekends.”

After debate, the amendment was disagreed to ((DT) by division: For 25, Against 78, Abstentions 10).

Lord James Douglas-Hamilton moved amendment S2M-5775.1 to motion S2M-5775—

Leave out from “notes” to end and insert—

“supports giving top priority to ensuring that our education system enables every child to find fulfilment according to his or her ability, aptitude and inclination; believes that head teachers should have greater freedom to make decisions relating to their schools, in co-operation with parents and pupils, and further believes that particular areas for giving greater control include budgets, permanent exclusions, wearing of uniforms, setting, and the continuing professional development of teachers in their schools.”

After debate, the amendment was disagreed to ((DT) by division: For 18, Against 87, Abstentions 8).

The motion was then agreed to ((DT) by division: For 61, Against 43, Abstentions 9).

7.      Business Motion: Ms Margaret Curran, on behalf of the Parliamentary Bureau, moved S2M-5781—That the Parliament agrees the following revision to the programme of business for Wednesday 28 March 2007—

after,

followed by                      Final Stage: Airdrie-Bathgate Railway and Linked Improvements Bill

insert,

followed by                      SPCB Motion on the Reappointment of the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman

The motion was agreed to.

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

9.      Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy: The Parliament debated S2M-5521 in the name of Dr Sylvia Jackson—That the Parliament expresses concern that people who suffer from Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD), a severe and progressive genetic muscle wasting disease predominantly affecting boys and for which there is currently no cure, are dying in Scotland on average 10 years earlier then their counterparts in England; believes that an improvement in the life expectancy and experiences of these young people must be a priority for the Scottish Executive; considers that, in addition to enhanced medical research, better support services, equipment and adapted housing can make a massive difference to the quality of life of people with DMD and can contribute to extending their life expectancy; welcomes the development in 2003 of the Scottish Muscle Network, based at Yorkhill, as a national managed clinical network benefiting patients in Stirling and across Scotland, but believes that more must be done to improve both life quality and life expectancy for people with DMD in Scotland.

The meeting closed at 5.51 pm.

No. 67            Wednesday 28 March 2007

The meeting opened at 2.30 pm.

1.      Time for Reflection: Reverend Neil Gardner, Canongate Kirk, Edinburgh, led Time for Reflection.

2.      Airdrie-Bathgate Railway and Linked Improvements Bill – Stage 3: The Bill was considered at Stage 3.

Amendments 1 and 2 were agreed to without division.

3.      1st Report 2007 (Session 2) of the Airdrie-Bathgate Railway and Linked Improvements Bill Committee, Report on the Airdrie-Bathgate Railway and Linked Improvements Bill and European Protected Species: Phil Gallie, on behalf of the Airdrie-Bathgate Railway and Linked Improvements Bill Committee, moved S2M-5759—That the Parliament notes the 1st Report, 2007 (Session 2) of the Airdrie-Bathgate Railway and Linked Improvements Bill Committee, Report on the Airdrie-Bathgate Railway and Linked Improvements Bill and European Protected Species (SP Paper 761), and agrees that the construction of the Airdrie-Bathgate railway project should not impact on the favourable conservation status of otters.

The motion was agreed to (DT).

4.      Airdrie-Bathgate Railway and Linked Improvements Bill – Final Stage: Phil Gallie, on behalf of the Airdrie-Bathgate Railway and Linked Improvements Bill, moved S2M-5760—That the Parliament agrees that the Airdrie-Bathgate Railway and Linked Bill be passed.

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

5.      The Scottish Public Services Ombudsman: John Scott, on behalf of the Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body, moved S2M-5785—That the Parliament nominates Professor Alice Brown to Her Majesty The Queen for reappointment as the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman from 30 September 2007 until 29 September 2011.

After debate, the motion was agreed to ((DT) by division: For 113, Against 1, Abstentions 2).

6.      Decision Time: The Parliament took decisions on items 3, 4 and 5 as noted above.

7.      Reconnecting Communities by Rail: The Parliament debated S2M-5762 in the name of Mark Ruskell—That the Parliament welcomes the work undertaken by communities across Scotland to enhance the rail network; recognises in particular the long-standing need to reopen railway stations at Blackford, Greenloaning, St Andrews and Levenmouth, and further recognises the role that community rail partnerships and businesses can play in developing new services and enhancing the quality and uptake of existing services.

The meeting closed at 5.56 pm.

 No. 68           Thursday 29 March 2007

The meeting opened at 9.15 am.

1.      The Future of Scotland: The Parliament debated the Future of Scotland.

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

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

4.      Motion of Thanks to the Presiding Officer: The First Minister (Mr Jack McConnell) moved S2M-5789—That the Parliament expresses its thanks and gratitude to George Reid for his service to the Parliament and recognises the important role he has carried out as its second Presiding Officer.

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

5.      Decision Time: The Parliament took decisions on item 4 as noted above.

The meeting closed at 1.03 pm.

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