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Meeting of the Parliament

Thursday 21 December 2006

The meeting opened at 9.15 am.

1. Trident: Nicola Sturgeon moved S2M-5355—That the Parliament notes the publication by the UK Government of its White Paper on the future of the Trident nuclear missile system on Monday 4 December 2006; recognises the need for a full debate to explore the military, economic and political consequences of Trident renewal and believes that a convincing case can be made, in military, economic and political terms, for the non-replacement of Trident, and calls on the UK Government not to go ahead at this time with the proposal in the White Paper.

Maureen Macmillan moved amendment S2M-5355.5 to motion S2M-5355—

Leave out from “the publication” to end and insert—

“that the UK Government has initiated a debate on the future of the independent nuclear deterrent force and urges everyone in Scotland to take part in it; recognises that the decisions on national defence are rightly reserved to Westminster; considers that any government has a primary duty to protect the security of its people and that this includes a credible policy on national defence and international security; believes in a shared objective of a world without nuclear weapons and supports further reductions in the global nuclear arsenal; further believes that, in seeking a world free from nuclear weapons, we should utilise and develop our international engagement at every level including at the EU, the United Nations including the UK’s seat on the Security Council, NATO and the G8; notes with concern the plans of the SNP to take Scotland out of the collective security arrangements of the UK and NATO and to establish separate armed forces for Scotland with greatly diminished capabilities either to contribute to international peacekeeping operations or even to defend Scottish interests, and rejects those policies on the grounds that they would threaten the security of Scotland, diminish our armed forces and destroy jobs.”

After debate, the amendment was disagreed to ((DT) by division: For 43, Against 56, Abstentions 20).

Phil Gallie moved amendment S2M-5355.2 to motion S2M-5355—

Leave out from “and believes” to end.

After debate, the amendment was disagreed to ((DT) by division: For 16, Against 103, Abstentions 0).

Mr Jim Wallace moved amendment S2M-5355.3 to motion S2M-5355—

Leave out from “notes” to end and insert—

“rejects the case made by the UK Government in its White Paper on the future of the Trident nuclear missile system published on 4 December 2006 that the decision on a replacement for Trident needs to be made in early 2007 and calls on the UK Government not to go ahead with the proposals in the White Paper at this time.”

After debate, the amendment was disagreed to ((DT) by division: For 57, Against 62, Abstentions 0).

The motion was then disagreed to ((DT) by division: For 45, Against 72, Abstentions 2).

2. Post Offices: Mr John Swinney moved S2M-5349—That the Parliament expresses its concern at the reductions in the post office network proposed by the UK Government and calls on the Scottish Executive to make representations to the UK Government to ensure that Scotland retains a comprehensive and accessible post office network.

Sylvia Jackson moved amendment S2M-5349.4 to motion S2M-5349—

Leave out from “expresses” to end and insert—

“believes that it is necessary to look carefully at the UK Government’s proposals for the future of the post office network in full and the consultation paper itself to ensure that the special needs of Scotland’s remoter communities are properly taken into account; welcomes the Scottish Executive’s proposal to apply four criteria to this assessment, namely whether there will be an acceptable level of future services, especially in remote rural and disadvantaged communities, whether there is a recognition that post offices do not occupy a purely commercial role in our communities, but have an important social role to play, whether there is proper consultation with affected local communities and whether there will be a continuation of Post Office efforts to promote innovative means of service delivery; believes that it is important that the vital social and economic role of post offices has been acknowledged; is pleased to see the commitment of £1.7 billion to support the network and to pay for restructuring and that the annual social network payment will remain in place meantime, and is encouraged by the push for outreach locations for remote communities.”

After debate, the amendment was disagreed to ((DT) by division: For 49, Against 60, Abstentions 10).

Murdo Fraser moved amendment S2M-5349.1 to motion S2M-5349—
After first “Government” insert—

“notes that decisions taken by the UK Government have themselves contributed to the losses being made by the post office network and that it is therefore disingenuous for ministers to justify the extensive scaling down of the network on the basis that it is losing money; believes that the UK Government should seek to bring new business opportunities to the network rather than merely manage its decline”.

After debate, the amendment was disagreed to ((DT) by division: For 50, Against 63, Abstentions 6).

Euan Robson moved amendment S2M-5349.3 to motion S2M-5349—

Leave out from “expresses” to end and insert—

“believes that the post office network plays a crucial role in Scotland; notes that this is a reserved issue and supports the Liberal Democrats’ rejection of the recommendation of the UK Government’s post office network consultation paper that a further 2,500 post office branches be closed across the United Kingdom.”

After debate, the amendment was disagreed to ((DT) by division: For 19, Against 90, Abstentions 10).

