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  1. MSPs unanimously condemn UKIP MEP David Coburn's comparison of Europe Minister Humza Yousaf to a convicted terrorist.

Live Reporting

By Craig Hutchison and Carol Duncan

All times stated are UK

Good night

And that concludes our live coverage of the Scottish Parliament on Wednesday 18 March 2015.

Remember you can watch videos of the day's business at Holyrood at

BBC Scotland's Democracy Live.


We will be back tomorrow morning. Until then have a good night.

Future concerns

Mr Ewing says the proposal put forward by the industry and which was adopted by the taskforce allows for an extension to exemptions to the carbon cap tax and these should be narrowly defined.

The minister says that if exemption is not granted he is "very concerned for the future of people working in these communities".

Support for CPS exemption

The energy minister says he will press the UK government the broad based support from all the main parties to see the adoption of some sort of CPS exemption.

Opencast mining

Mr Ewing says if CPS exemption is not adopted then opencast coal mining could be terminated in two to three years.

Scottish Open Cast Mining Taskforce

Energy Minister Fergus Ewing praises Alex Rowley for bringing the debate and for his speech.

The Scottish Open Cast Mining Taskforce's was set up to seek the reengagement for those who lost their jobs at Scottish Coal, says Mr Ewing.

Fergus Ewing

The second task was to find an approach to restoring the sites he says.

CPS exemption

Conservative MSP Murdo Fraser says if the CPS exemption proposals are adopted, then there could be full restoration of the existing sites at no net cost to the tax-payer.

'Excellent practice'

Labour MSP Neil Findlay says we should learn from the excellent practice of West Lothian and avoid the disasters elsewhere.

'Environmental wreckage'

Green MSP Patrick Harvie says he does not doubt Mr Rowley's commitment to his constituents after the environmental wreckage and destruction by this industry, however he does not agree with CPS exemption.

This is an industry that has behaved with a breathtaking arrogance over the years happy to walk away with the money, but leaving the liabilities, says the Green MSP.

Patrick Harvie

He says these liabilities then fall apon the public and the public purse.

'Game changing solutions'

Mr Rowley says the only way to fix a problem of this size is "game changing solutions", that need to result in a large part of the current industry capacity to be utilised.

'Massive environmental nightmare'


Labour MSP Alex Rowley says his focus is to raise awareness of the "massive environmental nightmare" left behind by opencast sites.

Scottish coal industry taskforce

He says that in 2013 the Scottish coal industry taskforce was set up to find solutions to these problems but has had limited success in doing so.

The Labour MSP says that the Cockburn CPS proposal aims to address some of these issues by suggesting an economically viable way of achieving more substantial restoration through a CPS exemption on restoration coal.

He understands the substantial impact that this exemption could have on the restoration of some of Scotland's most scarred landscapes, which he considers have been significantly affected by the St Ninian's and Muir Dean opencast sites respectively.

Demise of Scottish Coal

In his motion Mr Rowley highlights proposals put forward for the UK government to introduce a carbon price support (CPS) exemption for opencast coal sites.

Alex Rowley

Mr Rowley says he acknowledges the recent difficulties in the coal industry in Scotland, which he says were caused initially by the demise of Scottish Coal and ATH Resources, and the impact that this has had on subsequent opencast restoration projects.

UK government carbon price support exemption for opencast coal sites debate

Labour MSP Alex Rowley is leading a debate on UK government carbon price support exemption for opencast coal sites.

Decision time

The remaining amendments and the amended motion from the Scotland's diverse communities debate are passed unanimously.

MSPs condemn David Coburn's comments

MSPs have voted unanimously to condemn UKIP MEP David Coburn for comparing a Scottish government minister to a convicted terrorist.

In a newspaper interview the UKIP member said: "Humza Yousaf, or as I call him, Abu Hamza".

Scottish Parliament

In a comment to BBC Scotland he said: "I've apologised profusely for it. It was a stupid thing to say. It was an inappropriate joke."

Mr Yousaf has called for European officials to discipline the MEP.

Decision time

Conservative MSP Liz Smth withdraws her amendment from the celebrating diversity debate.

MSPs then pass the Scottish government amendment from the debate on in-work poverty.

The amended motion from the Independent and Green Party group is then passed.

Conservative amendment withdrawn

Liz Smith seeks to withdraw her amendment S4M-12677.1 Liz Smith: Celebrating Scotland's Diverse Communities.

Debate ends

Mr Finnie concludes the debate saying in the Highlands the health and care sector would collapse without immigrants.

Scotland's demographics show we need immigration, he says.

"Let's be that just and welcoming Scotland".

'Diversity is strength'

Independent MSP John Finnie says there has always been this movement of people to and from Scotland.

John Finnie

Mr Finnie says the Scottish government have sent a very strong message in this debate.

He says diversity is strength, it would be a boring world if we were all the same.

'Loud and clear'

Mr Neil again says the debate has been a good one and sends out a message loud and clear to the David Coburn's of this world.

'We are all descendents of immigrants'

Mr Neil says we are all descendents of immigrants, going on to say that is to the benefit of Scotland.

