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Summary

  1. The Equalities and Human Rights Committee takes evidence on the Historical Sexual Offences (Pardons and Disregards) (Scotland) Bill
  2. The first minister is quizzed during FMQs
  3. Scottish Lib Dems leader begins debate on the East Neuk First Responders
  4. MSPs debate the Islands (Scotland) Bill

Live Reporting

By Louise Wilson and Craig Hutchison

All times stated are UK

  1. That's all from Holyrood Live

    That's all from Holyrood Live's coverage of the Scottish Parliament on Thursday 8 February. We will be back on Tuesday 20 February because next week is recess!

    Changes to the appointment process for Scotland's police watchdog need to be considered in the "fullness of time", Nicola Sturgeon said during first minister's questions.

    Scottish Police Authority (SPA) members are currently appointed by the Scottish government.

    Nicola Sturgoen

    But Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson called for appointments to instead be made by the Scottish Parliament.

    It follows the resignation of Chief Constable Phil Gormley on Wednesday.

  2. MSPs unanimously agree the general principles of the Islands Bill

    Island

    MSPs unanimously agree the general principles of the Islands Bill.

  3. Presiding officer fully understands Patrick Harvie's concerns

    Ken Macintosh

    Mr Harvie says he hopes Presiding Officer Ken Macintosh will convey to the UK goverment the rejection of this sign of contempt.

    Mr Macintosh says he is not surprised by this point of order and he says he understands fully the concerns Mr Harvie has raised.

    He says he trusts that the UK government will reflect on the measures put in place.

  4. Point of order on Brexit papers

    Green MSP Patrick Harvie

    Green MSP Patrick Harvie raises a point of order.

    He says the presiding officer's role is able to represent the parliament in discussions with outside bodies and ensuring parliamentary scrutiny can take place.

    The Green MSP says Brexit analysis have been made available to MSPs on a severely limited basis.

    Only a small number of people made it to the viewing session and they were only allowed to see certain pages, "turning an insult into a farce", exclaims Mr Harvie.

  5. Councils to be engaged with on local authority island plans

    Na h-Eileanan Siar

    The islands minister emphasises the need to discuss the idea of local authority island plans with the relevant councils rather than imposing a requirement on them.

    He accepts there must be some clarity on the different between island-proofing and island impact assessments, adding the latter is part of the process for the former.

    Depopulation is one of the biggest challenges facing the islands and the minister urges the UK government to island-proof its immigration policy.

    Humza Yousaf commits to reflecting on the concerns expresses in the debate on the definition of islands.

  6. Minister stresses there is more being done than just this Islands Bill

    Islands Minister Humza Yousaf
    Image caption: Islands Minister Humza Yousaf

    Islands Minister Humza Yousaf says this has been a largely consensual debate.

    He thanks Labour MSP David Stewart for pointing him towards the Japanese Remote Islands Development Act during committee.

    Mr Yousaf says there is more being done than just the Islands Bill, including the Crown Estate Bill and community empowerment legislation.

  7. Bill must cause shift in decision-making mindset says Tory MSP

    Tory MSP Jamie Greene
    Image caption: Tory MSP Jamie Greene

    Tory MSP Jamie Greene highlights the various difficulties facing islanders in accessing public services.

    He points to evidence received about the negative impact of the sheer number of tourists who visit the islands and expresses concerns about young people choosing to leave the islands.

    The Bill is one-size-fits-all because of it needing to be an enabling Bill, the Tory MSP states, but he says solutions cannot be one-size-fits-all.

    Mr Greene says the cost of full island-proofing would be unparalleled and unacceptable, and therefore urges the Scottish government to properly manage expectations.

    Confirming his party will support the Bill, the member says it is important the Bill reflects the needs of islanders and causes a shift in the mindset of how government decisions impact the islands.

  8. Bill is 'far too timid' says Labour MSP

    Labour MSP Rhoda Grant
    Image caption: Labour MSP Rhoda Grant

    Labour MSP Rhoda Grant says the Bill as it stands is "far too timid" and calls for its strengthening.

    "At the moment the Bill is just warm words."

    She calls for the high level expectations to be put on the face of the Bill to ensure islands asks are met.

    Turning to island impact assessments, she states not all organisations influencing the islands, calls for the government to issue guidelines and suggests there must be a mechanism for appeal.

    The Labour MSP also argues there needs to be retrospective assessments to go back to previous policy choices have a negative impact on island communities.

    Very little detail is available on the national islands plan so far, Ms Grant says.

  9. Background: 'Historic' islands bill published

    Island

    The Scottish government introduced the "historic" Islands (Scotland) Bill in June last year, aiming to offer greater powers to island local authorities, including the Western Isles, Orkney and Shetland.

    The Rural Economy and Connectivity Committee has been taking evidence on it since September.

    Orkney Islands Council and Highland Council welcomed the bill.

    Orkney along with Western Isles Council - Comhairle nan Eilean Siar - and Shetland Islands Council have been campaigning for several years for greater powers.

    The local authorities ramped up their Our Islands Our Future campaign in the run up to and after 2014's Scottish independence referendum.

  10. 'It has never been so important to promote islanders’ voices'

    SNP MSP Kate Forbes
    Image caption: SNP MSP Kate Forbes

    SNP MSP Kate Forbes says: "Our islands are not mini museums, or visitor centres or somebody’s play park."

    The Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch MSP says: "It has never been so important to promote islanders’ voices, to harness islands’ resources and to enhance the wellbeing of island communities."

    "This Bill is needed because decision-making is not alwasys sufficiently ‘island proofed’ currently."

    She says this Bill is making history.

  11. Labour MSP objects to distinction between inhabited and uninhabited islands

    Labour MSP Lewis Macdonald

    Labour MSP Lewis Macdonald expresses concern about the distinction between inhabited and uninhabited islands.

    He argues this is not required for the policy purposes of this Bill and island communities are not defined by head count.

    A number of islands ceased to be permanently inhabited - but that does not mean they have ceased to be part of wider communities of inhabited islands, Mr Macdonald states.

  12. Background: Our Islands Our Future

    Islands

    Several MSPs have commended the Our Islands Our Future campaign throughout the debate.

    Orkney Council, Shetland Council and Comhairle nan Eilean Siar launched the campaign in 2014.

    A joint mission statement from the three councils sought to open discussion of how the islands are accounted for constitutionally.

    Suggestions included:

    • Giving the councils control of the sea bed around the islands
    • Creating new grid connections so tidal and wave energy could be sent to the mainland
    • Establishing fiscal arrangements so the islands receive more benefits from local resources
  13. Tory MSP says Islands Bill must be meaningful

    Tory MSP Donald Cameron
    Image caption: Tory MSP Donald Cameron

    Tory MSP Donald Cameron says the Islands Bill must be meaningful.

    Mr Cameron says Argyll and Bute has some 23 inhabited islands.