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Live Reporting

By Craig Hutchison and Carol Duncan

All times stated are UK

Debate ends and goodnight

And that concludes our live coverage of the Scottish Parliament on Wednesday 22 April 2015.

Holyrood at night

You can catch up with the highlights from today's proceedings from Holyrood at

BBC Scotland's Democracy Live.

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

Not strangers

The minister says contrary to the public perception that stalkers are strangers, most are known to the victim.

Mr Biagi says for those who experience stalking it can have a massive impact of their lives.

In the most serious cases it can lead to assault, rape and murder, he says.

The minister says the maximum penalty for stalking is five years in prison.

Government closing

Local Government and Community Empowerment Minister Marco Biagi says he absolutely supports the sentiment of the motion for the debate about the severity of the impact of stalking, which is a criminal offence.

Marco Biagi

Mr Biagi says a recent Scottish crime survey showed that 8% 16-34 year old women had experienced at least one form of stalking.

BACKGROUND: Laddish culture


were accused of ignoring a laddish culture on campuses last year, by the president of the National Union of Students Toni Pearce.

A survey of 2,000 students commissioned by the NUS suggests a quarter of those polled had experienced unwelcome sexual advances.

Two-thirds had heard rape or sexual assault jokes on campuses.

Universities UK praised the NUS for its important work and said universities took student welfare very seriously.

BACKGROUND: Hidden Marks

The 2010 NUS report,

Hidden Marks, highlighted that 60% of college students experienced stalking.

Conservative view

Conservative MSP Margaret Mitchell says the extent of the problem faced by female students was shown by the

2010 NUS report, Hidden Marks, highlighted that 60% of college students experienced stalking.

Margaret Mitchell

Ms Mitchell says stalking is a devastating form of abuse, taking away fundamental freedoms.

She says it is incomprehensible that the Scottish government do not include stalking statistics in crime statistics.

BACKGROUND: Action Scotland Against Stalking

"In March 2009, Ann Moulds launched

Action Scotland Against Stalking and waved her anonymity to speak out publically about her terrible experience of being the victim of a long and horrendous stalking campaign when her stalker escaped jail with a lenient sentence."

Support for victims

Ms Grant says revenge says stalking can take many forms including online porn which should also be tackled.

Young people should be made aware of what insidious online behaviour is so they can recognise it.

The Labour MSP hopes that there will be better support for victims of stalking.


Ann Moulds is a stalking victim who successfully campaigned to change the law to make stalking a crime.

Ms Moulds, formerly of Prestwick, campaigned at the Scottish Parliament to demand tougher sanctions in such cases.

Ann Moulds
Ann Moulds

She described her ordeal to

Holyrood's Justice Committee in March 2010, calling for stalking to be recognised as a crime in its own right.

The law was changed later that year.

Ms Moulds told MSPs stalking had "now been brought out of the closet" and would no longer be a "silent hidden crime".

Tribute to Ann Mould

Ms Grant pays tribute to Anne Mould for her campaigning on the issue of stalking, which led the Labour MSP to table amendments which led to Scotland making stalking a crime in Scotland.

Awareness raising

Labour MSP Rhoda Grant says she wants to highlight National Stalking Awareness Day, which took place on Saturday 18 April.

Rhoda Grant

Ms Grant says there will be a series of events to raise stalking awareness.

UK National Stalking Awareness Day debate

Labour MSP Rhoda Grant is leading a debate on UK National Stalking Awareness Day.

The awareness day fell on 18 April 2015 and the focus for this year's activities keeps the spotlight on raising awareness of the dangers of stalking among young people.


The 2010 NUS report, Hidden Marks, highlighted that 60% of college students experienced stalking.

Ms Grant also says that research shows that stalking among young people is being overlooked in favour of bullying and believes that bullying in its severest form is stalking.

Decision time

MSPs unanimously back the motion noting the report on EU Engagement and Scrutiny of the Committees of the Scottish Parliament on European Union Policies 2015-16.

