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  1. Nine new junior ministers appointed as Nicola Sturgeon finalises her reshuffle
  2. Yesterday the first minister confirmed her new cabinet, which was expanded to 12
  3. The environment and rural committees takes evidence from Michael Gove on Brexit
  4. The housing minister delivers a statement on homelessness
  5. MSPs debate the Prescription (Scotland) Bill
  6. The parliament votes on sanctions for Mark McDonald MSP

Live Reporting

By Craig Hutchison and Louise Wilson

All times stated are UK

That's all from Holyrood Live!

First minister and her junior team

That is all from the Holyrood Live team on Wednesday 27 June 2018.

Nicola Sturgeon's major reshuffle of her government continued with nine new junior ministers being selected.

The first minister announced sweeping changes to her cabinet on Tuesday, with Shona Robison and Keith Brown among the biggest names leaving the top team.

Changes continued on Wednesday with the new junior ministers which included seven first elected in 2016.

All new ministerial appointments will be subject to a vote of parliament on Thursday afternoon.

'The NHS has always faced challenges from its earliest days until the present'

Ms Freeman

"The NHS has always faced challenges, from its earliest days until the present," says Ms Freeman.

There is no doubt that the way we deliver health in Scotland must continue to evolve and improve, she states.

The minister says work is well underway at a national and regional level to implement proposals to increase the pace of improvement.

Delayed discharge has been reducing Ms Freeman states but she accepts there is room for improvement.

Delivering improved population health is one of the central themes of the Scottish government's plan, she says.

Ms Freeman concludes by paying tribute to her successor Shona Robison, as well as former mental health minister Maureen Watt.

Background: The NHS at 70: Send us your pictures

Old photograph of NHS ward

The National Health Service is turning 70 years old on 5 July this year - and we want to hear from you.

Hospitals, doctors, nurses, pharmacists, opticians and dentists were brought together in 1948 to provide services free at the point of delivery.

We're looking for your photographs and memories from around Scotland, telling us how the NHS has helped you or changed your life.

You can send them to us at with the subject NHS at 70 - and we will create a gallery of your stories.

Click here for more photos and the terms and conditions.

Health secretary designate Jeane Freeman praises NHS staff past and present

Health secretary designate Jeane Freeman
Health secretary designate Jeane Freeman

Soon to be Health Secretary Jeane Freeman thanks all the members who contributed to this debate, thanking in particular Emma Harper, Sandra White and Jeremy Balfour for sharing such personal but important stories.

Their stories encapsulate what the NHS means to so many people in Scotland, she says.

I am absolutley delighted the first words I am saying in this chamber as health secretary designate are praise for the staff of the NHS past and present, Ms Freeman.

The former social security minister says she looks forward to continuing the work of those that have gone before in the health portfolio and pledges to protect the NHS.

Tory MSP tells chamber about his little girl born sleeping

Tory MSP Jeremy Balfour reveals that he underwent surgery at just six months old.

It was the first ever procedure of its kind, with the one finger he was born with being cut into two.

"That innovation allowed me to be able to do so much more."

Tory MSP Jeremy Balfour
Tory MSP Jeremy Balfour

Mr Balfour goes on to emotionally tell the chamber about his experience when his "little girl was born asleep".

"The worst moment in my life.

"What I remember is not just the pain of her loss, but it is the care and love that was given by the midwives, by the nurses, by the auxiliaries to me and my wife.

"The care and compassion is something which defines our NHS."

SNP MSP emotionally contrasts working in US private healthcare with the NHS

SNP MSP Emma Harper
SNP MSP Emma Harper

SNP MSP Emma Harper gives an emotional speech relating her experiences of healthcare in the US and contrasting that with the NHS.

The trained nurse explains she worked for 14 years in Los Angles as a transplant nurse.

Ms Harper says: "It was that experience of working in private health care in the USA that truly showed me how essential and amazing our NHS is."

She relates the awful conundrum people faced in America because they could not afford to get sick.

Ms Harper relates her experience of having to pay for her care for her Type 1 diabetes and goes on to call the NHS a "natural treasure".

NHS takes the strain of economy inequality says Green MSP

Green MSP Alison Johnstone
Green MSP Alison Johnstone

Green MSP Alison Johnstone says the NHS is an important part of national life in Scotland.

Our health is being damaged by economic inequality and many other forms of discrimination and prejudice, she tells the chamber.

The Green MSP says the NHS takes the strain for this.

Ms Johnstone calls for social care to be made free at the point of access.

Background: How Highlands poverty created the blueprint for the NHS

Reevel Alderson

BBC Scotland Social Affairs correspondent

For 70 years the NHS has provided a "cradle to grave" health service throughout the UK, but many of its principles were forged in Scotland more than three decades earlier.

