09 March 2008

The Sunday Whip

Well this was a sedate affair. Other than the Business Motions, which were waved through as per usual, there were not even any motions on Wednesday, and Thursday saw very little dissent. It was missed by Labour Leader (and MSP for Paisley North) Wendy Alexander, Robert Brown (LD Business Manager and MSP for Glasgow), Karen Gillon (Lab, Clydesdale) and James Kelly (Lab, Glasgow Rutherglen).

A Labour amendment to the Government motion on Rape and Sexual Offences went through on the nod, as did the amended motion, which read:

That the Parliament welcomes the publication of the Scottish Law Commission's final report on the law on rape and other sexual offences and supports the Scottish Government's announcement that it will bring forward legislation to reform the law on rape and sexual offences in light of the consultation on the commission's findings and proposed draft bill to ensure that Scotland has a modern and robust framework of laws in this area; recognises that the proposals from the commission are complex and that it is important for the Parliament to be given every opportunity to interrogate the bill when it is published, and therefore calls on the Scottish Government to aim at an agreement with the Justice Committee on a timetable which gives adequate time to properly scrutinise the bill.

Then came the Government motion on Rural Policy. A Labour amendment fell by 65 (SNP/Tory/Green) votes to 58 (Labour/LibDems) with one abstention (guess who!). A Tory amendment was waved through but a LibDem motion was rejected, by 64 (SNP/Tory/Green) votes - Christine Grahame (SNP, South of Scotland) missed the vote - to 59 (Labour/LibDems/Margo). Nevertheless, everyone was happy enough with the motion - as amended by the Tories - to go through on the nod:

That the Parliament recognises the progress made in supporting rural development since the establishment of the Scottish Parliament; welcomes the analysis set out in the independent review of rural policy in Scotland by the OECD, and believes that this report and other reports on the future of rural Scotland published in recent months provide the opportunity to further develop rural policy to ensure that all our rural communities enjoy the economic, social and environmental benefits of sustainable economic growth and that they are empowered to greater influence their own destiny providing that the Scottish Government takes action to address the specific policy delivery concerns identified by the OECD including "centralisation and the lack of adequate bottom-up participation", "weak integration", "an overlap of different approaches and agencies" and "the extreme complexity of both the design and the delivery system linked with rural policy".

Finally, a motion from the Standards, Procedures and Public Appointments Committee on the Draft Equalities Strategy for Public Appointments was waved through:

That the Parliament agrees that the Standards, Procedures and Public Appointments Committee's 2nd Report, 2008 (Session 3): Draft Public Appointments Equalities Strategy - Diversity Delivers (SP Paper 65), together with the Official Report of the Parliament's debate on the report, should form the Parliament's response to the consultation by the Office of the Commissioner for Public Appointments in Scotland.

Maybe we'll get some entertainment next week.

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