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Summary

  1. The Public Petitions Committee takes evidence on on unelected church appointees on local authority education committees
  2. Homelessness, Police Scotland and private car parks are all raised during general questions
  3. Nicola Sturgeon Scotland's says she will consider freezing the country's train fares next year amid concern over the reliability of ScotRail services.
  4. This afternoon's member’s debate is led by Tory MSP Miles Briggs calling for disabled access to Edinburgh Waverly station
  5. The government leads a debate focusing on supporting and strengthening Scotland’s island communities

Live Reporting

By Craig Hutchison and Colin Bell

All times stated are UK

That's all from Holyrood Live for this week

Holyrood
BBC

That's all from Holyrood Live for this week.

We'll be back next Tuesday. 

Have a good weekend. 

The Scottish government motion is unanimously agreed to

The Scottish government motion is unanimously agreed to.

Government motion
Scottish Parliament

The Scottish Lib Dem amendment is rejected.

The Scottish Lib Dem amendment is rejected with 26 MSPs backing it, 62 against and 28 for.

Lib Dem amendment
Scottish Parliament

The Scottish Labour amendment is rejected

The Scottish Labour amendment is rejected with 53 MSPs backing it and 61 against and with one abstention.

Labour amendment
Scottish Parliament

The Scottish Conservative amendment is rejected

The Scottish Conservative amendment is rejected with 53 MSPs backing it and 62 against.

Tory amendment
Scottish Parliament

We now move to decision time...but first the answer to the pop quiz is...

Mr Wightman confirms that the answer to his earlier ridldle is in the Maree Loch. ( I love being right!!!)

That concludes the supporting and strengthening Scotland's island communities debate. 

We now move to decision time.

Minister insists the government has committed to reatain Highlands and Islands Enterprise

Mr Yousaf says the reorganisation of the health boards is to improve patient care.

He says island proofing is to put forward polices that help the islands.

The minister says he accepts that more has to be done for the islands.

ferry
CalMac

Mr Yousaf says island communities should be more involved in transport links.

He says the consultation on the Ardrossan to Brodick ferry will allow people their say.

HIE
BBC
HIE

The minister says the government has committed to reatain Highlands and Islands Enterprise.  

Mr Yousaf says it is the local delivery that matters not the location of the enterprise board.

Minister says devolution of powers to the islands is important

Islands Minister Humza Yousaf says a debate like this allows the airing of many issues and created much consensus on what needs to be done.

Islands Minister Humza Yousaf
BBC
Islands Minister Humza Yousaf

Mr Yousaf says devolution of powers to the islands is important and he welcomes the support for the Islands Bill.

He says again he intends ferry fares to Orkney and Shetland will be reduced significantly.

Tory MSP says there is broad agreement that the islands need as much devolution as possible

Conservative MSP Peter Chapman says he had his "lugs" on this afternoon to hear this debate this afternoon, his hearing being bad due to long days on a tractor.

Mr Chapman says only four islands have a population greater than 10,000, but there are over 80 inhabited islands and they are all important.

Conservative MSP Peter Chapman
BBC
Conservative MSP Peter Chapman

The Tory MSP says the fact that MSPs are looking at an Islands Bill shows there are different issues that must be addressed.

He says there is broad agreement that the islands need as much devolution as possible to help them to prosper. 

Mr Chapman says there has long been concern about the centralisation agenda of the Scottish government.

Labour MSP says scrapping HIE board is a 'very shabby deal'

Labour MSP Rhoda Grant says it is clear there are people who are concerned about scrapping of the Highlands and Islands Enterprise board.

Labour MSP Rhoda Grant
BBC

Ms Grant says "this is a very shabby deal".

The Labour MSP says there needs to be a local body focusing on creating wealth throughout the Highlands, but particularly in the islands.

She calls on the CalMac board to have islanders on it.

Scottish Lib Dems support Islands Bill but wants health board and centralisation issues to be dealt with

Tavish Scott
BBC

Scottish Lib Dem MSP Tavish Scott says "Mr Yousaf began this debate by saying his heart belongs to Glasgow and I'm sure, after this week, it doesn't belong to Abellio."

Mr Scott says transport is a major challenge in the islands.

The Lib Dem MSP says the islands want to see what the Smith Commission agreed on the crown estate which was that matters would be further devolved.

He says his party support the principles of the Islands Bill but the minister will have to deal with the issues around health boards and centralisation.

