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Summary

  1. The Social Security Committeetakes evidence on the two child limit in tax credits and universal credit
  2. The first minister and opposition party leaders express condolences to the family and friends of Eilidh MacLeod, who was killed in the Manchester bomb attack
  3. SNP MSP James Dornan leads this afternoon's member's debate on the 50th anniversary of the Lisbon Lions
  4. MSPs debate (Contract) Third Party Rights

Live Reporting

By Craig Hutchison and Colin Bell

All times stated are UK

Goodnight from Holyrood Live

MSPs observe a one minute silence for the victims of the Manchester attack
BBC
MSPs observe a one minute silence for the victims of the Manchester attack, including 14-year-old Eilidh McLeod

That brings our coverage of the Scottish Parliament for Thursday 25 May 2017 to a close.

We will be back on Tuesday.

Until then, have a good weekend.

MSPs back the general principles of the Contract (Third Party Rights)(Scotland) Bill

Contract
istockphoto

MSPs back the general principles of the Contract (Third Party Rights)(Scotland) Bill.

MSPs agree to the Apologies (Scotland) Act 2016 (Excepted Proceedings) Regulations 2017 [draft].

50 MSPs back it and 27 vote against

The parliament is adjourned.

Call for the SSI relating to Apologies ACt to be withdrawn.

Conservative MSP Margaret Mitchell
bbc
Conservative MSP Margaret Mitchell

Conservative MSP Margaret Mitchell raises concerns about the Apologies (Scotland) Act 2016 (Excepted Proceedings) Regulations 2017 [draft] be approved.

Ms Mitchell says the SHRC has offered solutions to the issues.

She requests the minister withdraw the SSI.

Legal Safety Minister Annabelle Ewing
bbc
Legal Safety Minister Annabelle Ewing

Legal Safety Minister Annabelle Ewing says the SSI is to address possible negative unintended consequences from the Apologies Act.

Ms Ewing says she has written to survivors of historic abuse about their concerns about the SSI.

She says they said they found the letter very helpful and does not withdraw the SSI..

Law if often complex and that it needs careful consideration

Legal Affairs Minister Annabelle Ewing says the government is engaged in this piece of work to bring this law up to the 21st century.

Ms Ewing says the law if often complex and that it needs careful consideration.

The legal affairs minister agrees to reflect on the changes suggested and says the she has not yet been convinced that amendments are required.

She says she looks forward to the bill progressing through parliament.

Minister pleased there is support for the general principles of the bill

Legal Affairs Minister Annabelle Ewing
bc
Legal Affairs Minister Annabelle Ewing

Legal Affairs Minister Annabelle Ewing says she is pleased there is support for the general principles of the bill.

Ms Ewing says the bill will improve and clarify Scots law, in the area of third party rights.

She says she will reflect and consider all points raised during the debate.

Tory MSP asks the minister to consider whether the bill has been appropriately drafted

Tory MSP Adam Tomkins
BBC

Tory MSP Adam Tomkins says when both he and his colleague Murdo Fraser decided to sit out of SNP MSP James Dornan's earlier debate on the Lisbon Lions, they had no idea that they'd both have to participate in this one instead.

Mr Tomkins says "as fans of Rangers, Scotland's most successful club, it was, of course, nice to listen today to memories of Celtic's historic achievements."

The Tory MSP says third party rights can be used in a wide range of individual and commercial contracts.

He says the irrevocability rule in the current bill is particularly outdated and requires to be changed.

Mr Tomkins says he would urge the minister to reconsider whether the bill has been appropriately drafted in certain provisions.

Labour MSP says everyone is in agreement the bill is a necessary change

Labour MSP Mary Fee
bbc
Labour MSP Mary Fee

Labour MSP Mary Fee says it is clear MSPs are in agreement the Contract (Third Party Rights) Bill is a necessary change to the legal system.

Ms Fee says the bill is welcomed by all stakeholders.

She says the flexibility this legislation will bring is a key benefit.

Ms Fee says the current law is broken and must be fixed.

'It is clear this law needs a new statutory framework'

SNP MSP Rona Mackay
BBC

SNP MSP Rona Mackay says the current bill is "not fit for purpose" and "past its sell-by date".

Ms Mackay says "It is clear this law needs a new statutory framework," she says.

The SNP MSP says she applauds anything which brings clarity to the law.

This is the bill that receives unanimous support from all of its stakeholders

Lib Dem MSP Mike Rumbles
BBC

Lib Dem MSP Mike Rumbles says being the 10th speaker in the debate is a challenge, "even for me".

Mr Rumbles says "today everyone is agreeing with me." He adds that he is joking and that it "fell flat".