Flora Ferguson, the first nurse in the Highlands to be given a motorbike by HIMS to help bring medical services to remote areas
Highland Archive
Flora Ferguson, the first nurse in the Highlands to be given a motorbike by HIMS to help bring medical services to remote areas

The story began in 1911 with the establishment of the National Insurance (NI) scheme, a system of health insurance and forerunner of the welfare state.

It was based on contributions from employers, the government and workers themselves.

But in the crofting counties of Scotland it did not cover most people, who were not formally employed, so had no employer to pay a contribution.

Levels of poverty in the north of Scotland were high and health provision was patchy, says Colin Waller, retired archivist at the Highland Archive in Inverness.

Read more.

Background: NHS Scotland staff offered 9% pay rise over three years

Hospital ward

The bulk of NHS staff in Scotland have been offered a 9% pay rise, spread across three years.

The offer, to staff like nurses and midwives who earn under £80,000 a year, is being considered by NHS unions.

Scottish Health Secretary Shona Robison said she was "proud" to be offering a pay rise which "not only matches the NHS England deal, but exceeds it".

The offer would not affect doctors, dentists or senior managers. Staff consultations will run until 15 August.

Read more here.

'Innovation will be the key to the future of the NHS'

Labour MSP David Stewart
Labour MSP David Stewart

Labour MSP David Stewart welcomes the new health team - Jeane Freeman, Joe Fitzpatrick and Clare Haughey - to the chamber.

Mr Stewart calls for urgent workforce planning to respond to a health crisis.

He highlights inequality is a significant indicator for poor health, adding that health outcomes between the rich and poor has widened.

"Innovation will be the key to the future of the NHS."

New Health Secretary Jeane Freeman with new ministerial colleagues Joe Fitzpatrick and Clare Haughey
New Health Secretary Jeane Freeman with new ministerial colleagues Joe Fitzpatrick and Clare Haughey

Tory MSP calls for the health of our healthcare professionals to be looked after

Tory MSP Brian Whittle
Tory MSP Brian Whittle

Tory MSP Brian Whittle begins by thanking Shona Robison for her help and assistance with constituency cases, saying "she was always willing to help".

Mr Whittle says major change is underway and further change is now required in the NHS and prevention must move up the agenda.

He calls for the health of our healthcare professionals to be looked after.

Mr Whittle argues that in celebrating the NHS at 70, we should be looking ahead to the next 70 years.

'We must always seek ways to improve the NHS'

SNP MSP Ruth Maguire
SNP MSP Ruth Maguire

SNP MSP Ruth Maguire is opening the debate on behalf of Ash Denham - who was promoted to the role of Community Safety Minister earlier today.

She highlights how the Highlands led on making healthcare affordable, with services being provided to those who couldn't afford it three decades before the NHS was established.

The government is trusted by the electorate to continue and improve the NHS, she states.

Ms Maguire insists the Scottish government has prioritised the health service.

"We must always seek ways to improve the NHS and never shy away from our responsibilities."

It is clear why the NHS is held in such high regard she concludes.

Here are the MSPs who abstained from the vote to sanction Mark McDonald


Beattie, Colin (Midlothian North and Musselburgh) (SNP)

Coffey, Willie (Kilmarnock and Irvine Valley) (SNP)

Fabiani, Linda (East Kilbride) (SNP)

Gibson, Kenneth (Cunninghame North) (SNP)

Grahame, Christine (Midlothian South, Tweeddale and Lauderdale) (SNP)

Mason, John (Glasgow Shettleston) (SNP)

NHS at 70

NHS 70
NHS 70

SNP MSP Ash Denham leaders a debate on the NHS at 70.

Ms Denham's motion
Scottish parliament

BreakingMSPs vote to suspend Mark McDonald for one month

Mark McDonald
Mark McDonald now faces a month's suspension.

MSPs vote to suspend Mark McDonald for one month, with 101 MSPs voting for the sanction, zero against and with six abstentions.

He will be suspended from Monday 3 September until Tuesday 2 October.

They also unanimously back the general principles of the Prescription Bill.

Point of order on NHS Lothian report

Labour MSP Neil Findlay raises a point of order on a report from NHS Lothian.

He suggests there was evidence of manipulation of waiting times and poor governance in the report.

Mr Findlay calls for a ministerial statement to be made, suggesting there had been attempts to bury it by the reshuffle.

Presiding officer Ken Macintosh tells the member that this should be brought up through the parliamentary bureau.

Confidentiality breaches will be considered by standards committee

SNP MSP James Dornan
SNP MSP James Dornan

Mr Harvie says the committee expressed disappointment that details of the complaint were shared with the media by SNP MSP James Dornan.

Confidentiality requirements have been breached more than once during the course of the investigation, he tells the chamber.

These breaches will be looked into separately Mr Harvie confirms.

