Thursday, 17 January 2008

Holyrood procedure

A wee bit of tension in the Chamber this afternoon after the Minister for Parliamentary Business (Bruce Crawford) pulled a motion in his name upon which there was to be debate upon, promising that it would return to the Chamber next week.

Now I'm not an expert on procedure, and I watched with interest how the Presiding Officer dealt with Point of Order after Point of Order, most of which stopped just short of calling him incompetent, but it seemed to me a big fuss over nothing. However, Robert Brown, Jackie Baillie, Jeremy Purvis, (who should've been ruled out of order just for his suit) and David McLetchie all had a go before the Deputy PO suspended the meeting to make a ruling. On return, Messrs Brown, Baillie, and Purvis all had another go, along with Helen Eadie and Karen Gillon but the PO had made up his mind.

No rules had been broken. The Minister for Parliamentary Business was well within his rights to withdraw the motion as it was in his name. And as the motion had been withdrawn, so too would Mr Purvis' amendment which was no longer necessary.

So... a big fuss over, well nothing really. The debate will happen again, most likely next week. The amendment will, no doubt, also return. And everyone will continue to share a love-in in the Chamber.

Incidentally, I'd like to support my friend Calum Cashley in his nominating Helen Eadie as leader. Her Point of Order on the withdrawal of the motion started with the statement "Parliaments are sovereign in their nation." Now, I don't think its quite what she meant, but if she is implying that the Scottish Parliament is the sovereign body in its nation then we should expedite the process of her becoming leader. It seems she's not so daft after all!

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