Mr Scott says "a central board will make things more difficult."

Loch Maree

Loch Maree is held up as one of Scotland's most picturesque lochs
bbc
Loch Maree is held up as one of Scotland's most picturesque lochs

My guess is Loch Maree which allegedly is the only island in Britain to contain a loch that itself contains an island.

'Proud Hebridean' welcomes minister for the islands

SNP MSP Angus Macdonald
bbc
SNP MSP Angus Macdonald

Angus Macdonald says he is a proud Hebridean and he cares passionately about the islands.

The SNP MSP says he welcomes a minister for the islands being created by the Scottish government.

He also welcomes the Islands Bill.

'If it ain't broke don't fix it,' Labour MSP says of HIE

Scottish Labour MSP David Stewart says policies should not be "territorially blind". 

Scottish Labour MSP David Stewart
BBC
Scottish Labour MSP David Stewart

The Highlands and Islands MSP says there is nothing new in the argument about strengthening island communities.

Mr Stewart says "if it ain't broke don't fix it" and islands processes that work should remain. He says this is why he is against disbanding HIE.

Strengthened local devolution is something which should be sought in the whole of Scotland - SNP MSP

Scottish Greens MSP Andy Wightman says the people who live on islands are best placed to make decisions on their future.

Mr Wightman says strengthened local devolution is something which should be sought in the whole of Scotland. 

Scottish Greens MSP Andy Wightman
BBC
Scottish Greens MSP Andy Wightman

He says commitments have been given to coastal and islands councils about reinvesting revenues which does not appear to be in Mr Yousaf's opening remarks and he asks for clarity on that.

Moving Ardrossan ferry to Troon would have a negative impact on Arran economy - Labour MSP

Scottish Labour MSP Neil Bibby
BBC
Scottish Labour MSP Neil Bibby

Scottish Labour MSP Neil Bibby says the proposals to move the Arran ferry from Ardrossan to Troon will have a financial impact on passengers.

Mr Bibby says there is no proof that moving the ferry to Troon would have less impact on sailings, because they would still be affected by the same fog.

He says this would affect the local economy in Arran. 

Islands bill clearly a step in the right direction - SNP MSP

Kenneth Gibson
BBC

SNP MSP Kenneth Gibson says "island folk want to see things happen". 

Mr Gibson says superfast broadband is making significant progress in Arran. 

He says the islands bill is clearly a step in the right direction. 

SNP shouldn't be too "prickly" about criticisms over island proofing - Tory MSP

Mr Ross says Mr Yousaf has attempted to increase his knowledge of the islands with his islands tour.

Island
BBC

The Tory MSP says after almost 10 years the SNP shouldn't be too "prickly" over criticisms about island proofing.

Mr Yousaf intervenes to ask if island proofing was part of the Tory manifesto.

Mr Ross says the people in the islands look to the parliament to get things done. 

Background: Highlands and Islands Enterprise board to be scrapped

HIE
HIE
HIE

The board responsible for the economic development of the Highlands will be scrapped, according to report in the Press and Journal.

Deputy First Minister John Swinney stunned MSPs by suggesting that an “overarching” committee will replace the current Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) panel.

The move has been branded a “blatant centralisation” that will leave HIE as a “branch office” of the Scottish Government.

A review of Scotland’s enterprise agencies had already recommended setting-up a national board to coordinate the activities of the bodies – but this is the first time the SNP administration has admitted it intends to scrap the HIE board altogether.

Mr Swinney said HIE and other organisations would retain “separate legal status” after the change.

Background: Whistle blown on MSP Douglas Ross's refereeing clash

Douglas Ross officiating Real Madrid match
AFP
Douglas Ross (in blue) was assistant referee at a Champions League match in Portugal on Tuesday

A leading Scottish Conservative MSP missed a parliamentary committee to referee a Champions League match in Portugal.

It has led to calls for Douglas Ross to stand down from his frontbench role as the party's justice spokesman.

He was an assistant referee at the clash between Sporting Lisbon and Real Madrid on Tuesday.

But it meant he was unable to attend a justice committee meeting in the Scottish Parliament.

Tory MSP and minister competing for the headlines

Humza Yousaf and Douglas Ross
BBC

Scottish Conservative MSP Douglas Ross says he noted the minister's comments on being "born on a Glasgow estate" and he thought he was going to say that he is no expert on the islands, the way he did with transport, but he didn't.