Mr Harvie moves the motion on Mark McDonald which will be voted on at decision time.

Committee unanimously endorsed finding of sexual harassment against Mark McDonald

Scottish Green Party co-convener Patrick Harvie
Scottish Green Party co-convener Patrick Harvie

Standards committee deputy convener Patrick Harvie speaks to the motion.

Mr Harvie tells the chamber the Commissioner for Ethical Standards in Public Life found that Mr McDonald failed to treat one staff member with respect and that his behaviour was sexual harassment.

Another staff member was found not to be treated with suspect.

The committee unanimously endorsed the commissioner's conclusions.

Background: Mark McDonald faces month suspension over sexual harassment

'I wish I could unsend that text, but I can't'

An MSP faces being suspended from Holyrood for a month after he was found guilty of sexual harassment.

Mark McDonald resigned as early years minister in November 2017 after he sent an "inappropriate" text message to a woman. He later quit the SNP.

The Commissioner for Ethical Standards in Public Life concluded that the case amounted to sexual harassment.

Holyrood's standards committee has now recommended Mr McDonald be suspended without pay for a month.

The final decision on the sanction will be made by parliament as a whole, and the suspension period will not include the upcoming summer recess.

Read more.

Debate on sanction for shamed MSP

Mark McDonald
Getty Images

Standards committee convener Claire Haughey will now give a brief statement on the findings of a report pertaining to the complaint against independent MSP Mark McDonald.


Lib Dems welcome attempt to modernise prescription

Lib Dem MSP Liam McArthur
Lib Dem MSP Liam McArthur

Lib Dem MSP Liam McArthur begins by thanking Michael Matheson and Annabelle Ewing, the former justice sectary and legal affairs minister respectively.

Mr McArthur welcomes Humza Yousaf to the role of cabinet secretary for justice and says he looks forward to working with him.

He says the Scottish Liberal Democrats support this Bill as it is a very welcome attempt to modernise prescription.

The Lib Dem MSP argues the principle underlying the Bill seem sound.

Background: Scotland's councils owed £89m in unpaid tax

Council services

Councils were owed £89m in unpaid council tax for 2016-17, according to Scottish government statistics.

Just short of 97% of council tax for the year had been collected by 31 March 2017.

In-year collection rates have improved over the last decade, with collection standing at 93.8% in 2006-07.

Dundee City Council had the worst collection rate at 93.4%, while Orkney Islands Council had the best at 98%.

We should not let policy be led by the inability of councils to pursue their debts - Labour MSP

Labour MSP Daniel Johnson
Labour MSP Daniel Johnson

Labour MSP Daniel Johnson says prescription is a valuable tool in civil law.

On the exception to the five-year prescription rule for council tax, Mr Johnson highlights cases on constituents where local authorities have come done on people "like a pile of bricks" after years of them thinking they were paying the right amount.

We should not let policy be led by the inability of councils to pursue their debts, Mr Johnson states.

The argument that the Bill simply retains the status quo is not a justification, he insists.

First spotting in the chamber of a new cabinet secretary.....................

Humza Yousaf and Alison di Rollo
New Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf smiles as Labour MSP Daniel Johnson welcomes him to the front bench

Background: Prescriptions (Scotland) Bill

Scottish Court Service

The Prescription (Scotland) Bill seeks to amend the Prescription and Limitation (Scotland) Act 1973..

According to a SPICe briefing on the Bill: "We have prescription in Scots law to encourage people to enforce their rights promptly, before it becomes too difficult for the person or organisation defending the claim to gather the appropriate evidence.

"We also have prescription to offer people and organisations some certainty, so they can plan for their lives and resources after a certain point knowing they will not get sued."

However, the briefing also explains the the current law can cause harsh results on individual cases.

In the Bill, "the range of legal obligations covered by five year prescription would be extended," explains SPICe.

"The Bill would also help those defending court actions. Specifically, the ticking of the clock on the twenty year period would no longer be able to be interrupted, for example, by starting a court action".

Tory MSP explains prescription encourages people to enforce their rights swiftly

Tory MSP Alison Harris
Tory MSP Alison Harris

Tory MSP Alison Harris says prescription encourages people to enforce their rights swiftly before it becomes too difficult.

Ms Harris points out the Bill implements the Scottish Law Commission's recommendations on prescription.

The legislation will mean that there is certain time frame to do something or it will be time barred.

She states the committee calls for further consideration of the exception to council tax and business rates.

Ms Harris says the Bill as drafted generally meets the policy aims.

Committe convener raises case of Morrison v ICL - following the Stockline tragedy

A build-up of gas from a fractured pipe caused the explosion in May 2004
A build-up of gas from a fractured pipe caused the explosion in May 2004

Tory MSP Graham Simpson raises the case of Morrison v ICL.

