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Summary

  1. The Rural Economy Committee will take evidence from representatives of the fishing industry on the impact of Brexit
  2. Health and sport ministers take this week's portfolio questions
  3. MSPs debate the Europe Committee reports on the implications of Brexit
  4. The member’s debate in the evening comes from SNP MSP Stuart McMillan and focuses on Commonwealth Day 2017

Live Reporting

By Colin Bell and Craig Hutchison

All times stated are UK

Goodnight from the Holyrood live team

Holyrood night
BBC

That brings to an end our coverage of the Scottish Parliament on Wednesday 15 March 2017. 

We'll be back tomorrow.

Have a good night. 

Peace-building is the theme for Commonwealth Day 2017

The Commonwealth
The Commonwealth
The Commonwealth

International Development Minister Alasdair Allan says we live in somewhat uncertain times and it becomes even more important to maintain and strengthen relationships with Commonwealth countries.

"Scotland remains as passionate as ever about being a member of the Commonwealth."

Peace-building is the theme for Commonwealth Day 2017.

Minister says there are many benefits of membership of the Commonwealth

International Development Minister Alasdair Allan
bbc
International Development Minister Alasdair Allan

International Development Minister Alasdair Allan welcomes  7th Secretary-General of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA), Mr Akbar Khan, to the gallery.

Mr Allan says the Scottish government is doing everything in its power to protect the Human Rights Act.

The minister says there are many benefits of membership of the Commonwealth.

He says the 2014 Games in Glasgow allowed ministers to actively promote human rights and put them at the heart of the games.

Background: The Commonwealth work

Commonwealth Day
The Commonwealth

Commonwealth  organisations  are involved in diverse activities, from helping countries with trade negotiations to encouraging women’s leadership, building the small business sector, supporting youth participation at all levels of society and providing experts to write laws.

The  Commonwealth Secretariat  promotes democracy, rule of law, human rights, good governance and social and economic development. We are a voice for small states and a champion for youth empowerment. 

The  Commonwealth Fund for Technical Co-operation  (CFTC) was set-up in 1971 and is the principal means for the Commonwealth Secretariat to provide technical assistance to Commonwealth countries. Our approach emphasises country ownership by delivering technical assistance on a demand-driven basis.

'Real sheer joy of the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, the friendly games'


          Usain Bolt of Jamaica signs autographs after winning gold in the 4x100m relay at Glasgow 2014
Getty Images
Usain Bolt of Jamaica signs autographs after winning gold in the 4x100m relay at Glasgow 2014

Labour MSP Johann Lamont highlighted the "real sheer joy of the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, the friendly games."

Ms Lamont says the theme of a peace building Commonwealth could not be more timely.

She says:"Can we be free as a country if anyone of us is not safe in our own homes."

Labour MSP Johann Lamont
bbc
Labour MSP Johann Lamont

The Labour MSP says the scale of the Commonwealth is massive and it speaks to the best in our international ability to co-operate.

She says the Commonwealth is not a trading block but it is a voluntary Commonwealth of its people and is "utterly relevant in these times now".

The Commonwealth allows the building of bridges says SNP MSP

SNP MSP Kenneth Gibson
bbc
SNP MSP Kenneth Gibson

SNP MSP Kenneth Gibson says everyone recalls the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow fondly where Scotland competed in its own right, unlike the Olympics.

Mr Gibson says each member of the Commonwealth can withdraw without facing sanctions.

He says the Commonwealth allows the building of bridges from the smallest to the largest member.

The SNP MSP praises the Scottish - Malawi partnership.

The theme this year is for a peace building Commonwealth

Conservative MSP Margaret Mitchell
bbc
Conservative MSP Margaret Mitchell

Conservative MSP Margaret Mitchell says the theme this year is for a peace building Commonwealth.

Ms Mitchell says democracy, human rights and the rule of law unite the Commonwealth.

She welcomes Akbar Khan to the gallery. 

Commonwealth Day highlights

  • The 52 countries of the Commonwealth celebrate Commonwealth Day 
  • 2017 marks 40 years since Commonwealth Day became a global celebration marked on the same day every year: on the second Monday in March 
  • Schools will take part in a global online debate as part of Commonwealth Class, an initiative of the Commonwealth Secretariat and British Council. 

Commonwealth Parliamentary Association secretary-general Akbar Khan is in the gallery

Mr Akbar Khan in the gallery
BBC
Mr Akbar Khan in the gallery

The 7th Secretary-General of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA), Mr Akbar Khan, is in the gallery for the debate.The CPA is one of the oldest established organisations in the Commonwealth. Founded in 1911, it is a membership association which brings together Members, irrespective of gender, race, religion or culture, who are united by community of interest, respect for the rule of law and individual rights and freedoms, and by the pursuit of the positive ideals of parliamentary democracy. 

