Tag Archives: scottish parliament

What’s going on in our Parliaments this week?

Welsh National Assembly - Senedd - Some rights reserved by Wojtek GurakWhat will be on our parliamentarians’ minds this week?

The Senedd

The most important thing from a Liberal Democrat point of view is the ending of the consultation period on Kirsty Williams’ minimum nursing levels bill which she wrote about here in March. If you have something you want to say on this, you have till close of business tomorrow. Here’s the information you need to respond.

Today sees an event to mark Welsh Refugee Week. Later in the week there …

Posted in Parliament | Also tagged , and | 6 Comments

Devo 15: 15 great achievements in 15 years of the Scottish Parliament

Tomorrow, it’s 15 years since the first meeting of the Scottish Parliament established after may years of work and campaigning by the Scottish Constitutional Convention. In that first decade and a half, it’s done some groundbreaking and pioneering things. It has a lot to be proud of. Here are some of Holyrood’s highlights.

1.  Free personal care for the elderly – Enabling older people to live at home for as long as possible

Stay Well At Home Service, Evesham, Britain

Posted in News | Also tagged , and | Leave a comment

Scottish leaders pay tribute to Margo MacDonald

Contains Scottish Parliamentary information licensed under the Open Scottish Parliament Licence v1.0.Today, the Lothians are especially grey and misty. The sight of brightly clad friends and colleagues of Independent MSP Margo MacDonald heading to her memorial service will be a real contrast, exactly as Margo has lit up Scottish politics since her Govan by-election victory 40 years ago. The whole of Scotland will have the chance to show its pride in a warm, straight-talking independent spirit.

Earlier this week, Scottish party leaders paid tribute to her in Parliament. Watched by her husband Jim Sillars and her daughters, they shared memories of how she fought for her causes, from independence to assisted dying and the rights of sex workers – and of how she told her female colleagues off if they didn’t wear enough jewellery.

Posted in News | Also tagged and | Leave a comment

Alex Cole-Hamilton selected for Edinburgh Western

Alex Cole-Hamilton Edinburgh WesternThe Scottish Liberal Democrats are cracking ahead with selections for the 2016 Scottish Parliament elections. Alex Cole-Hamilton has been selected for the constituency of Edinburgh Western. This seat is part of Mike Crockart’s Westminster constituency and was held by Liberal Democrat Margaret Smith from 1999-2011.

From the Edinburgh Evening News:

Despite this year’s independence referendum and next year’s Westminster elections, Lib Dems in Edinburgh Western have already chosen their candidate in the 2016 Scottish Parliament elections and are promising a “relentless” drive to regain the seat from the SNP, who took it from them three years ago.

Former MSP Margaret Smith, who represented the constituency for 12 years, decided not to stand again.

In her place, charity worker Alex Cole-Hamilton – who has stood for both Holyrood and Westminster – has been selected to fight the seat.

He was chosen in a postal ballot of all party members in the constituency, which saw him win 71 per cent of the votes, with long-serving councillor Robert Aldridge the runner-up.

Posted in News | Also tagged , and | 2 Comments

Willie Rennie’s tribute to Nelson Mandela

This week, the Scottish Parliament paid tribute to Nelson Mandela. Here is Willie Rennie’s speech in full.

Like so many others, I saw today’s remarkable scenes from Johannesburg, with presidents and prime ministers, archbishops and cardinals, and village choirs and children from Soweto gathered in one place.

Nelson Mandela’s death was a moment that we all knew would come but, for most of our lives, we could only have dreamed that he would be able to pass on peacefully, in freedom and with the thanks of the world around him.

The vocation of politics to play a part in a changing world grew

Posted in News | Also tagged and | 1 Comment

SNP’s white paper on independence – some first reaction and three initial questions from me

For months, years, even, whenever we’ve asked questions about independence, after we’ve been accused of scaremongering, we’ve been told to wait for the White Paper.