Carolyn Leckie moved amendment S2M-5349.2 to motion S2M-5349—

after second “Government” insert “to begin paying post offices adequately for the government services they provide, to return services that it has withdrawn, such as issuing  television licenses, to post offices, to begin the development of post office accounts as a banking facility for those living in deprived and rural communities and to consider providing assistance to communities in deprived urban and rural areas to open community post offices to prevent the loss of vital local services, and thus”.

After debate, the amendment was disagreed to ((DT) by division: For 41, Against 78, Abstentions 0).

The motion was disagreed to ((DT) by division: For 56, Against 63, Abstentions 0).

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. Respect Your Life, Not a Knife: The Parliament debated S2M-5117 in the name of Andrew Welsh—That the Parliament notes that 27 November 2006 is the sixth anniversary of the tragic death of 10-year-old Damilola Taylor, a young immigrant from Nigeria who moved to the United Kingdom with his sister and his mother, while his father stayed behind, in order to make better lives for themselves, and who three months later was murdered in London, England, on his way home from his local library; conveys its deepest sympathies to his surviving family and congratulates them on ensuring that this young man’s legacy lives on in the Damilola Taylor Trust, a not-for-profit organisation that has launched a campaign to reduce knife violence by getting secondary schools to encourage students to sign a pledge wall stating that they will not carry weapons; agrees that the goals of the campaign, namely to commit young people not to carry weapons and to demonstrate to those who do that the majority of young people do not want to carry weapons, are both laudable and practical; congratulates local organisations in Scotland, such as the Community Alcohol Free Environment (CAFE Project) initiative in Angus and other local organisations that are trying to bring the campaign to Scotland, and considers that the Scottish Executive should offer its full assistance and support to encouraging the spread of this community-led initiative to schools throughout Scotland to spread the “Respect your Life, Not a Knife” message.

6. Themed Question Time: Questions on Education and Young People, Tourism, Culture and Sport, and on Finance and Public Services and Communities were answered by Scottish Ministers and junior Scottish Ministers.

7. Procedures Committee Reports: Donald Gorrie, on behalf of the Procedures Committee, moved S2M-5311—That the Parliament notes the Procedures Committee’s 6th Report, 2006 (Session 2), Public Bills and Substitution (SP Paper 652), 7th Report, 2006 (Session 2), Members’ Interests (Parliamentary Determinations and Resolutions) (SP Paper 659), 8th Report, 2006 (Session 2), Consolidation Bill Procedure (SP Paper 676) and 9th Report, 2006 (Session 2), Rule 10.3.2 (the “20-day rule”) (SP Paper 685) and agrees that the changes to Standing Orders set out in Annexe A to each of these reports be made with effect from 22 December 2006.

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

8. Finance Committee – Report on Stage 2 of the 2007-08 Budget Process: Ms Wendy Alexander moved S2M-5319—That the Parliament notes the 9th Report, 2006 (Session 2) of the Finance Committee, Stage 2 of the 2007-08 Budget Process (SP Paper 695) and refers the report and its recommendations to the Scottish Executive for consideration.

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

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

The meeting closed at 5.10 pm.

P E Grice
Clerk of the Parliament
21 December 2006

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

Affirmative Instruments
The following instrument was laid in draft before the Parliament on 21 December 2006 for approval by resolution

The Scottish Parliament (Disqualification) Order 2007

laid under section 115 of, and paragraphs 1 and 2 of Schedule 7 to, the Scotland Act 1998

Negative Instruments

The following instruments were laid before the Parliament on 21 December 2006 and are subject to annulment—

The Local Government (Discretionary Payments and Injury Benefits) (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2006 (SSI 2006/609)

laid under sections 12(6) and 24(5) of the Superannuation Act 1972

The Police (Injury Benefit) (Scotland) Regulations 2006 (SSI 2006/610)

laid under section 1(6) of the Police Pensions Act 1976

Other Documents

The following documents were laid before the Parliament on 21 December 2006 and are not subject to any Parliamentary procedure

Scottish Law Commission: Report on Conversion of Long Leases: Scot Law Com No. 204 (SE/2006/238)

laid under section 3(2) of the Law Commission Act 1965

Scottish Economic Report, December 2006 (SE/2006/255)
Scottish Water Interim Accounts for the six months to 30 September 2006 (SE/2006/262)

laid under section 57(8) of the Water Industry (Scotland) Act 2002

SPCB Documents

The following document was published on 21 December 2006

Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body Annual Report 2006 (SP Paper 700)

Committee Reports

The following report was published on 21 December 2006

Education Committee, 12th Report, 2006 (Session 2): Stage 1 Report on the Protection of Vulnerable Groups (Scotland) Bill (SP Paper 702)