The Association is made up of over 180 Branches across the nine regions of the Commonwealth. It offers a vast opportunity for Parliamentarians and parliamentary staff to collaborate on issues of mutual interest and to share good practice. Mr Akbar Khan was appointed by the 61st General Assembly of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) in October 2015 and he took up his post in January 2016. 

The Commonwealth's commitment to its values helps to give it an important role in today's society.

SNP MSP Stuart McMillan
BBC
SNP MSP Stuart McMillan

SNP MSP Stuart McMillan says Monday of this week was Commonwealth Day and it was marked across the globe.

Mr McMillan says the strength of the Commonwealth's commitment to its values helps to give it an important role in today's society.

He says  of the 2.4bn people in the Commonwealth, 60% of those are young people.

Inclusive Commonwealth is this year's theme

Launch of the Queen's Baton relay at Buckingham Palace
The Commonwealth
Launch of the Queen's Baton relay at Buckingham Palace

Mr McMillan says that, at a time of increasing instability and uncertainty in the world, the Commonwealth family of nations in its rich diversity becomes an ever more needed source of strength and hope for all its members.

The SNP MSP says that the theme of an Inclusive Commonwealth highlights the values of tolerance, respect and understanding, as well as equity and fairness, set out in the Commonwealth Charter.

Commonwealth Day 2017

Commonwealth Day
The Commonwealth

SNP MSP Stuart McMillan uses his motion to highlight the importance of Commonwealth Day 2017.

Mr McMillan says that Commonwealth Day is an opportunity for the Parliament to focus beyond Scotland's borders and draw attention to the connections it has made across the globe.

The SNP MSP syas that Commonwealth Day is held on the second Monday in March each year.

He says the day is an opportunity for individuals, communities and organisations to promote the Commonwealth’s shared values of peace, democracy and equality, and to celebrate the association’s rich diversity.

Commonwealth Day 2017 debate

SNP MSP Stuart McMillan will now lead a member's debate on Commonwealth Day 2017. 

Here is Mr McMillan's motion.

Motion
Scottish Parliament

The Europe Committee motion is agreed unanimously

The Europe Committee motion is agreed unanimously

Europe Committee motion
Scottish Parliament

A future trade deal will clearly not be agreed within the two years - Labour MSP

Mr Macdonald says a future trade deal will clearly not be agreed within the two years. 

The Europe Committee deputy convener says the committee concluded that any powers coming back from Brussels should be devolved. 

He says a means should be found to involve the Scottish government in future trade deal negotiations.

"These reports have not sought to lay down red lines," he says. 

A majority view of the committee was that a differentiated solution could be achieved for Scotland

Labour MSP and deputy Europe Committee convener Lewis Macdonald says some of the reports recommendations have already been overtaken by events in some respects.

Mr Macdonald says the committee said a bespoke solution for Scotland to remain in the single market should be explored before and after the triggering of Article 50.


          Labour MSP and deputy Europe Committee convener Lewis Macdonald
bbc
Labour MSP and deputy Europe Committee convener Lewis Macdonald

A majority view was that a differentiated solution could be achieved for Scotland, he says.

Mr Macdonald says it is important to note the committee welcomed the intensification of discussions between officials on the Scottish government proposals.

He says it called on UK government minister to respond to the proposals before triggering of Article 50.

The committee called for the UK government and the Scottish government to work together.

'Lets give the people of Scotland the opportunity to decide for themselves'

Ms Hyslop says "we now have a choice to follow the UK into a hard-Brexit or to become an independent country". 

The external affairs secretary says Europe is listening to Scotland and that the country is at a crossroads.

"Lets give the people of Scotland the opportunity to decide for themselves," she says. 

UK government has no mandate from any part of the UK to leave the single market - Ms Hyslop

External Affairs Secretary Fiona Hyslop
BBC
External Affairs Secretary Fiona Hyslop

External Affairs Secretary Fiona Hyslop says the UK government voted not to protect EU nationals living in the UK.

Ms Hyslop says EU nationals play a vital part in the economy. 

The external affairs secretary also pays tribute to Daniel Johnson for the "first part of his speech" which set out membership of the EU very well.

She says the UK government has no mandate from any part of the UK to leave the single market. 

Tory MSP wants the UK to be a beacon of global free trade

Mr Tomkins says the EU is a trading block but he wants the UK to be a beacon of global free trade.

The Tory MSP says the idea that there could be a differentiated deal for Scotland without any change in the UK border is not going to work.

He says a differentiated deal would mean a hard economic border between Scotland and England

'Brexit must not mean that we put up walls'

Tory MSP Adam Tomkins
BBC

Tory MSP Adam Tomkins says there is a big argument to be had about what Brexit means.

Mr Tomkins says his view is that "Brexit must not mean that we put up walls."

He says "it must mean that we pursue the greatest participation in the single market". 

"We want the free'ist possible trade," he says.

Scottish government being 'dishonest' says Labour MSP

Mr Johnson says the Scottish government are presenting the contents of Scotland's Place in Europe Paper as a certainty. 

"That is dishonest," he says.

