As-it-happened: First Minister's Questions, Thursday, 17 January, 2013

Key points

  • First Minister Alex Salmond answered questions from opposition leaders and backbench MSPs during his weekly Holyrood Q&A.
  • NHS waiting times, the funding of big build projects and the new police force were topics tackled by the first minister.
  • During FMQs this week, Mr Salmond announced that a number of Scots were involved in the Algerian hostage crisis.

Live text

Reporting:

  • Sandy Murray 
  • Deirdre Kelly 
  • Stuart Nicolson 

Last updated 17 January 2013

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Hello and welcome to our weekly video and text coverage of FMQs. Alex Salmond is due to being his Q&A at 12 noon. In the meantime his Cabinet ministers are answering general questions from backbenchers.

TWEET

To follow the debate on twitter use FMQ#

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Brian Taylor, Political editor, Scotland

"Alex Salmond was in London today - but not, of course, in the House of Lords where peers were debating whether to grant Holyrood the legal power to hold an independence referendum. The SNP has a policy which prevents Nationalists, however distinguished, from donning ermine..... Read more from my blog"

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Alex Salmond

Want to know what Alex Salmond said about a written constitution for an independent Scotland? Watch what he said to BBC political editor Brian Taylor.

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Labour's Johann Lamont asks the FM about his engagements.

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The FM says he spoke to PM about the Algeria crisis. A number of Scots among those hostages.

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He says this is a hugely serious situation. The chamber is united in condemnation and there are hopes for early release of the hostages.

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Ms Lamont agrees with the FM. She then turns to domestic issues. Ms Lamont details former health secretary Nicola Sturgeon's changing story on hidden waiting lists. Was Ms sturgeon misleading parliament or incompetent in her job, she asks?

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Alex Salmond

Mr Salmond says that hidden waiting lists were endemic, Labour is in non position to attack the government on this. He turns to NHS Grampian and says that the 18 week time guarantee has not been breached. he adds that they had serious difficulty with a flooded scanner. The backlog consists of 500 patients, he adds. The Jubilee Hospital is helping to clear the backlog and the scanner has now been fixed.

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Johann Lamont

"The answer is astonishingly complacent," Ms Lamont says. The FM should understand what real life is like for people in this country. How does the Fm explain how paitients are now available for appointments they weren't available for before, she asks?