The Lib Dem MSP says this is the bill that receives unanimous support from all of its stakeholders.

"Rare is the bill which reaches stage one without amendments being identified." He adds that he is glad that the government accept that those amendments may be required.

Background: SPICe briefing: More

The changes proposed are based on recommendations made by the Scottish Law Commission (SLC), which found in 2016 that the existing law is no longer fit for purpose.

The main proposal is the abolition of the existing rule that third-party rights have to be irrevocable to be created – in other words that the parties must intend to give up the right to change their minds about granting the right.

Contract
Chesirecat

According to the SLC, this rule creates a significant barrier to the use of third-party rights as it restricts the freedom of the contracting parties to:

  1. set up flexible contracts at the outset
  2. and 2. adjust contracts in response to future events – i.e. by bringing the third-party right to an end, or varying it, before the right holder enforces it.

Other proposals are aimed at clarifying current areas of uncertainty in the common law.

The Bill also includes new rules which mean that third-party rights to arbitrate could be created.

The general aim behind the Bill is to provide a new statutory framework with clearer, more usable rules on third-party rights.

Read more here.

Background: SPICe briefing on Contract (Third Party Rights)(Scotland) Bill

The Contract (Third Party Rights) (Scotland) Bill was introduced in the Scottish Parliament on 31 January 2017.

It proposes codifying and updating the existing common law on third-party rights – i.e. the rules in case law which allow the parties to a contract to grant rights to third parties.

Third party rights may be used in a variety of situations, for example by companies which want other companies in their group to be covered by a contract, or where someone wants to ensure that the benefits of an insurance contract are payable to another person (e.g. a third-party driver in a motor insurance policy).

Labour MSP says the current law on third party rights is not fit for purpose

Labour MSP Claire Baker says the bill has been introduced to the existing common law on statutory rights is no longer being fit for purpose.

Ms Baker says the bill is widely supported. but there were some concerns about the legislation.

She says the bill will provide more clarity around third party rights, although it won't be used any time soon.

The law must be relevant to how we live in society says Labour MSP

Labour MSP Claire Baker
BBC

Labour MSP Claire Baker says the Delegated Powers and Law Reform Committee is new to the parliament and was set up to take pressure off of the justice committee.

Ms Baker says the appointment of this committee allows for greater scrutiny of such matters.

The Labour MSP says laws are constantly adapting and changing as society changes.

She says the law must be relevant to how we live in society and that the bill comes with a degree of consensus from the chamber.

Mr Fraser says overall the bill has support

Conservative MSP Murdo Fraser says the changes in this bill may well mean extended warranties are no longer required which may make it easier to enter into construction contracts.

Mr Fraser says the issues around third party contracts go back to the Second World War.

He says the good news is that the bill has been introduced only three years after the Scottish Law Commission paper.

Mr Fraser says overall the bill has support.

He says less paperwork should mean lower fees, but he says he is not overly optimistic on this front.

The bill deals with third party rights and the conversion of these rights

Tory MSP Murdo Fraser
BBC

Tory MSP Murdo Fraser says there are many challenges he has faced as a member of parliament but that it has been a real challenge to "carve out" a seven minute speech on the bill that's before him.

Ms Fraser says the 2.5 hours originally allocated to this bill seemed to overdo it and he was happy when this was reduced.

The Tory MSP says the bill deals with third party rights and the conversion of these rights.

He says from his own legal experience he can remember these matters arising in construction.

The committee has no hesitation in recommending that the bill be agreed to

Delegated Powers and Law Reform Committee convener John Scott says the equivalent legislation in England and Wales, introduced in 1999, is only now beginning to be used.

Mr Scott says the bill in Scotland does not start with a blank piece of paper so there is scope for this legislation to be used more quickly here.

The Delegated Powers and Law Reform Committee convener encourages the Scottish government to promote the measures in the bill, if passed.

He says the committee has no hesitation in recommending to the parliament that the bill be agreed to.

Moving to a statutory footing will provide greater clarity

John Scott
BBC

Mr Scott says in order to help the committee understand how the bill might be used in practice the Scottish Law Commission provided examples.

The Delegated Powers and Law Reform Committee convener says that moving to a statutory footing will provide greater clarity.

He says the committee encouraged the government to reflect on the current protections for smaller businesses.

Mr Scott says the government does not intend to amend certain sections that the committee recommended it look at.

He says it is disappointing that the government has declined to do so.

Tory MSP says practitioners now look for workarounds like using English law

Delegated Powers and Law Reform Committee convener John Scott says the current law on third party rights is based on common law and has been in place for centuries.

Mr Scott says the current position was described by a witness to the committee as a "death spiral".

The Tory MSP says practitioners now look for workarounds like using English law.

