Presiding Officer calls time on Holyrood bad behaviour


  By a Newsnet reporter
Holyrood’s Presiding Officer has served notice on Scottish Parliament MSPs that the unruly behaviour and lack of manners that has marred debates in the chamber is to stop.
Tricia Marwick has written to all members urging them to “conduct themselves in a courteous and respectful manner”.

The letter, reminding MSPs of their responsibilities, comes as the Scottish Parliament gets set to resume a new term after the summer recess.  The new term will see an extra sitting, going from two to three a week.

Mrs Marwick said: “The new pattern to the week will now provide the specific opportunity, at the start of each chamber session, for MSPs to question ministers on topical issues.

“I hope this will enable our parliament to be more responsive and agile in responding to the major issues of the day and holding the government to account.”

The reminder of acceptable protocols follows scenes that saw members shouting and hammering desks as opponents tried to speak, also some members entered and left the chamber mid-debate.  Ms Marwick called on MSPs to attend a full debate if they wished to participate.

She added: “As a courtesy to your fellow members, if you wish to participate in a debate, you should attend the whole debate but, as a minimum, members should be present during the opening and closing speeches and should remain in the chamber to hear the two speeches following their contribution.

“It is particularly important that closing speakers are able to reflect upon all of the contributions made during a debate.”