10 January 2010

The Sunday Whip

Parliament re-assembled after the Christmas break this week, and it looks like regular service has been resumed, with Wednesday being the model of non-controversial motions and consensus, while Thursday displays a little more meat and poor Labour whipping doing more to affect the outcome of votes than anything else. Though, given the weather, the only surprise is that so many MSPs were in the right place at the right time.

Anyway, Wednesday saw no votes taken: the Business Motions were nodded through (though there was some chunnering on the amendment to this week's programme), MSPs acknowledged the Health & Sport Committee's report, Report on the Inquiry into child and adolescent mental health and well-being and the Economy, Energy & Tourism Committee has been lumbered with consideration of the Census (Scotland) Order 2010.

Thursday, however, saw the Stage 1 debate on the Public Services Reform (Scotland) Bill, and there were eight absentees: Wendy Alexander (Lab, Paisley North), Shadow Further and Higher Education Minister Claire Baker (Mid Scotland & Fife), Rhoda Grant (Lab, Highlands & Islands), John Lamont (Con, Roxburgh & Berwickshire), Marilyn Livingstone (Lab, Kirkcaldy), John Farquhar Munro (LD, Ross, Skye & Inverness West), Peter Peacock (Lab, Highlands & Islands) and Labour Chief Whip David Stewart (Highlands & Islands). Now on the one hand, the weather conditions were such that to only have eight missing is not so bad; but on the other hand, there's nothing worse than phoning work to say that you can't make it in because of your inability to get to the office, only to find the next day that people who live in the same area successfully arrived after only a little extra effort. The reason I say that is that this is precisely what happened to those MSPs who were missing: John Lamont was the only Borders MSP not to make it in, while Wendy Alexander was the only one from the West who wasn't in the Chamber at 5:00. 11 out of 15 Highland & Island MSPs made it and 14 out of the 16 Mid Scotland & Fife MSPs found their way to the Chamber.

Anyway, back to the Bill, and a LibDem amendment to the motion (they can only amend the motion at Stage 1) fell by 62 (SNP/Tory) votes to 58 (Lab/LD/Green/Margo) - making the amendment a casualty of either bad weather or bad whipping. But the motion itself passed by 104 (SNP/Lab/Con/Green) votes to 16 (LD/Margo), and the Financial Resolution was waved through, so the Bill advances to Stage 2.

So all in all, a fairly light start to 2010. It looks like we're easing back into things.


Mark MacLachlan said...

Jigs that was a frighetner, just noticed a google ad on your front page for the Labour party!

Will said...

Well, having ditched the Chinese Communist Party, I suppose Google has to look elsewhere...