Skip to main content

Language: English / Gàidhlig

Seòmar agus comataidhean

Meeting of the Parliament [Draft]

Meeting date: Thursday, April 18, 2024


Points of Order

Good morning. The first item of business is general question time and, in order to get—

Meghan Gallacher (Central Scotland) (Con)

On a point of order, Presiding Officer. I wish to convey my utmost dismay at the utter shambles that has unfolded this week over the Scottish Government’s handling of the Cass review findings. [Interruption.]

Let us hear the member.

Meghan Gallacher

I think that the groans say everything, Presiding Officer.

On Tuesday, I asked what more MSPs must do in the chamber to raise important issues on behalf of their constituents. The Scottish Government has had every opportunity to make a statement on the Cass review and on whether it will pause the prescription of puberty blockers to children, but it has refused to do so. Arrogance has gotten in the way of protecting some of the most vulnerable children right across Scotland.

The question that I have for the Government is: was it worth it? This morning, MSPs read on social media that the prescription of puberty-suppressing hormones is to be paused in Scotland. However, I find that rather odd, because we have been told repeatedly this week that the minister and the Government needed sufficient time to carefully consider the findings. I wonder whether the Scottish Government developed the skill of speed reading overnight.

If the Government was going to make this announcement anyway, why did the Scottish National Party and the Greens not vote for the statement that I proposed yesterday? That would have allowed the Government to announce in the Parliament that puberty blockers were to be paused, and it would have allowed MSPs to ask questions that the SNP has been hiding from all week.

The Government has tried to silence MSPs in this Parliament, and that is a disgrace. It seems content to leak to the press the news that puberty blockers will be paused before having the decency to update the Parliament, treating the Presiding Officer and the Parliament with utter contempt.

I am beyond fed up with this Government and its lackadaisical approach to gender care. [Interruption.]

Let us hear the member.

We are failing children and young people. There should be an urgent—[Interruption.]

I ask that we hear the member and that we refrain from shouting from our seats.

Meghan Gallacher

Kevin Stewart has been chuntering away on this issue from a sedentary position.

There should be an urgent ministerial statement so that the SNP can outline what the announcement means and so that MSPs can ask appropriate questions. However, with the SNP and the Scottish Greens’ approach to scrutiny this week, I doubt that that statement will ever take place.

Therefore, given that the timing of the official announcement this morning did not allow for an urgent question to be submitted before the deadline, I seek to move a motion without notice to suspend rule 13.8.1 of standing orders, so that the 10 am deadline can be removed for today to allow for an urgent question on this topic. Presiding Officer, will you accept my moving a motion that, under rule 17.2.1(a), this Parliament agrees to suspend part of rule 13.8.1 to remove the words “by 10 am” for the purposes of the meeting?

The Presiding Officer

I thank Ms Gallacher for her point of order. I am not minded to accept a motion without notice at this time, because we are now in two time-limited question time periods, where members have opportunities to put questions directly to Scottish Government ministers and then to the First Minister. I am keen to protect that time and not disadvantage members. We will move on with our general question time session, and I call Neil Bibby.

On a point of order, Presiding Officer. Would it be possible to reschedule general question time to another slot to allow for the motion without notice that has been proposed?

I am not minded to do that at this moment, Mr Whitfield. I am very keen that we proceed with business as has been previously agreed by the business bureau and by this Parliament.