Committee shares the objective of improving Scots law so that it remains up to date

Delegated Powers and Law Reform Committee convener John Scott
BBC

Delegated Powers and Law Reform Committee convener John Scott says the bill proposes changes to create laws to protect third parties.

Mr Scott says this is the third bill to be considered by the committee following the changes to standing orders in 2013.

He says the committee shares the objective of improving Scots law so that it remains up to date.

The committee convener says this bill is particularly technical in nature.

The government is also considering the arbitration provisions in the bill

Legal Affairs Minister Annabelle Ewing
bbc
Legal Affairs Minister Annabelle Ewing

Legal Affairs Minister Annabelle Ewing says the government has concluded that section 10, subsection one is not needed in the Bill

Ms Ewing says the government is also considering the arbitration provisions in the bill.

She says if there is a better way of implementing the Scottish Law Commission's report the government will do so.

Ms Ewing says some witnesses found the draft to be wordy, while others were content.

Background: The Contract (Third Party Rights) (Scotland) Bill

The Contract (Third Party Rights) (Scotland) Bill (the Bill) proposes changing the law in Scotland which allows the parties to a contract to create rights for third parties.

The aim is to make the law clearer and more usable.

The Bill implements the recommendations made by the Scottish Law Commission in its 2016 Report “Review of Contract – Report on Third Party Rights”.

Everyone deserves a legal framework that works says Annabelle Ewing

Annabelle Ewing
BBC

Ms Ewing says the current uncertainty is unsatisfactory and that the law on rights in Scotland is out of date.

The legal affairs minister says the bill will not result in change overnight but should mean a significant improvement to what we have now.

She says everyone deserves a legal framework that works and that this bill will deliver that.

Ms Ewing says she will bring forward an amendment to the bill at stage two.

Delegated Powers and Law Reform conclusions on the general principles of the Bill

  • It appears clear to the Committee that codifying the law of third party rights has been generally welcomed by stakeholders.
  • The Committee accepts that consensus exists around the Bill.
  • The Committee recognises that the Bill may not be used widely in the short-term, but is hopeful that the flexibility and certainty that the Bill offers will lead to greater use in the near future.
  • Given that the aim of the Bill is to provide certainty, the Committee welcomes the Scottish Government’s commitment to reflect further on the suggestions made to the Committee about the clarity of the drafting of some provisions.
  • The Committee welcomes the recognition that the Scottish Government has given to the evidence provided to the Committee so far and its willingness to reflect on the suggestions made to the Committee.
  • The Committee recommends to the Parliament that the general principles of the Bill be agreed to.

The minister says the current common law doctrine is inflexible

Ms Ewing says the bill will ensure that Scots law provides the tools practitioners need.

The minister says the current common law doctrine is inflexible.

She says the committee welcomes its abolition.

The legal affairs minister says the absence of confidence in the law means that English law is sometimes used instead of Scots law.

Current law is 'plagued with difficulty'

Legal Affairs Minister Annabelle Ewing
BBC

Legal Affairs Minister Annabelle Ewing says the bill addresses some fundamental difficulties as it stands.

Ms Ewing says the ability to create third party rights are important.

She says the current law is "plagued with difficulty".

"We need a legal system which is fit for purpose," she says.

Delegated Powers and Law Reform Committee report

The Delegated Powers and Law Reform Committee published its report on the Contract (Third Party Rights) (Scotland) Bill on 12 May 2017.

  1. The Contract (Third Party Rights) (Scotland) Bill is a Scottish Law Commission Bill. The Bill reforms the common law on third party rights and replaces it with a statutory version.
  2. The Bill has been introduced with a view to providing greater certainty and flexibility in this area of law. The Committee found that as result of the current uncertainty around the current common law on third party rights, legal practitioners and their clients are using workarounds such as collateral warranties or English law.
  3. It appears clear to the Committee that codifying the law of third party rights is welcomed by stakeholders.
  4. While there is universal support for the Bill, the evidence the Committee received suggested that there would not be an immediate uptake of the Bill. The Committee recognises that the Bill may not be widely used in the short-term, but is hopeful that the flexibility and certainty that the Bill offers will lead to greater use in the future.
  5. A number of suggestions were made to the Committee in evidence advocating changes to the drafting of the Bill to improve its clarity. It is critical that this legislation is clear and usable and the Committee therefore welcomes the Scottish Government's commitment to review these suggestions.
  6. The Committee welcomes this legislation and recommends that the general principles of the Bill be agreed to.

And we're off.....

Legal Affairs Minister Annabelle Ewing
bbc
Legal Affairs Minister Annabelle Ewing

Legal Affairs Minister Annabelle Ewing says the Contract (Third Party Rights) Bill is the result of some solid work by the Scottish Law Commission and she thanks them for their efforts.

