30 March 2008

The Sunday Whip

Quite a quiet week, this week... clearly MSPs were demob happy, heading off for their two-week break.

Anyway. Wednesday was the usual tranquil affair: the Business Motion got waved through as per, and the only interruption to the consensus came when the Tories piped up to challenge a Labour amendment to the Government's motion on the Health Care Associated Infection Task Force. As they only wanted to abstain, and they were the only ones who appeared to have any beef with it at all, the amendment went through by 96 votes to 0 with 16 abstentions. Seeing as MSPs (and obviously Business Managers) didn't see this as overly controversial, there were quite a few absences. The SNP were without Angela Constance (Livingston), Joe FitzPatrick (Dundee West) and Kenneth Gibson (Cunninghame North). Labour Leader Wendy Alexander (Paisley North) was probably off preparing her Conference speech, while other the Labour absences were Richard Baker (Shadow Higher Education Minister and MSP for North East Scotland), Rhona Brankin (Shadow Education Secretary and MSP for Midlothian), Patricia Ferguson (Glasgow Maryhill), George Foulkes (Lothians) - who had been going to the House of Lords anyway but was taken ill - Johann Lamont (Shadow Communities Minister and MSP for Glasgow Pollok), Marilyn Livingstone (Kirkcaldy), Jack McConnell (Motherwell & Wishaw) - who if you believe the Sunday papers is writing his memoirs - Duncan McNeil (Greenock & Inverclyde) and Des McNulty (Shadow Transport Minister and MSP for Clydebank & Milngavie). The LibDems were without John Farquhar Munro (Ross, Skye & Inverness West), Mike Pringle (Edinburgh South) and Margaret Smith (Justice Spokesperson and MSP for Edinburgh West). Despite these absences, the amendment was always going to pass and the amended motion went through on the nod:

That the Parliament notes the Scottish Government's commitment to bring infection rates down by investing £54 million to support a far more intensive and targeted three-year programme of healthcare associated infection (HAI) work from 1 April 2008; believes that the Scottish Government is right to introduce a one-year pilot MRSA screening programme to shape a planned, structured and deliverable national screening programme from 2009-10; welcomes the links that will be established between the Patient Safety and Patient Experience programmes and the HAI agenda to bring about a coherency of approach in the way that NHSScotland delivers its service to patients; welcomes the Scottish Government's continuation of the multi-agency HAI Task Force, and agrees with the challenging target that the Scottish Government has set for all staff of NHS boards to achieve at least 90% hand hygiene compliance by November 2008; commends the progress made by the previous Labour-led government in establishing the HAI Task Force and ensuring that Scotland was a model for tackling healthcare associated infections and should continue to be so; asks the Scottish Government to commit to tackling all healthcare associated infections, not just MRSA; notes the importance of combating infections in care homes, and calls for a specific plan of action to do so.

Following that, three SSIs were passed nem. con. - the Civil Legal Aid (Financial Conditions) (Scotland) Regulations 2008, the Advice and Assistance (Financial Conditions) (Scotland) Regulations 2008 and the Protected Trust Deeds (Scotland) Regulations 2008.

Thursday wasn't too difficult for the Government either: the only four MSPs to be missing were Wendy Alexander (speechwriting), Patricia Ferguson, George Foulkes (ill) and Jack McConnell (trying to find a publisher), and their absence wasn't decisive.

A Tory attempt to annul the Home Detention Curfew Licence (Prescribed Standard Conditions) (Scotland) (No. 2) Order 2008 fell by 66 votes (SNP, LibDems - who knew which way they were voting this time - Greens and Margo) to 58 (Labour and the Tories).

A LibDem amendment to the motion passing the Local Government Finance (Scotland) Amendment Order 2008 - basically an act of graffiti on the cover of the Order - also failed, by 65 votes (SNP, Tories and Greens) to 58 (Labour and the LibDems) with one Margo-shaped abstention. The Order itself was passed, by 107 votes (SNP, Labour, Tories, Greens) to one (John Farqhuar Munro) with 16 abstentions (the rest of the LibDems and Margo).

Following that, a LibDem amendment to the Solicitor General's motion on fatal accident inquiries was waved through, as was the amended motion:

That the Parliament welcomes the review of the Fatal Accidents and Sudden Deaths Inquiry (Scotland) Act 1976, to be led by Lord Cullen of Whitekirk, which will ensure that Scotland has an effective and practical system of public inquiry into deaths which is fit for the 21st century; considers that there is a pressing need for the Scottish Government to enable inquiries to be held in Scotland into the deaths of military personnel, normally domiciled in Scotland, who are killed in active service overseas, and believes that the Scottish Government should give consideration to all available options, including the holding of fatal accident inquiries on a mandatory basis, so that the families of Scottish military personnel no longer have to suffer from the additional burden of attending coroners' inquests in England."

Finally, one more SSI was waved through: the Companies Act 2006 (Scottish public sector companies to be audited by the Auditor General for Scotland) Order 2008. After that, with the few brave souls who hung around for Mary Scanlon's debate on the Elgin Bypass, MSPs were free to head for home and wire into the Easter eggs that I'm sure they've all been well-behaved enough to save for their actual holiday. Not.

1 comment:

julie said...

Cathie Craigie and Elaine Smith for fifth place? Great..:((