07 February 2010

The Sunday Whip

This was another big week, with the Budget on Wednesday, and the Marine (Scotland) Bill on Thursday, which saw 21 votes taken in the Chamber.

So to start off with Wednesday, I think we all know what happened here: following the usual nodding through of the Business Motions, a Labour amendment to the motion passing the Bill (effectively Parliamentary graffiti) calling for GARL to be re-instated fell by 66 votes (SNP/Tory/Green/Margo) to 59 (Labour/LD), and the Budget (Scotland) (No. 4) Bill (PDF) passed by 66 votes to 45 (Labour) with 14 LibDem abstentions: the absentees were Tom McCabe (Lab, Hamilton South), John Farquhar Munro (LD, Ross, Skye & Inverness West) and LibDem Education Spokesperson Margaret Smith (Edinburgh West).

What you might not have spotted was that the Loch Ryan Port (Harbour Empowerment) Order 2009 was waved through.

On Thursday, proceedings were dominated by the epic Marine (Scotland) Bill and its many, many, amendments. Tom McCabe and John Farquhar Munro missed the whole thing, and there were 21 amendments which faced votes. In the morning, MSPs voted on: Amendments 6 (LD), 24 (Lab), 25 (Lab), 106 (Green), 107 (Lab), 35 (LD), 16 (Lab), 41 (Lab), 43 (Lab), 52 (LD), 115 (Green), 60 (LD), 116 (Lab), 117 (Lab), 68 (LD) and 118, raised by Kenneth Gibson (SNP, Cunninghame North). Margo MacDonald (Ind, Lothians) and Margaret Mitchell (Con, Central Scotland) missed all of these votes.

Amendment 6 fell by 62 (SNP/Con) to 59 (Lab/LD/Green). Labour's Shadow Public Health Minister Richard Simpson (Mid Scotland & Fife), Margaret Smith and Nicol Stephen (LD, Aberdeen South) all missed this one.

Amendment 24 passed by 62 (Lab/Con/Green) to 60 (SNP/LD). Anne McLaughlin (SNP, Glasgow) missed this one, as did Margaret Smith.

Amendment 25 also passed 62-60. This one was missed by Parliament Minister Bruce Crawford (Stirling) and Margaret Smith.

Amendment 106 fell by 62 (SNP/Con) to 61 (Lab/LD/Green). Margaret Smith was still AWOL at this time.

Amendment 107 passed by 106 to 17 (LibDems, Greens and Kenneth Gibson). Margaret Smith still hadn't got in.

At this point, the Chair was occupied by the two DPOs: Trish Godman (Lab, West Renfrewshire) and Alasdair Morgan (SNP, South of Scotland) and remained so for most of the proceedings relating to the Bill - neither of them were involved in any further voting for the rest of the day.

Amendment 35 fell by 104 to 15 (LibDems alone). Gavin Brown (Con, Lothians), Tory Leader Annabel Goldie (West of Scotland) and Christine Grahame (SNP, South of Scotland) were missing.

Amendment 16 fell by 60 (SNP/Con/Green) votes to 58 (Lab/LD). Gavin Brown, Annabel Goldie, Christopher Harvie (SNP, Mid Scotland & Fife) and LibDem Leader Tavish Scott (Shetland) were all absent.

Amendment 41 fell by 63 (SNP/LD/Green) votes to 59 (Lab/Con).

Amendment 43 fell by 60 (SNP/LD) votes to 59 (Lab/Con/Green). Tory Finance Spokesman Derek Brownless (South of Scotland), Alex Johnstone (Con, North East Scotland) and Hugh O'Donnell (LD, Central Scotland) all gave this one a miss.

Amendment 52 fell by 61 (SNP/Con/Green) votes to 59 (Lab/LD). Gavin Brown and Annabel Goldie were still missing.

Amendment 115 passed by 116 to 2: the sole dissenters were Mike Pringle (LD, Edinburgh South) and Richard Simpson. Gavin Brown, Annabel Goldie, Liam McArthur (LD, Orkney) and Jamie Stone (LD, Caithness, Sutherland & Easter Ross) were absent.

Amendmet 60 fell by 61 (SNP/Con/Green) votes to 59 (Lab/LD). Again, Gavin Brown and Annabel Goldie were absent.

Amendment 116 fell by 61 (SNP/Con/Green) to 58 (Lab/LD), Gavin Brown, Annabel Goldie and Tavish Scott all AWOL.

Amendment 117 fell by 60 (SNP/Con/Green) to 56 (Lab/LD). Gavin Brown, Annabel Goldie, Nanette Milne (Con, North East Scotland), LibDem Finance Spokesman Jeremy Purvis (Tweeddale, Ettrick & Lauderdale), Tavish Scott and Jim Tolson (LD, Dunfermline West) were all missing.

Amendment 68 passed by 60 (Lab/LD/Green) to 59 (SNP/Con). Gavin Brown, Annabel Goldie and Tavish Scott were all still out of the Chmaber.

Then came Amendment 118, which fell by 115 to 4, the amendment's sole supporters being the Greens, Kenneth Gibson and Hugh O'Donnell. Again, Gavin Brown, Annabel Goldie and Tavish Scott were still absent as MSPs headed towards Question Time.

Members returned to the Bill in the afternoon, where they handled Amendment 20 (Green), 121 (Green), 7 (LD), 90 (LD) and 5 (Lab).

Amendment 20 fell by 120 to 3, the only supporters being the Greens and Margo. Labour's Shadow Cabinet Secretary Without Portfolio John Park (Mid Scotland & Fife) missed the vote.

Amendment 121 fell by 121 to 3, again with the Greens and Margo being its only backers. At this point, Margo left, perhaps in disgust. Leader of the Opposition Iain Gray (East Lothian), former FM Jack McConnell (Motherwell & Wishaw) and his successor Alex Salmond (Gordon) also quit the Chamber, doubtless to argue over 'Piegate'. It's finally happened: we've attached the '-gate' suffix to so many words that we've had to start reusing them: 'Piegate' was originally the fiasco that saw Frank McAveety telling a white lie in the Chamber as to his whereabouts.

But I digress. Amendment 7 fell by 62 (SNP/Con/Green) votes to 57 (Lab/LD). Alex Johnstone also missed this one.

Amendment 90 fell by 63 to 57 - the same parties voting the same way.

Finally, Amendment 5 fell by 61 (SNP/Con) to 58 (Lab/LD/Green). George Foulkes (Lab, Lothians) missed this one.

So that was that: after all that, the Marine (Scotland) Bill passed without dissent, along with an LCM regarding the Flood and Water Management Bill.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm off to lie down in a darkened room.

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