Skip to main content

Language: English / Gàidhlig

Seòmar agus comataidhean

Meeting of the Parliament [Draft]

Meeting date: Wednesday, March 27, 2024


Point of Order

Finlay Carson (Galloway and West Dumfries) (Con)

On a point of order, Deputy Presiding Officer.

Following publication of the Rural Affairs and Islands Committee’s stage 1 report on the Agriculture and Rural Communities (Scotland) Bill on Monday 18 March, the Government’s response was not received until 6.29 last night, which gave members virtually no time to reflect on the response or, indeed, to consider its implications for the general principles of the bill, on which we will vote this afternoon.

Members will be aware that, in its report, the committee raised a number of issues relating to how the powers that are provided for in the framework bill would be used. The response from the Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs, Land Reform and Islands did not address those issues; rather, it indicated that the cabinet secretary will reflect on whether amendments will be necessary at stage 2.

I recognise that the timings for stage 1 reports and debates are tight, so I would welcome the Deputy Presiding Officer’s views on whether the timings are fit for the purpose of supporting the Parliament’s deciding on the general principles, or should be strengthened and amended—first, to give the Scottish Government more time to provide a substantive response to stage 1 bill reports that meaningfully engages with the recommendations and, secondly, to give all members more time to consider the Government’s response in advance of stage 1 debates.

The Deputy Presiding Officer (Annabelle Ewing)

I thank Mr Carson for his point of order. Of course, the issue of timing of Government responses to stage 1 reports does not engage the standing orders of the Parliament, so it is not a matter that I can rule on from the chair. The timing of the stage 1 debate is, of course, an issue that members are free to raise with their business managers.