Well, that wait is over as the White Paper has now been published - or is it? Scotland’s Future, it’s called. That’s profound. We have a future? That’s kind of inevitable. It doesn’t promise a bright future, or a happy one.

On the big questions of the day, such as the three on pensions, currency and cost posed by Alistair Carmichael two weeks ago, we are really none the wiser. We know what the SNP …

Posted in News | Also tagged , , , and | 39 Comments

Launch of Scottish Government’s white paper on Scottish independence

scotlands-futureThis morning the SNP is launching the Scottish Government’s white paper on Scottish independence. It is 670 pages long and can be downloaded here.

Yesterday the Lib Dem Chief Secretary to the Treasury minister,Danny Alexander, who is, of course, a Scottish MP, has written to Alex Salmond, First Minister in the Scottish Parliament, to warn him of the consequences of independence. He wrote:

The White Paper published tomorrow must address the tax rises or spending cuts required to balance the books in an independent Scotland.

Even under the most optimistic scenario the

Posted in News | Also tagged and | 12 Comments

Jim Hume MSP launches consultation on bill banning smoking in vehicles with children present

Jim Hume launching consultation on smokingLiberal Democrat MSP for the South of Scotland Jim Hume this week launched a consultation on his Members’ Bill which would see smoking banned in vehicles where children are present. When I initially flagged this up a few weeks ago, there was a mixed reaction to the proposals.

Jim says in the foreword to his consultation document:

Recent research has shown that 17% of 11-16 year olds in the UK are exposed to second-hand smoke more than once a week while in a car with a further

Posted in News | Also tagged , , and | 11 Comments

Willie Rennie on Iraq and four tests for future military intervention

Willie Rennie - Some rights reserved by Liberal DemocratsThis week the Scottish Parliament debated the Iraq War, ten years on. This could have disintegrated into a “this is why we need independence” bunfight, but, actually, it ended up being one of those occasions when you could be proud of your Parliament for being thoughtful and mindful of the terrible human cost of this conflict.

Willie Rennie spoke for the Liberal Democrats in the debate and actually was applauded by the SNP benches who are, shall we say, not usually so friendly towards …

Posted in News | Also tagged , , and | 7 Comments

Scott ensures scolding for SNP Government

The BBC has the story of how the  SNP Government received a ticking off from the Scottish Parliament’s Presiding Officer Tricia Marwick yesterday. They’ve developed a bit of an unfortunate habit of leaking reports and the like to the press before sending them to Parliament, in the style of the excesses of the Labour Westminster government. This infuriated Liberal Democrat MSP for Shetland, Tavish Scott, not known for his patience in dealing with the Government’s shortcomings at the best of times.

He raised a Point of Order in the Parliament yesterday, asking the Presiding Officer to intervene “in defence of …

Posted in News | Also tagged , and | Leave a comment

Opinion: Cease this injustice

I was outraged to find out yesterday in my copy of The Times that the University of Edinburgh, my alma mater, has been selling off internships with Members of Scottish Parliament (MSPs) for an eye-popping £5,750.

I don’t know about you, but I certainly would love the opportunity to undertake such work, but at such a price I cannot. This is disadvantage defined, as those who can afford it can have such an educating experience.

The internship involves completing “three academic courses which are classroom based, followed by a research project supervised by a member of the Scottish Parliament and an …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 4 Comments

“Thursday is decision day” – Charles Kennedy’s eve of poll message to members and supporters

Charles Kennedy MP has emailed Liberal Democrat members and supporters with a “get out and vote” (and “get out the vote”) message, ahead of tomorrow’s elections and referendum:

Tomorrow you have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to have your say on how we elect our MPs to Westminster. Important elections are also taking place across the country for the Welsh Assembly, Scottish Parliament & local councils. Thursday is Decision Day.