Islands Minister Humza Yousaf shouts "it is nice to see you" here.

Mr Ross says "It is nice to see you too" and admits both he and the minister have been been competing for the headlines this week. 

Tory MSP warns against the scaremongering around Highlands and Islands Enterprise

SNP MSP Maree Todd highlights the importance of the islands to the economy.

Ms Todd says the breathtaking landscape contributes to tourism.

She says the island' contribution goes far beyond that and points out more fish is landed in Shetland than in any other UK port.

Maree Todd
bbc

The Highlands and Islands MSP says connectivity is crucial to the future of the islands.

She says the government is committed to 100% broadband connectivity.

Ms Todd warns against the scaremongering around Highlands and Islands Enterprise.

Calls for island challenges to be considered in fuel poverty bill

Solar panel
BBC

Scottish Lib Dem MSP Liam McArthur says the minister needs to address challenges in the islands when the fuel poverty bill is reviewed. 

Mr McArthur says "it make no sense at all" to have solar panels that will never be plugged in on buildings.

Lib Dem MSP says there has been a relentless removal of powers from the islands

Lib Dem MSP Liam McArthur
bbc
Lib Dem MSP Liam McArthur

Lib Dem MSP Liam McArthur says there has been a relentless removal of powers from the islands in the last nine years.

Mr McArthur says he welcomes the Islands Bill and plan.

He says Mr Yousaf's ministerial colleagues has been driving a horse and cart through island proofing.

The Lib Dem MSP points to the attainment fund not coming to the islands and  health policy. 

He says abolishing the board of HIE will not help to demonstrate that island proofing will be no more than a tick box exercise. 

Here is the Scottish Lib Dem amendment

Here is the Scottish Lib Dem amendment.

Lib Dem amendment
Scottish Parliament

Scottish government need to devolve more powers rather than centralise them - Labour MSP

Scottish Labour MSP Rhoda Grant says islands pay a premium on goods and services. 

Ms Grant says people have poorer broadband connections and speeds which stops them from shopping online. 

Coll
BBC
Coll

The Scottish Labour MSP says transportation and connectivity links need to be established to allow those who live on Islands to connect with others.

She says the Scottish government need to devolve more powers rather than centralise them. 

Labour MSP accuses the Scottish government of increasing centralisation

Labour MSP Rhoda Grant
bbc
Labour MSP Rhoda Grant

Labour MSP Rhoda Grant pays tribute to the island councils which produced Our Island Our Future.

The Western Isles, Shetland and Orkney laid out their vision for a stronger future following the Independence Referendum of 2014.

They called for a commitment that whatever the outcome, the needs and status of island areas were clearly recognised in the new era for Scotland.  

Ms Grant says the Scottish government has increased centralisation.

The Labour MSP says there must be real, measurable and deliverable change in the power being devolved to islands.

Here is the Scottish Labour amendment

Here is the Scottish Labour amendment. 

Labour amendment
Scottish Parliament

HIE have worked for decades quietly and slowly helping businesses flourish - Tory MSP

Scottish Conservative MSP Donald Cameron says strategies to strengthen islands strategies will not come without a wide discourse.

Scottish islands sunset
BBC

Mr Cameron says we must strive to give islands their own voice.

He says there is wide support for HIE and they have worked for decades across island communities and quietly and slowly helped businesses flourish.

"Please don't stand by and watch it vanish," he says.

Shetland
bbc
Shetland

Mr Cameron says more needs to be done to promote business on the islands.

The Conservative MSP says small enterprises have a crucial role.

He says people are the heart of the community and broadband is one of the biggest barriers to development.

He says Orkney, Shetland and the Western Isles have been rated as the best places to bring up children.

Tory MSP says yesterday saw the 'death knell for HIE'

Conservative MSP Donald Cameron says yesterday was bitter sweet.

The sweet part was the news about the smelter at Fort William.

However it was a bitter day as we learned that the governing board at Highlands and Islands is to be scrapped.

Conservative MSP Donald Cameron and Islands Minister Humza Yousaf
BBC

He says: "It is the death knell for HIE as we know it."

He expresses concerns that a new national board for HIE, Scottish Enterprise and other agencies may lead to a centralisation of services at the expense of the local skills, knowledge and expertise of HIE.

Mr Yousaf says HIE will remain and people will be more interested about the services on the ground rather than where the board is situated.

Mr Cameron again highlights his concerns about centralisation.