26 April 2009

The Sunday Whip

Well, MSPs returned from their Easter break and baiscally picked things up where they left off, with the old routines kicking in. Wednesday was consensual, and given over to Committee business: following the passage without dissent of the Business Motions, Parliament waved through the following motions:

That the Parliament notes the Standards, Procedures and Public Appointments Committee's 3rd Report 2009 (Session 3), The Scottish Parliamentary Pensions Act (asp 1): Proposed Standing Order Rule Changes (SP Paper 230), and agrees that changes to Standing Orders set out in Annexe A to the report be made with effect from 24 April 2009.

That the Parliament notes the Standards, Procedures and Public Appointments Committee's 1st Report 2009 (Session 3),
Members' Bills - cut-off date for introduction (SP Paper 205), and agrees that the changes to Standing Orders set out in Annexe A to the report be made with effect from 24 April 2009.

That the Parliament notes the Standards, Procedures and Public Appointments Committee's 4th Report 2009 (Session 3),
Review of equal opportunities in the work of committees (SP Paper 244), and agrees that the changes to Standing Orders set out in Annexe A to the report be made with effect from 24 April 2009.

That the Parliament notes the conclusions and recommendations contained in the Transport, Infrastructure and Climate Change Committee's 1st Report, 2009 (Session 3):
Report on the Inquiry into the potential benefits of high-speed rail services (SP Paper 219).

In addition, members waved through the nomination of Tam Baillie as Children's Commissioner, and approved the Health Care and Associated Professions (Miscellaneous Amendments and Practitioner Psychologists) Order 2009.

Thursday, though, saw a little more meat on matters, but there were a lot of absences - twenty to be precise:

Labour's Shadow Further & Higher Education Minister Claire Baker (Mid Scotland & Fife) and Shadow Education Secretary Rhona Brankin (Midlothian), Environment Minister Roseanna Cunningham (Perth), Nigel Don (SNP, North East Scotland), Helen Eadie (Lab, Dunfermline East), Tory Leader Annabel Goldie (West of Scotland) and her Labour counterpart Iain Gray (East Lothian), Alex Johnstone (Con, North East Scotland), Labour's Shadow Finance Secretary Andy Kerr (East Kilbride), Marilyn Livingstone (Lab, Kirkcaldy), Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead (Moray), Labour's Shadow Culture Minister Pauline McNeill (Glasgow Kelvin), Nanette Milne (Con, North East Scotland), John Farquhar Munro (LD, Ross, Skye & Inverness West), Housing Minister Alex Neil (Central Scotland), Irene Oldfather (Lab, Cunninghame South), Labour's Shadow Economy Minister John Park (Mid Scotland & Fife), Mike Rumbles (LD, West Aberdeenshire & Kincardine), Jamie Stone (LD, Caithness, Sutherland & Easter Ross) and Dave Thompson (SNP, Highlands & Islands).

Anyway. First came a Labour motion on the Scottish Newspaper Industry. The Tory amendment fell by 53 (Lab/LD/Green/Margo) votes to 13 (Con) with 42 SNP sbstentions and the LibDem amendment fell by 40 (Lab/Green/Margo) to 26 (Con/LD) with 42 SNP abstentions. Having survived unscathed, the motion was passed by 82 (SNP/Lab/Green/Margo) votes to 13 (LibDem) with 13 Tory abstentions:

That the Parliament recognises the threat to the Scottish economy from the current crisis facing Scotland's newspaper and media industries; notes that local newspapers are facing particular difficulties in the current economic climate; opposes any moves towards compulsory redundancies such as those imposed by Trinity Mirror at the Daily Record and Sunday Mail; calls for all newspaper and media organisations considering restructuring, reorganisation or redundancy to engage in meaningful negotiations with the relevant workforce representatives in order to minimise the economic impact of any job cuts, and calls on the Scottish Government to hold urgent talks with Trinity Mirror management in order to prevent compulsory job cuts.

Following that came the Labour motion on West of Scotland Transport Infrastructure: the Tory amendment passed by 55 (SNP/Tory) votes to 53 (everyone else). The LibDem amendment passed by 54 votes - Labour, the LibDems, Greens, plus Joe FitzPatrick (SNP, Dundee West) and Sandra White (SNP, Glasgow) - to 0 with 54 abstentions (the remaining SNP MSPs, the Tories and Margo - and did I mention how much forcing a vote just to abstain annoys me? I did? Oh, well...). The amended motion then passed by 56 (SNP/Tory/Margo) to 52 (Lab/LD/Greens):

That the Parliament notes the need for investment in transport infrastructure in the west of Scotland, particularly in the Greater Glasgow travel-to-work area, to ensure the continued competitiveness of the area; therefore regrets the previous Labour-led administration's disappointing record on delivering improvements to key road links connecting the west of Scotland, notably the substantial delays and cost overruns in upgrading the M8 and M74; welcomes the fact that the Edinburgh Airport Rail Link project pioneered by the previous Labour-led administration has been cancelled, thereby freeing up investment for the crucial Edinburgh to Glasgow Rail Improvement Programme; calls on the Scottish Government to ensure the clear prioritisation of transport projects both in the west of Scotland and elsewhere; welcomes the significant opportunity presented by the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games for the creation of legacy transport infrastructure projects in the west of Scotland, including the proposed redevelopment of Dalmarnock station as a key public transport hub for the Games and the area, offering speedy direct rail links to the main Games venues and to Celtic Park from Lanarkshire, the city centre and the west in particular, as well as a high standard of pedestrian and cyclist pathways through the area; supports the work of Clyde Gateway in developing the project, and urges the Scottish Government to give the Dalmarnock station project its full backing.

Finally, a Government motion on the Glasgow 2014 legacy plan, along with a Labour amendment, passed without dissent:

That the Parliament welcomes the forthcoming meeting to take place in Glasgow between the Minister for Public Health and Sport, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport Andy Burnham, Secretary of State for Scotland Jim Murphy and Glasgow City Council leader Steven Purcell to discuss the release of a substantial sum of National Lottery funding towards supporting a legacy for the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow; welcomes this new spirit of cooperation and calls on the Scottish Government to work with the UK Government to maximise the benefit of sporting events in Scotland and the wider United Kingdom, especially the 2014 Commonwealth Games and 2012 Olympic Games, in terms of encouraging sporting participation and harnessing the talents of Scots; notes Glasgow City Council's own 2014 legacy plan and calls on the Scottish Government to work with other local authorities to produce their own legacy plans to meet shared aspirations on tackling obesity and low levels of participation; supports the work of the Scottish Government and its partners, including the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities, Glasgow City Council, local authorities across Scotland, NHS boards, public bodies and the third sector, in planning for a legacy for the people of Scotland from these Games; agrees that the Interim Games Legacy Plan, published on 18 December 2008, set the right context for that planning with its emphasis on health, physical activity and sport and its coverage of volunteering, education and learning, culture, sustainability, business, skills, tourism and Scotland's international profile; commends the real opportunity that the hosting of the Games offers for regenerating the east end of Glasgow, and further agrees that, following the launch of the full Games Legacy Plan in the summer, the Scottish Parliament can play a part by encouraging individuals, groups, communities and businesses to get involved so that Scotland's legacy from the 2014 Games can be lasting and positive.

So all in all, a nice, easy start, and an OK week for the Government.

1 comment:

subrosa said...

Many thanks once again Will.