'There is going to be a huge impact on jobs'

Labour MSP Daniel Johnson
BBC
Labour MSP Daniel Johnson

Labour MSP Daniel Johnson says the reports provided by the committee are valuable and useful.

Mr Johnson says whatever happens, it is incumbent on all pro-Europeans to continue to make the case for the EU. 

The Labour MSP says "there is going to be a huge impact on jobs."

He says tariffs and conditions on trade needs to be looked at as well as people's lives. 

He says there is no cost to letting people who are already here stay in the country. 

Scottish government must recognise that 'we all have a mandate'

Lib Dem MSP Tavish Scott says Labour MSP Daniel Johnson gave a genuinely pro-European speech and says this is what is missing from the Labour party at Westminster and leader Jeremy Corbyn. 

Mr Scott says, at times in Scotland, "we need to learn to look outwards instead of inwards".

The Lib Dem MSP says this was not caused by Nicola Sturgeon by Theresa May but by David Cameron.

Lib Dem MSP Tavish Scott
BBC
Lib Dem MSP Tavish Scott

Tory MSP Adam Tomkins asks whether it is the Lib Dem's policy to have more referendums or fewer.

Mr Scott says he has not even mentioned referendums yet and Mr Tomkins is "off on one". He says he will deal with this during his speech.

The Lib Dem MSP says Mike Russell and the government needs to recognise that he and others have a mandate to oppose another independence referendum.

Evidence on Brexit has been 'overwhelmingly negative'

Greens MSP Ross Greer
BBC
Greens MSP Ross Greer

Greens MSP Ross Greer says evidence received by the committee made it clear of the concern over leaving the EU.

"It is overwhelmingly negative," he says. 

Mr Greer says that by leaving the EU, the UK will give up input to the regulations it has to adhere to anyway. 

The Greens MSP says the UK are "cosying up" to the US administration headed by President Donald Trump.

Mr Greer says the Westminster government has refused to give commitment to EU citizens.

He says the Scottish government has been "roundly ignored" and it does not even know when Article 50 will be triggered. He says the Scottish government is being treated with contempt by the UK government. 

'The risks of leaving the UK are more profound'

Daniel Johnson
BBC

Mr Johnson says there faults in the Scottish government's logic.

The Labour MSP says it is incoherent to argue that the way forward is to leave another union.

"If breaking our bonds with the EU presents risks then the risks of leaving the UK are more profound," he says. 

Breaking the bonds of the EU will bring about uncertainties and risk

Labour MSP Daniel Johnson says freedom of movement within the EU has given us the ability to fill skills gaps.

Mr Johnson says the strength of the EU has been underwritten by strong regulation guaranteeing rights at work.

passport and EU flag
Reuters

Mr Johnson says on the environment we have seen the benefits of EU interaction.

The Labour MSP says even after Brexit we will still have to abide by regulations on trade but we will simply have no say over them. 

He says breaking the bonds of the EU will bring about uncertainties and risk.

Companies will be forced to relocate taking the high paid and high valued jobs with them - Labour MSP

Labour MSP Daniel Johnson
BBC

Labour MSP Daniel Johnson says the EU underpins much of how the economy works and that the committee must be commended for the reports.

The Labour MSP says the impact of leaving the world's largest free-trade area will have an impact on the economy. 

He says Edinburgh is home to the second largest financial sector in the UK and the impact of Brexit has been made clear by this sector. 

Mr Johnson says companies will be forced to look at relocation taking with them the high paid and high valued jobs. 

Monday's announcement was an 'abdication of its responsibility in the negotiations ahead'

Tory MSP Jackson Carlaw
bbc
Tory MSP Jackson Carlaw

Mr Carlaw says there will be a considerable legislative burden as a result of Brexit.

The Tory MSP says if the SNP were sincere about Scotland remaining in the single market ministers would be travelling Europe at the moment.

He says the Scottish government have humiliated Europe Committee convener Joan McAlpine.

The Tory MSP says Monday's announcement by Nicola Sturgeon was an "abdication of its responsibility in the negotiations ahead".

'This is a tragedy for Scotland'

Saltire and UK flags
BBC

Tory MSP Jackson Carlaw says the Scottish government have announced before any negotiations that they intend to vote against.

Mr Carlaw says the Scottish government have made it clear they do not intend to support the negotiations. 

The Tory MSP says "this is a tragedy for Scotland" and the people of Scotland voted in 2014 that they did not want to leave the UK.

'Our dismay on Monday therefore was profound.'

Conservative MSP Jackson Carlaw
bbc
Conservative MSP Jackson Carlaw

Conservative MSP Jackson Carlaw says the Europe Committee tried to "establish the facts as best we could".

Mr Carlaw says nowhere in these reports will you see anyone arguing for a second independence referendum. 

The Tory MSP says the UK is the member state of the EU.

He says should the relationship in any way be compromised "the shutters will come down all over Europe" to any variable Scottish deal.

"Our dismay on Monday therefore was profound."