30 May 2010

The Sunday Whip

This would have been a successful week for the Government, had it not been for one solitary defeat. Sadly, it came on arguably the most important vote of the week. If you don't already know what I'm talking about, read on. And if you do, then stay anyway.


Wednesday was almost consensual, and was missed by Margaret Curran (Lab, Glasgow Baillieson), Rhoda Grant (Lab, Highlands & Islands), Labour Group Leader Iain Gray (East Lothian), Cathy Jamieson (Lab, Carrick, Cumnock & Doon Valley), Jack McConnell (Lab, Motherwell & Wishaw, doubtless at Ede and Ravenscroft for a robe fitting), Margaret Mitchell (Con, Central Scotland), John Farquhar Munro (LD, Ross, Skye & Inverness West), Mike Pringle (LD, Edinburgh South), Education Secretary Mike Russell (South of Scotland) and Tory Rural Affairs Spokesman John Scott (Ayr).

They missed the passage of the Business Motion, and the Education Committee's motion:

That the Parliament agrees that the Education, Lifelong Learning and Culture Committee's 3rd Report, 2010 (Session 3): Report on supporting children's learning code of practice (SP Paper 436), together with the Official Report of the Parliament's debate on the report, should form the Parliament's response to the Scottish Government on its revised code of practice, supporting children's learning.

Stage 1 of the Forth Crossing Bill passed by 113 votes to three - the three being the Greens and Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill (Edinburgh East & Musselburgh), who I assume pressed the wrong button - with two abstentions: Margo MacDonald and LibDem Education Spokesperson Margaret Smith (Edinburgh West). The Financial Resolution passed by 115 to 2 with one abstention, and everyone voting with their parties this time. This was followed by a waving through of a Labour committee reshuffle.

Thursday was far busier, and there were only two absentees: Tom McCabe (Lab, Hamilton South) and Jack McConnell. Even John Farquhar Munro made it.

First came a Tory motion on relations with the UK Government. An SNP amendment passed by 81 (SNP/Con/LD/Green) to 45 (Lab/Margo), but a Labour amendment fell by 80 (SNP/Con/LD/Margo) to 44 with the two Greens abstaining, and a LibDem amendment falling by 94 to 32, with only the two Coalition parties supporting it. The amended motion passed by 79 (SNP/Con/LD) to 45 (Lab/Margo) with two Green abstentions:

That the Parliament welcomes the commitment of HM Government to establish a positive and constructive working relationship with the Scottish Government and Parliament to tackle the problems facing the country and, in particular, welcomes the commitment in the Queen's Speech to introduce legislation to implement recommendations from the final report of the Commission on Scottish Devolution and the willingness to consider matters in relation to the Fossil Fuel Levy and fiscal responsibility issues.

Then came the Climate Change (Annual Targets) (Scotland) Order 2010, which fell by 64 votes - Labour, the LibDems, Greens, Margo and Margaret Mitchell - to 62.

This was followed by a near outbreak of consensus, thanks to a Government motion on 18-week referral to treatment. The Labour amendment was adopted by 109 (SNP/Lab/LD/Green) to 16 (Con) with one abstention (Margo), the Tory amendment was accepted without a vote. However, regular service was resumed when the LibDem amendment fell by 91 (SNP/Labour) to 34 (Con/LD/Green) with Margo abstaining. The amended motion was, however, backed by 109 (SNP/Lab/LD/Green) votes to 0, with 17 abstentions (Con/Margo):

That the Parliament welcomes the progress that has been made in reducing waiting times for patients; applauds the commitment, dedication and hard work of all NHS staff who have contributed to delivering significant improvements for the people of Scotland, and acknowledges that NHSScotland is on track to deliver the Scottish Government's challenging whole-journey waiting time target of 18 weeks by the end 2011; welcomes the progress made by the previous Labour/Liberal Democrat administration in setting a new approach in Fair to All Personal to Each whereby waiting is considered in terms of the overall patient journey and further welcomes the commitment to treat inpatients within 18 weeks being achieved a year ahead of schedule, paving the way for Labour and SNP 2007 manifesto commitments of an 18-week referral to treatment target and notes that this compares with a waiting time target of 18 months set by the last Conservative administration, and urges the Scottish Government to ensure that such progress is not compromised by either reductions in its budget or by efficiency savings within NHS boards.

After that, in stark contrast to the previous SSI, the Climate Change (International Aviation and Shipping) (Scotland) Order 2010 was approved by 123 votes to two (the Greens) with Margo abstaining, and the following other Statutory Instruments were waved through:

Climate Change (Limit on Carbon Units) (Scotland) Order 2010

Carbon Accounting Scheme (Scotland) Regulations 2010

Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 (Exclusions and Exceptions) (Scotland) Amendment Order 2010

Protection of Vulnerable Groups (Scotland) Act 2007 (Removal of Barred Individuals from Regulated Work) Regulations 2010

So that's another week. Next week, the Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee takes the floor, there's Labour business on Thursday morning, and a Government debate on student fees after Question Time. So Thursday, at least, looks set to be lively.


James Mackenzie said...

Hi Will, your sums are wrong on the SI that got voted down. Margo voted with Ministers, and Jamie McGrigor voted against (believed to be by mistake) as well as Margaret Mitchell.

I'm also surprised you didn't explain what that vote was about, and that it followed a similar defeat in Committee. But then I do expect a lot from the Whip!

Will said...

Indeed, I stand corrected - this is what happens when the Whip is published after a weekend in Blackpool!

I do feel that the title of the SI was somewhat self-explanatory, and had received a decent amount of coverage in the press - I tend to use the Whip as a means of picking out the bits that the papers don't bother with, or as I usually put it, I read the Official Report, so you don't have to...

That said, if the bar is being set so high, then I take that as a compliment!

Jeanne Tomlin said...

The girl in question is FIFTEEN YEARS OLD and he was saying to track her!

You call that only pervy?

Frankly, the word criminal comes to mind.