Scottish Parliament

They then unanimously agreed to the proposal for a Committee Bill, under Rule 9.15, contained in the Standards, Procedures and Public Appointments, creating a Member's Interests Bill.

Debate ends

Ms McDougall concludes, calling on the chamber to back the proposals from the committee for a Members' Interests Bill.

Debate closes

Labour MSP Margaret McDougall, the Standards, Procedures and Public Appointments Committee deputy convener, is closing the debate on the proposals for a Members' Interests Bill.

Margaret McDougall

New MSPs induction

Mr Fitzpatrick welcomes the recommendation of involving the Electoral Commission in the induction for new MSPs when they take up office.

He reiterated the government's commitment to passing a bill on members' interests in this Parliament.


Former Labour MSP and minister

Tom McCabe recently died at the age of 60.

The politician represented the Hamilton South constituency from 1999 until 2011.

Mr McCabe was minister for parliamentary business, deputy minister for health and community care and minister for finance.

Tom McCabe
Tom McCabe

He made history in 1999 when he became the first ever MSP to be elected. Mr McCabe died at his home in Hamilton after a period of illness.

At Holyrood, Mr McCabe was minister for parliamentary business from 1999 to 2001, deputy minister for health and community care in 2003 and minister for finance and public service reform from 2004 until 2007.

Government closing

Parliamentary Business Minister Joe Fitzpatrick says the approach of the committee in the Members' Interests Bill will benefit MSPs and member's of the public.

Joe Fitzpatrick

Mr Fitzpatrick also paid tribute to the late Tom McCabe, who as the first parliamentary business minister, gave "great service in the ground work that he made in that role".

Closing Labour

Closing for Scottish Labour Neil Bibby says he welcomes the lengthy discussions the committee has had with the external Electoral Commission.

Neil Bibby

He reiterates the support of the Scottish Labour party for the package of reforms suggested by the committee.

Closing Conservatives

Closing for the Scottish Conservatives Cameron Buchanan says that as all parties agree, he does not want to repeat anything he has said before.

Conservative MSP Cameron Buchanan
Conservative MSP Cameron Buchanan

Tribute to Tom McCabe

SNP MSP Gil Paterson begins his speech by paying tribute to the late Tom McCabe, who recently passed away

Conservative view

Conservative MSP Cameron Buchanan says the dual reporting is unnecessary and he welcomes the removal of the need to do so about one's financial interests.

Cameron Buchanan

Labour support

Labour MSP Patricia Ferguson says Scottish Labour supports the recommendations and in one area at least would like to go further.

Ms Ferguson says the regulations and rules like this are essential to make the Scottish Parliament live up to its goal of transparency.

Labour MSP Patricia Ferguson
Labour MSP Patricia Ferguson

She says the measures proposed today will help to streamline the interests members have.

One of the most significant changes is ending dual reporting of financial interests, she says.

Government supports reform package

Parliamentary Business Minister Joe Fitzpatrick says there is consensus the area of members' interests should lie at Holyrood.

Mr Fitzpatrick says the reform package from the committee represents a significant step forward, making the regime more transparent and robust.

Joe Fitzpatrick

He confirms the government is supportive of the committees' proposals.


Mr Stevenson says the bill extends the sanctions available.

The draft bill makes sure the widest range of sanctions are available, he says.

The SNP MSP says there is a new sanction available, a Motion of Censure.

He says the bill will increase transparency of our interests and make the sanctions more robust.

One-stop shop

Under the new plans MSPs would only register their interests with the Scottish Parliament, the public can access this in one place, members have a one-stop shop for advice and the whole process is streamlined.

The threshold for gifts will reduce from 1% of a member's salary to 0.5%.

Complicated bill

SNP MSP Stewart Stevenson says dual reporting has already ended at Westminster.

Mr Stevenson admits the bill looks complicated at this stage.

He lists the questions MSPs must ask themselves to see if there is a registerable committee.

The committee convener says the best advice is to seek advice from the clerks of the committee if in any doubt.