The owners of a plastics factory which exploded in Glasgow killing nine people blocked a compensation claim by a neighbouring firm damaged in the blast.

ICL Plastics Ltd opposed the claim by decorators merchant David T Morrison on the grounds it was lodged outside the statutory five-year limit.

ICL appealed to the Supreme Court in London after judges at the Court of Session upheld Morrison's case.

Supreme Court judges ruled in ICL's favour by a majority of three to two.

The explosion at ICL Plastics building on 11 May 2004 killed nine people and resulted in 33 people being injured.

Extensive damage was caused to neighbouring properties, including a shop owned by Morrison.

Mr Simpson believes the Bill will address the issues raised by this case.

Read more here.

Background: Committee backs general principles

Report cover
Scottish parliament

The Delegated Powers and Law Reform Committee backed the general principles of the Prescription (Scotland) Bill earlier this month.

But it also urged the Scottish government to provide "further rationale" for excepting council tax and business rates from the five-year time limit.

Questions were raised over whether putting council tax and business rates under the 20 year period was appropriate and an agreement was not reached by the MSPs on this.

The committee has written to Scotland's 32 local authorities is advance of stage 2 to ask how many times they have used the 20 year prescription to seek payment of debts.

Read the report in full.

Bill will stop justice being denied due to passage of time

Law Reform Committee convener Graham Simpson
Law Reform Committee convener Graham Simpson

Law Reform Committee convener Graham Simpson says the Bill might not be easy to get one's teeth into but it does matter to many of our constituents.

He simplifies the definition of prescription by explaining it is the available time in which someone can make a claim on a loss.

The committee accepted that evidence can deteriorate over time, Mr Simpson tells the chamber.

The convener thanks other committees for feeding into the scrutiny of the Bill.

We were concerned that the Scottish Law Commission did not consult widely enough and the committee has urged it to engage more going forward, he adds.

Mr Simpson says this Bill will hopefully ensure justice is not completely denied due to the passage of time.

Scottish government believes Prescription Bill strikes a fair balance

Solicitor General Alison di Rollo
Solicitor General Alison di Rollo

Solicitor General Alison di Rollo says the Bill adds to the definition of relevant claim.

Ms di Rollo thanks the committee for its support of the general principles of the Prescription Bill

She says the Scottish government believes this Bill strikes a fair balance over all.

Background: What is prescription?

Lady Justice statue

Prescription establishes a time limit for a person bringing a claim to court.

It is perhaps more well-known as a statute of limitation - prescription is the law which applies in Scotland.

It the window of time is missed, the ability to pursue the claim is lost.

Prescription Bill seeks to simplify law

Solicitor General Alison di Rollo
Solicitor General Alison di Rollo

Solicitor General Alison di Rollo explains the Bill extends the five-year prescription period to cover all debt obligations and therefore simplifies the law.

There are exceptions to this rule, such as council tax and DWP over-payments, she adds.

An usual feature of Scots law is the both five and twenty year prescriptions start from the same date and the Bill will make the twenty-year prescription begin from the loss, Ms di Rollo tells the chamber.

The Bill simply maintains the exceptions that exist under Scots law and it does not change the approach to council tax because they are vital to local authorities, she adds.

Prescription (Scotland) Bill at stage 1

Clock face

MSPs will now debate the Prescription (Scotland) Bill for the first time.

Call for bespoke solution for migrant women fleeing domestic abuse

Lib Dem MSP Alex Cole-Hamilton
Lib Dem MSP Alex Cole-Hamilton

Lib Dem MSP Alex Cole-Hamilton raises the issue of emergency accommodation for migrants who are homeless and are without funds.

Mr Cole-Hamilton says that generic provision for migrants fleeing domestic abuse is not good enough and he calls for a bespoke solution for them.

Mr Stewart replies that the no recourse to public funds policy of the UK government is unacceptable and they should be removed.

He details discussions with COSLA to see what can be done in this regard and he expects them to report back soon.

Green MSP raises tenant security

Green MSP Andy Wightman
Green MSP Andy Wightman

Green MSP Andy Wightman notes tenants can be evicted should landlords wish to sell the property and he asks whether tenants should be given greater security of housing.

Mr Stewart says the Scottish government has given tenants in the private sector more security in recent years.

He offers to meet with the member to discuss potential further options.

Background: Rise of 43% in homeless households in hostels

Homeless person
Getty Images

The number of homeless households in hostels in Scotland has increased by 43% since 2010, research indicates.

The study, commissioned by Social Bite, found almost 3,000 households are facing such temporary arrangements.

Backers of the study said living in hostels can leave people "marginalised and stigmatised".

Housing minister Kevin Stewart said the Scottish government has pledged to "transform" temporary accommodation.

The research was carried out at Heriot-Watt University for the Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Action Group (HARSAG).

Read more.