30 November 2008

The Sunday Whip

After last week's topsy-turvy approach, Holyrood reverted to form, with a debate over an SSI as a treat.

Anyway. Wednesday was the very picture of consensus: the Business Motion got waved through, as did Stage 1 of Jackie Baillie's Disabled Persons' Parking Places (Scotland) Bill, the accompanying Financial Resolution, and a Motion to suspend the standing orders for Thursday.

Thursday itself had a bit more confrontation. It was missed by Alasdair Allan (SNP, Western Isles), Tory Deputy Leader and Education Spokesman Murdo Fraser (Mid Scotland & Fife), Shadow Rural Development Minister Karen Gillon (Clydesdale), Tom McCabe (Lab. Hamilton South), Jack McConnell (Lab, Motherwell & Wishaw), LibDem Local Government Spokeswoman Alison McInnes (North East Scotland), Irene Oldfather (Lab, Cunninghame South), Shadow Economy Minister John Park (Mid Scotland & Fife), Peter Peacock (Lab, Highlands & Islands), Elaine Smith (Lab, Coatbridge & Chryston), Nicol Stephen (LD, Aberdeen South), Labour Chief Whip David Stewart (Highlands & Islands) and Jamie Stone (LD, Caithness, Sutherland & Easter Ross).

Anyway. First came the Government debate on Sea Fisheries, which faced amendments from the other main parties. The Labour one passed, by 68 (Labour/Tory/LD/Green) to 0 with 47 (SNP/Margo) abstentions. The Tory one was waved through and the LibDem one fell, by 61 (SNP/Tory) to 53 (Labour/LD/Green) with one Margo-shaped abstention. The amended motion was then waved through:

That the Parliament supports Team UK and in particular the positive approach taken by the new UK Fisheries Minister and the work of the Scottish Government in seeking to negotiate a deal that is fair and just for Scotland's fishing communities, and which will secure sustainable fisheries for Scotland; commends the Scottish Fishermen's Federation's recent environmental statement and for the leadership and innovation being shown by Scotland's fishermen, demonstrating the way forward for the rest of Europe; notes with concern the European Commission's proposals for west coast stocks that, if implemented, could especially damage the viability of the west coast langoustine sector, and therefore calls on the Scottish Government to work towards a settlement that successfully balances the need to conserve depleted west coast whitefish stocks with a thriving langoustine fishery.

Following that came the motion, and Tory amendment on St. Andrew's Day, both of which were passed without dissent:

That the Parliament believes in the importance of St Andrew's Day, Scotland's national day; recognises the opportunity that it presents for everyone in Scotland, and friends of Scotland around the world, to celebrate our history, culture and traditions as well as the vibrant, creative and dynamic nation that Scotland is today; notes the Scottish Government's support for a programme of events throughout Scotland as part of the Winter Festival; supports the opportunity that St Andrew's Day provides to prepare the way for the 2009 Year of Homecoming, which will give a much-needed boost to the Scottish tourism sector and to the economy generally, and welcomes the example set by the ancient burgh of St Andrews in organising its own programme of events for St Andrew's Day, which provides an appropriate focus for the nation's celebrations at this time of year.

The last piece of business was the most contentious, which is rare for an SSI, but not surprising when the SSI is the Provision of School Lunches (Disapplication of the Requirement to Charge) (Scotland) Order 2008. The motion passing it (though not the SSI itself) faced amendments from Labour and the Tories, with the former falling by 77 (everyone but Labour) to 38, and the latter falling by 62 (SNP/LibDems/Greens/Margo) to 53 (Labour/Tories). The SSI itself passed, however, by 87 (SNP/Labour/Greens/Margo) to 28 (Tories/LibDems).

So that's this week. Next week, we have the debate on the Pre-Budget Report (I look forward to seeing Labour arguing in favour of a cut in Holyrood's budget), Forced Marriages, and a debate led by the Tories. Can't wait...


James Higham said...

Forced marriages? Not enough of them?

Will said...

I'm sure at least one backbencher will refer to the forced marriage with Whitehall...