End dual reporting

Mr Stevenson says the aim of the bill is to bring an end to dual reporting of members' interests.

Currently, MSPs must register their financial interests with the Scottish Parliament and also register donations and loans for political activities with the Electoral Commission.

BACKGROUND: Bill proposals

The proposed bill will therefore seek to:

  • expand the Parliamentary sanctions available to the Parliament for breaches of the members' interests requirements, including for paid advocacy;
  • extend the scope of the criminal offence of paid advocacy; and
  • improve the transparency and accessibility of information on MSPs' significant financial interests by requiring certain political activities, currently reported to the Electoral Commission, to be registered with the Scottish Parliament.

BACKGROUND: Members' Interests Bill

The Committee has completed a consultation on a potential Committee Bill to amend the Interests of Members of the Scottish Parliament Act 2006.

Following the consultation the Committee has agreed not to make any changes to the existing criminal offences for failure to register or declare financial interests.

Proposal for Members' Interests Bill debate

The Standards, Procedures and Public Appointments Committee of the Scottish Parliament is responsible for setting standards of behaviour for MSPs.

SNP MSP Stewart Stevenson
SNP MSP Stewart Stevenson

Committee convener Stewart Stevenson is leading the debate.

Debate closes

Labour MSP Hanzala Malik, the deputy convener of the EERC, is closing the debate.

Mr Malik says he hopes others have found the committee's report interesting

Hanzala Malik

He says he hopes Conservative MSP Jamie McGrigor recovers quickly from his illness and that his interests in this debate have been represented.

The Labour MSP concludes thanks all the people who gave evidence contributing to the report.

Scottish government closes

Europe Minister Humza Yousaf says the work programme shows the Commission is serious about connecting with its citizens, having failed to do so.

Mr Yousaf says the Commission is right to focus on doing less better.

Humza Yousaf

He says he welcomes the intention of the Justice Commmitte to examine the Commission's role in people smuggling and trafficking.

The minister says not every parliament would have had such a constructive debate on membership of the EU.

Labour closing

Labour MSP Claire Baker says the brief debate has recognised the committees' role in engaging with Europe.

Claire Baker

Ms Baker says the poor turnout in European elections is reflected across Europe.

She says Europe and our membership of the EU are not as prominent in the general election as had been predicted.

The Labour MSP says the proposal for the EU referendum has fallen of the agenda.

Conservative closing

Conservative MSP Liz Smith says trust must be restored in the EU institutions.

Liz Smith

Ms Smith says the processes must be fit for purpose in the EU.

She says the committee report has pointed the parliament in the right direction.

EU scrutiny

Scottish Conservative Liz Smith says it is important to scrutinise how the EU works, what works well for Scotland and what doesn't work so well; as so much of it underpins what the Scottish Parliament.

Many academics gave evidence on Scotland's membership of the EU in the lead-up to the referendum.

Conservative view

Scottish Conservative Liz Smith says it is important to scrutinise how the EU works, what works well for Scotland and what doesn't work so well; as so much of it underpins what the Scottish Parliament.

Conservative MSP Liz Smith
Conservative MSP Liz Smith

Many academics gave evidence on Scotland's membership of the EU in the lead-up to the referendum. She says this is evidence of how democratically Holyrood works.

Ms Smith pays tribute to Christina McKelvie and the committee which improves scrutiny in the Parliament and makes it more democratic.

EU's future

Ms Baker says Europe has never just been about trade it is also about partnership, solidarity, fairness and promoting peace.

EU flag

She says it is important this parliament engages with the future of the EU.

Labour response

Scottish Labour MSP Claire Baker says the parliament has always been supportive of engagement with Europe.

Ms Baker says the turnout at European elections is historically low, despite much of the positive work place regulation and safety regulation come from Europe.

Claire Baker

She points to human rights and equality laws.

EU referendum

Mr Yousaf says the government will be passionately advocating remaining in the EU and it does not want to see a referendum on the issue.