'Prejudiced behaviour'

Mr Neil says there is too much prejudiced behaviour still in Scotland and we must do everything we can to stamp this out.

The social justice secretary says we must ensure that in encouraging people to come to Scotland they come here as full citizens.

Minister closes

Social Justice Secretary Alex Neil says the tone of this debate has been absolutely excellent and shows the parliament in a good light.

Alex Neil

Mr Neil points to the contribution of economic migrants to Scotland has been very positive indeed.

Rich diversity

Ms Ferguson says her constituency is enormously diverse and all the richer for it.

She commends the work of the Maryhill integration network.

'Ignorant racist'

Labour MSP Patricia Ferguson says she wholeheartedly supports Ms Urquhart's campaign Not My Zenophobia.

Patricia Ferguson

Ms Ferguson says: "David Coburn....... or as I like to call him that ignorant racist...whose views should have no place in a modern Scotland."

Much to celebrate

Scottish Conservative MSP Cameron Buchanan says the debate is also an opportunity to discuss how we can allow local services to be more flexible in response to changing populations.

Mr Buchanan says he welcomes the contribution immigrants to Scotland's culture no matter when they arrived: "There is much we should celebrate".

Tory MSP Cameron Buchanan

Immigration and emigration

SNP MSP Christian Allard says immigration is a debate we must have regularly.

We have to see both sides of the argument both immigration and emmigration.

Christian Allard

Mr Allard criticises BBC Scotland and the presenter Kaye Adams for Monday morning's Radio Scotland phone in programme on David Coburn's comparison of Humza Yousaf to a convicted terrorist.

Room for improvement

Scottish Labour MSP Hanzala Malik says Police Scotland records around 90 racial incidents each week which is too many.

Labour MSP Hanzala Malik

Mr Malik says only 1.1% of apprenticeships and 0.8% of fire service staff are from minority communities so there is room for improvement.


Scottish Conservative MSP Liz Smith agrees that UKIP MEP David Coburn's comment was repugnant and has absolutely no place in any society.

Liz Smith

Ms Smith says it is not all sections of the media that are at fault, saying there has been interesting reports in recent weeks.


Scottish Conservative MSP Liz Smith's amendment says there is concern about the divisive impact of such attitudes, especially during election campaigns.

It says the Scottish population is comprised of a rich mix of peoples and cultures from all over the world who are an integral part of the Scottish identity.

The amendment says there should be recognition of the very real and positive contribution made by immigrants from all over the world to Scottish society, culture and history

Increasing mobility

Scottish Labour MSP Ken McIntosh says that: "It feels as though we have gone backwards, certainly in terms of discussing immigration, over the past five to ten years".

Labour MSP Ken Macintosh

Mr McIntosh says the reason for this is that people are more mobile and the world is shrinking but says poor wages and pressure on public services should be intertwined with migration as these are separate issues.


Labour MSP Ken Macintosh's amendment says that more can be done to prevent immigrants being exploited or treated unfairly.

'Consider his position'

Mr Neil says David Coburn should consider his position.


Mr Neil says UKIP MEP David Coburn's comparison of the Europe and International Development Minister Humza Yousaf to a convicted terrorist was "shameful and nothing short of disgraceful.

The comment was racist, islamaphobic and just plain wrong, says the cabinet secretary.

He calls on MSPs to unanimously back the government amendment unanimously at decision time.

"David Coburn does not represent the views of the people of Scotland."



two-thirds of Scots think immigration should be reduced, a poll commissioned by the BBC has suggested.

It suggests that Scots are almost as negative about immigration as the population in the rest of Britain.

The poll found that 49% wanted to see less immigration, exactly the same proportion as across Britain, and 15% said it should be stopped altogether.


This is in contrast to politicians at Holyrood, who tend to agree that Scotland needs more skilled migrants.

However, the Conservatives and UKIP argued that attitudes were similar on both sides of the border.

In the YouGov/BBC poll just 5% said immigration should be increased - only slightly more than in England.

Multi-cultural country

Mr Neil says Scotland is a multi-faith and multicultural country and: "Scotland needs immigrants because of our ageing population and to fill skills needs".

None of us can be complacent when it comes to dealing with racial discrimination and harassment.

'No place for prejudice or discrimination'

Mr Neil says Scotland is mult-faith and multi-cultural and there is no place for prejudice or discrimination.

He says he challenges last week's BBC Scotland poll on immigration, like Ms Urquhart.

Scotland needs immigrants, says the cabinet secretary.

'Mongrel Nation'

Social Justice Secretary Alex Neil says he will support Ms Urquhart's motion and all the opposition parties' amendments.

Alex Neil

Mr Neil says Scotland has been described by eminent historian Tom Devine as a "mongrel nation" which is the spirit of us all in this debate.

Recognise opportunity

Jean Urquhart reminds the Parliament that Scots are immigrants themselves, having moved to other countries around the world, and should be the first to recognise how migration can create new opportunities for each individual.

Scottish government amendment

Social Justice Secretary Alex Neil: Celebrating Scotland's Diverse Communities- insert at end ", and unites in condemning the recent comments by David Coburn MEP".