Ms Ewing says she is pleased to note that the Delegated Powers and Law Reform Committee backs the general principles of the bill.

Coming up next.....Stage 1 Debate: Contract (Third Party Rights) Bill

Conract
ISTOCKPHOTO

MSPs will debate the Contract (Third Party Rights)(Scotland) Bill from 2.30pm, before being asked to back the general principles at decision time, which is at 4.30pm tonight.

The bill aims to reform the current rule of contract law which creates an "enforceable right" in favour of a third party and replace it with a "statutory version".

Minister recognises and celebrates the remarkable achievement of the Lisbon Lions

Sport Minister Aileen Campbell
bbc
Sport Minister Aileen Campbell

The sport minister says the memories are strong for every football fan.

Ms Campbell says her wee boy is daft on football and he will be talking about when St Johnstone wone the cup 50 years ago for some time.

She recognises and celebrates the remarkable achievement of the Lisbon Lions.

Manchester attack: David Beckham says Man Utd's Europa League win 'brings happiness'

Manchester United's Europa League triumph has brought "a little happiness at a difficult time", said former England captain David Beckham.

The Red Devils beat Ajax in Wednesday's final in Stockholm, two days after the Manchester Arena bombing which killed 22 people and injured 64.

"Tonight was more important than sport," ex-United player Beckham said.

The 42-year-old added it was "a big night for United but an even bigger night for the city and our country".

'Celtic played total football before it was even coined as a phrase'

Sport Minister Aileen Campbell
BBC

Sport Minister Aileen Campbell says the tragic events of the Manchester attack put life, politics and football into perspective.

Ms Campbell highlights Manchester United's achievement in winning the Europa League, and adds her congratulations to them.

Ms Campbell says "Celtic played total football before it was even coined as a phrase".

She says Celtic have been "phenomenal" this season and that this is "difficult to say" as she is a St Johnstone fan.

Ms Campbell says that this debate and its contributions shows that football is a sport that is for more than just men.

SNP MSP says she has scored a goal at Celtic Park

SNP MSP Gail Ross
bbc
SNP MSP Gail Ross

SNP MSP Gail Ross says all of the Lisbon Lions were born within 10 miles of Celtic Park, bar one.

Ms Ross says Celtic won every competition they entered in 1967.

She says she has scored a goal at Celtic Park.... but confesses there was no-one else on the pitch.

Players were climbing over walls the night before the match

Labour MSP Pauline MacNeill
BBC

Labour MSP Pauline MacNeill says she noticed on a programme that then manager, Jock Stein, took his players to the house of someone he knew in Portugal the night before the match and that the players had to climb the wall to get it.

Ms McNeill says she can't see players climbing over walls the night a match these days for fear of injury.

'Football fans, what are we like'

SNP MSP George Adam
bbc
SNP MSP George Adam

SNP MSP George Adam says "football fans, what are we like," adding that he is a proud "Paisley buddy" who supports the local team St Mirren.

Mr Adam says "what a year 1967 was for Scottish football" adding that Celtic won the European Cup, Rangers got to the Cup Winners Cup and Kilmarnock got to the semi-final of the Fairs Cup.

Tory MSP thanks Lisbon Lions legend Stevie Chalmers

Tory MSP Annie Wells
bbc
Tory MSP Annie Wells

Tory MSP Annie Wells says she is not old enough to remember the game, she feels like she kicked every ball on the journey, as her dad told her about it again and again.

Ms Wells says Lisbon Lions Stevie Chalmers used to come and pick up her dad and his brother, who were orphaned young, and take them to the games.

She thanks Stevie Chalmers for that.

Lisbon Lions Stevie Chalmers
bbc
Lisbon Lions Stevie Chalmers

SNP MSP turned up late for a date to see the end of the match

SNP MSP Christine Grahame
BBC

SNP MSP Christine Grahame says some will be wondering what she is doing in a debate about football saying she knows nothing about it.

Ms Grahame says she had a date on the night of the match with her future husband.

She says she ended up engrossed in the match as she was waiting to go out and, come the equaliser, she was "going nowhere".

Ms Grahame says she arrived late for the date but so did her boyfriend because he was also adamant to see the end of the match.

'Clean Sweep Soots the Celts'

Labour MSP James Kelly
bbc
Labour MSP James Kelly

Labour MSP James Kelly says he was three and a half years old and the final was the first memory of his life.

Mr Kelly says his Grandfather was in Lisbon for the game having won a newspaper competition he did not know he had been entered in.

The Labour MSP says his father had enetered his grandfather in a caption competition with the phrase: "Clean Sweep Soots the Celts".