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Meeting of the Parliament (Hybrid) [Draft]

Meeting date: Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Agenda: Time for Reflection, Business Motion, Topical Question Time, Independence Referendum, Coronavirus (Recovery and Reform) (Scotland) Bill: Stage 3, Business Motion, Coronavirus (Recovery and Reform) (Scotland) Bill: Stage 3, Coronavirus (Recovery and Reform) (Scotland) Bill, Business Motion, Point of Order, Decision Time


Point of Order

Murdo Fraser (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Con)

On a point of order, Presiding Officer. This afternoon, the Scottish Government published its draft Scottish independence referendum bill, although I note that the bill has not yet been formally introduced. Section 31(2) of the Scotland Act 1998 states:

“The Presiding Officer shall, on or before the introduction of a Bill in the Parliament, decide whether or not in his view the provisions of the Bill would be within the legislative competence of the Parliament and state his decision.”

Presiding Officer, will you advise the chamber when you would expect to rule whether the referendum bill falls under this Parliament’s legislative competence?

The Presiding Officer (Alison Johnstone)

I would expect that that would happen when the bill was introduced to Parliament. Mr Fraser is quite right: I am required by section 31(2) of the Scotland Act 1998 to issue a statement at the time of the introduction of every bill, stating whether, in my opinion, the provisions of the bill would be within the legislative competence of the Parliament. I have already made such a statement in relation to each of the 17 bills that have been introduced so far during this parliamentary session. I state my views after careful consideration of the terms of each bill, and, for confirmation, that is at the point at which it is introduced to the Parliament.