28 September 2008

The Sunday Whip

The votes this week had a consensual air throughout, but as there was little to vote on (the debate on Foot and Mouth was replaced with a debate on HBOS, which came without a motion), that isn't surprising.

On Wednesday, Business Motions sailed through, as did two SSIs: the Legal Profession and Legal Aid (Scotland) Act 2007 (Transitional, Savings and Consequential Provisions) Order 2008 and the Mental Health (Absconding patients from other jurisdictions) (Scotland) Regulations 2008.

Thursday morning saw a debate led by Margo MacDonald on funding community sport, with a Labour amendment. Both were passed on the nod at Decision Time:

That the Parliament, in view of the reduction in lottery funding for the development of community sport in Scotland, supports calls for a substantial sum of National Lottery funding to be released as soon as possible, without prejudice to the outcome of ongoing consultations on aspects of the wider remits of lottery funding, thus ensuring both support for ongoing coaching programmes and a legacy from the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow that benefit the population of Glasgow and all of Scotland; believes that such funding is capable of enhancing the Glasgow games so that, in addition to supporting a spectacular event, the investment would lay the foundations for health and sporting improvements across the entire population of Scotland and also tackle poverty and deprivation, improve
economic performance, protect the environment and historic heritage and support artistic endeavour, and notes the particular role of community and voluntary organisations in delivering this legacy.

This left the afternoon debate on Stage 3 of the Judiciary and Courts (Scotland) Bill. First came the debates on the various amendments (PDF).

Firstly, two Labour amendments were pulled: one (18) withdrawn, the other (19) simply not moved. But the Tory amendments did attract attention.

Ten MSPs missed this part of proceedings: Jackson Carlaw (Con, West of Scotland), Patricia Ferguson (Lab, Glasgow Maryhill), Labour's Shadow Rural Development Minister - who is currently on maternity leave - Karen Gillon (Clydesdale), Marilyn Livingstone (Lab, Kirkcaldy), Margo MacDonald (Ind, Lothians), Tom McCabe (Lab, Hamilton South), Jack McConnell (Lab, Motherwell & Wishaw), LibDem Leader Tavish Scott (Shetland), Shirley-Anne Somerville (SNP, Lothians) and Nicol Stephen (LibDem, Aberdeen South).

So given how the absences stacked up, it wasn't surprising that Amendment 20 fell by 62 votes (SNP/LD/Green) to 56 (Labour and the Tories). Amendment 21 fell, by the same margin with the same parties supporting or opposing it.

The Government amendments (2 to 15) were all waved through, but the Government will not be completely happy, given the passage of Tory Amendment 23 - missed by the ten mentioned above, as well as Labour's Shadow Environment Minister Elaine Murray (Dumfries) - by 71 (everyone but the SNP) votes to 46. The SNP's position was recovered, however, when Labour's Amendment 1 while the Government's last Amendments - 16 & 17 - were waved through.

At Decision Time, the amended Judiciary and Courts (Scotland) Bill was passed without dissent.

So on the whole, it was quiet and consensual. Group hug!


Scott @ loveandgarbage said...

Amendment 23 seems devoid of substantive and meaningful content (like much from the MSP moving it) - an odd thing to lose a vote on.

Will said...

Perhaps that's the point - hardly a serious matter, so easy for the Opposition to stick it to the SNP (and give the Tories something to crow about, given the press release they issued) as opposed to 20 and 21 where the LibDems and Greens voted wth the Government.

It may also explain why the SNP then proceeded regardless.