When I was first elected in 1983, the idea of changing our voting system for Westminster elections seemed important, but the chance seemed remote. When the Scottish Parliament and Welsh Assembly were established, neither

Posted in Party policy and internal matters | Also tagged , , , and | Leave a comment

LDVideo: Tavish Scott in Scottish Lib Dems’ latest election broadcast

Posted in Lib Dem TV | Also tagged and | Leave a comment

Changes coming to Scottish Parliament election rules

The Scottish Parliament (Elections etc.) Order 2010 has been tabled in Parliament this week bringing about changes in the law for the Scottish Parliament elections. As it is a Statutory Instrument (SI) it cannot be amended – either it gets Parliamentary approval or it is rejected outright. It is extremely rare for an SI to be rejected and there are no signs that this one will be in that class.

The main changes people can therefore expect for the next Scottish Parliament elections are:

Posted in Election law and Scotland | 3 Comments

Daily View 2×2: 18 December 2009

Whether you’re snowed in, or just snowed under, welcome to Friday. It’s 12 years since Donald Dewar unveiled the bill for a Scottish Parliament.

2 Big Stories

BBC apologises for asking: ‘Should homosexuals face execution’
From the Telegraph:

People were asked by the corporation to share their views on anti-homosexual legislation in Uganda which would see some sexual activities punishable by death.

The BBC website debate ran ahead of a feature on the World Service Africa Have Your Say programme.

Peter Horrocks, director of the BBC World Service, wrote on the BBC Editor’s Blog that the original forum headline on the website was in hindsight ”too stark”.

He wrote: ”You might have read some of the coverage about a World Service Africa Have Your Say debate yesterday …

”The original headline on our website was, in hindsight, too stark. We apologise for any offence it caused.

”But it’s important that this does not detract from what is a crucial debate for Africans and the international community.”

Lynne Featherstone, Lib Dem spokesperson for Youth and Equality, had called on the BBC to apologise and wrote to the Director General.

Posted in Daily View | Also tagged , , , and | Leave a comment

John Lamont MSP sticks two fingers up the Kelly Report and outspends 128 MSPs

Holyrood has released the figures for last year’s MSP expenses and there is one name that stands out from the crowd. That’s Conservative MSPJohn Lamont, who has spent nearly £30,000 in the last twelve months on postage and office costs.

These figures were released on the same day that David Cameron was touring the TV studios telling everyone how the Conservative Party were fully behind implementing all recommendations of the Kelly Report on MPs’ expenses.

One of the specific things he mentioned was that MPs shouldn’t be members of two Parliaments, which smacks of breathtaking hypocrisy given that John Lamont, MSP for …

Posted in News | Also tagged , and | 1 Comment

Haggis, Neeps and Liberalism #7: The Megrahi Documents

The Megrahi case has ripped apart the peace of the Scottish Parliamentary recess, with even some former Lib Dem leaders taking a differing view to our leader in Holyrood. Today the UK Government and Scottish Parliament have released papers relating to the discussions that have gone one over the last two years. It ranges from correspondence between Westminster and Holyrood, to memos of meetings with Libyan officials, to the compassionate release request listing medical conditions.

These start chronologically with the first letter from then-Lord Chnacellor Lord (Charles) Falconer to Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond outlining the Memorandum of Understanding that Westminster had set up with Libya regarding a number of judicial issues. The Memorandum was drawn up to look at increasing bilateral co-operation covering, amongst other things, commercial and criminal issues. The legal issues were not exclusively about Mr Al Megrahi, but looking at the bigger picture of co-operation between the two nations at large. However, Lord Falconer did say that nothing could be ruled in or out, but that co-operation and consultation between Westminster and Holyrood would be carried forward.

However, it the path of the UK’s justice secretary Jack Straw’s correspondence that sheds a lot of light on the situation, especially considering the Labour response in Holyrood.

