Thursday, 29 January 2009

FMQs: Live Blog

Well, I'll never make it writing the Official Report or Hansard (quotes are not exact quotes) but an interesting exercise nonetheless. Don't think I've seen the FM quite so angry... I don't know how I'd score it today though. Any thoughts?

12.27
Hugh O'Donnell - how do we support children who have been excluded from schools? FM - £500m spent on area. Thanks him for constructive nature of question.

12.24
David Stewart - will the Scottish Government appoint a victims' commissioner. FM - no plans at present. Follow up - will FM support his Members' Bill on the isse. Answer - Justice Secretary will discuss with him when the consultation is published.

12.22
Willie Coffey - Discussions with Scottish Enterprise re: recession. Salmond: Regular discussions, more advisors... follow up is more of the same.

12.19
Constituency question from Michael McMahon - which the FM agrees to act upon.

12.18
Salmond: "I am perfectly happy to have discussions... but you cannot sit down with an unbreakable policy like the 2p cut in tax that the Lib Dems have suggested and expect to get an agreement."

12.18
Scott: "Is FM prepared to sit down with other parties? And fiscal plans were made in boom times - are they being revised under bust times?"

12.17
Salmond: Conciliarity noises to Tavish Scott. "Even if the SNP agreed with their tax cut - no support for it across the chamber."

12.16
Salmond: Yes

12.15
Tavish Scott: "Is Scotland in recession?"

12.15
Salmond: This needs to be done in the interests of the Scottish people.

12.14
Goldie: "First priority is to pass budget." "In the interests of no one in the parliament for it to be a laughing stock" - from a Tory who opposed the parliament itself. The Tories get it.

12.13
Apparently so. Salmond does agree - with a smile - which suggests that if the budget fails again, we may well be heading for another election.

12.10
Annabel Goldie: Falling Scottish economy was why Tories negotiated in budget. Gives Labour a bit of a whack. And makes clear that the Tories will not support Labour running for Government in the Scottish Parliament. And asks if Salmond agrees. Is this a pact?

12.09
Salmond says he has made two offers to Labour demands which have been met... and names another one. He rants out a list - rather effectively - of things that are at risk if the budget doesn't pass. He's pretty angry.

12.08
Gray "responsibility" of SNP to react to economic situation and Labour door still open to negotiations.

12.07
But Salmond hits back, furiously. And probably wins that one.

12.05
Gray: The Tories are the SNP's "loyal servants". He makes a decent hit with the issue that the budget money will still be available in June...

12.04
Salmond agrees - in a sense - but then whacks Labour for partisan politics. PO chides MSPs for clapping.

12.03
Gray quotes Einstein - and the definition of insanity. Mentions apprenticeships as potential for budget negotiations.

12.02
Salmond quote the Daily Express in response... oh dear.

12.01
Gray: "I want to offer the FM the opportunity to explain to Scots how he aims to get support for his new budget."

12.00
Iain Gray, up first, as usual.

11.56
General questions just finishing up... and I'm having a cup of tea. Unlike Tom Harris, I do like unconventional tea. Cranberry, raspberry and elderflower it is today...

11.50
Well, I'm doing nothing else right now and though FMQs might be interesting today, so I think I'll live blog it. Anyone guess what some of the questions might be?

1 comments:

Indy 29 January 2009 at 15:00  

Iain Gray's comments that the budget would still be available in June were very ill advised.

Councils, health boards and other public bodies cannot wait until June to receive their allocations. Councils will be setting their own budgets over the coming weeks and setting council tax. There is a limit to how long that can be delayed - certainly not until June.

I was astonished to hear Gray say that - and on the advice of a parliamentary clerk! It might have been a better idea to have asked any of the Labour council leaders.

The first thing John Swinney did after the vote was to write to all council leaders to update them.

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