Posted in Europe / International, Op-eds and Scotland | Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , and | 4 Comments

Lib Dems step up pressure on Brown over Lockerbie comments silence

Gordon Brown has, after five days’ silence, commented on the Scottish government’s decision to release on compassionate grounds Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi, the Libyan convicted of involvement in the Lockerbie bombing. Mr Brown said he was “repulsed” by the welcome Mr al-Megrahi received on his arrival home.

Ed Davey, the Lib Dems’ shadow foreign secretary, is unimpressed:

Gordon Brown’s comments on Lockerbie are a masterclass in evasion. When a decision is made by another politician, and has such grave international consequences, the Prime Minister’s refusal to say whether or not he supports it almost amounts to negligence.

“It is hard to see why he can’t tell us what he thinks of the decision to release a man who has been convicted of the worst terrorist attack in British history. As long as Gordon Brown remains silent on this issue, people will suspect he has something to hide.”

This appears to be yet another example of Mr Brown’s tin-ear for communication. It strikes me the Prime Minister had two choices, both of which are (to my mind) equally valid.

Posted in News | Also tagged , and | 18 Comments

CommentIsLinked@LDV: Ross Finnie – Devolution ‘mistakes were made’

Over at BBC.co.uk, Lib Dem MSP Ross Finnie reflects on some of his personal highs and lows in the run-up to the 10th anniversary of Scottish devolution on 1st July. Here’s an excerpt:

For Liberal Democrats, the election itself was an achievement. Due to our advocacy of proportional representation, the political parties won the number of seats in the new parliament that reflected the number of votes cast by the people of Scotland.

The Liberal Democrats entered into coalition government for the first eight years of devolution and were pleased to introduce ground-breaking social health policies like free personal care for

Posted in LibLink and Scotland | Also tagged and | Leave a comment

Haggis, Neeps and Liberalism #2

This is the second in a regular, and now named, series of articles by Scottish-based bloggers giving their thoughts about developments in Scottish politics.

On Friday evening I’d just completed a long week at the office in one sense wishing I was in Harrogate with my fellow Lib Dems – but at the same time too exhausted for a full weekend of Conference, having squeezed one full extra day into the week that would go without payment as a result of a freeze on overtime. But as I walked to the bus through Edinburgh Park I saw that lights were …

Posted in Conference, Op-eds and Scotland | Also tagged , , and | 8 Comments

Scottish Lib Dems win anti-independence vote, call for new Holyrood powers

As anticipated on Lib Dem Voice here, the Scottish Lib Dems’ call for a referendum on Scottish independence to be postponed until at least 2011 – the date of the next Holyrood elections – received a substantial majority last night. The FT reports:

Labour and the Conservatives backed a Liberal Democrat call for the SNP to ditch its plans for an independence referendum, and the amendment was carried by 72 votes to 47. …

Mike Rumbles, the Liberal Democrats’ chief whip, said Thursday’s vote was a “reality check” for the SNP. “They need to ditch the referendum and ditch it

Posted in News and Scotland | Also tagged , , , and | 1 Comment



Recent Comments

  • User AvatarJohnTilley 2nd Oct - 5:29pm
    Sue Doughty 2nd Oct '14 - 3:39pm ". . The party in Scotland allows all its members to vote ......" Sue, Can you remind us...
  • User AvatarConor McGovern 2nd Oct - 5:29pm
    Daisy for Party President. :)
  • User AvatarConor McGovern 2nd Oct - 5:22pm
    @John - It's good to hear someone mentioning Balls and Osborne's participation in the Bilderberg Group, as well as your comments on TTIP the other...
  • User AvatarDav 2nd Oct - 5:08pm
    Perhaps we should have a referendum on whether the UK should have a written constitution?
  • User AvatarEddie Sammon 2nd Oct - 4:57pm
    Graham, I've cleared my thoughts, my point is: I don't believe that high risk = high return when it comes to investments. The regulations used...
  • User Avatartpfkar 2nd Oct - 4:38pm
    Denis Mollinson's comment is on the money for me - it would distort things further by allowing all conference reps to vote, rather than all...