As-it-happened: First Minister's Questions on Thursday, 26 April

Key points

  • First Minister Alex Salmond took questions from party leaders and backbenchers at FMQs, due to begin at 12 noon in the Holyrood chamber.
  • Opposition leaders, including Labour's Johann Lamont, the Conservative's Ruth Davidson and the Lib Dems' Willie Rennie all took part
  • Mr Salmond was quizzed on his relationships with US tycoon Donald Trump and News Corporation chairman Rupert Murdoch.

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    Hello, and welcome to our regular Thursday coverage of First Minister's Questions. Alex Salmond is due in the chamber at 12 noon to face questions from opposition leaders and backbench MSPs.


    To follow the debate surrounding Holyrood's First Minister's Questions use #fmq


    Ministers are taking general questions from backbench MSPs. John Swinney talks about the small business scheme and the government's intention to keep the scheme. He said this was "essential assistance" to many small businesses.

    1157: Andrew Black Political reporter, BBC Scotland

    Alex Salmond is almost certain to be questioned on his relationship with Rupert Murdoch and News Corp - the first minister has insisted it never crossed the line.


    The BBC's news website is covering in depth the Leveson Inquiry. Keep informed with all the evidence by logging on to our Live Page. Also, keep up to date with all of the Scottish stories on this issue by going to our Scottish politics web page.


    Labour leader Johann Lamont says the first minister has finally defended his postion regarding his support for BSkyB. When did he first talk about this publicly and how many jobs would be coming to Scotland?


    First Minister Alex Salmond says correspondence related to the significance of BSkyB as an employer in Scotland, which he says provides more than 6,000 jobs


    Paul tweets: Watching #fmq for the first time in ages. For the first time ever I'm actually quite impressed by Johann Lamont.


    Ms Lamont says she always welcomes jobs coming to "my own city". She would also welcome if the FM answered the question he was asked. She goes on to say that:

    • one of Mr Salmond's MSPs, Angela Constance, was against the call centre changes by News International
    • and all six of Alex Salmond's MPs supported a withdrawl of the bid for BSkyB

    Why did the FM support his own MPs in opposing the takeover deal?


    FM says there was a huge risk last year of thousands of BSkyB jobs being lost in Scotland last year due to changes at the company and he was doing his job as first minister by getting involved in that apect


    Ms Lamont comes back and says that even after the Milly Dowler revelations, Mr Salmond was the only politician in "this country, perhaps the world" to invite Rupert Murdoch "round for tea". He is still welcome in "wee Eck's house", she adds.


    Lots of noise, to which presiding officer Tricia Marwick calls for order.


    FM refers to the days of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown "courting" the Murdoch press. He says Labour has spent 15 years worshiping at the feet of Rupert Murdoch.


    Ms Lamont says Ed Miliband put down a motion opposing the BSkyb deal. "This is not about the FM's cynicism, this is about his infatuation about very rich men."

    She goes on to list his contacts with:

    • Fred Goodwin
    • Donald Trump
    • Rupert Murdoch

    Ms Lamont says: "Each case was in secret, each case was a disaster and the detail had to be dragged out of the FM." She calls Mr Salmond a "sucker".


    St\u00e9phane Charrier tweets: #fmq Whether or not there's a case to be answered, the utter hypocrisy of Labour is incredible.


    FM says Fred Goodwin was knighted by Gordon Brown on the advice of former first minister Jack McConnell. And he adds that Mr Trump said he was given planning-related assurances by Mr - now Lord - McConnell in relation to a planned wind farm near his \u00a31bn golf resort.


    Tory leader Ruth Davidson takes the floor. She goes on the Trump story. She says that when Mr Salmond was asked by parliament about his contact with the Trump organisation, he did not mention his contacts with "The Donald". Did the FM mislead Holyrood? [Mr Trump's appearance before MSPs yesterday revealed details of meetings with Mr Salmond]


    Andy Wightman tweets: Ruth Davidson has done her homework #trump #fmq


    FM says the night in New York in 2007 was less a candlelit dinner with Donald Trump and more an international Scots business event. Mr Salmond repeats that he never gave assurances to the US tycoon over the fate of the wind farm.


    Ms Davidson says that if Mr Salmond has nothing to hide from a 12-man dinner, why didn't he talk about it to a parliamentary committee? She says: "Something here stinks, will the first minister set the record straight and say that nothing was discussed on planning and the Menie estate scheme?"


    Kate Shannon tweets: Salmond just referred to Donald Trump as 'The Donald' ...! Seems to have caught on! #FMQ


    FM says Mr Trump hadn't been threatening to pull out of his Menie development until the last few months. Mr Salmond also quotes Mr Trump's line from the committee where he said "I am the evidence". Mr Salmond calls it the Judge Dredd response (named after the ruthless comic book law enforcer, whose catchphrase was "I am the law!"


    Leader of the Lib Dems, Willie Rennie, goes back to the Murdoch case. He asks if Mr Salmond regrets an article in the Sun where he played down the role of News International papers in phone-hacking?


    FM says he hopes the Leveson Inquiry will pursue the phone hacking issue "without fear or favour".


    Green Party leader Patrick Harvie asks when a decison will be made on the European Offshore Wind centre? [The plan at the heart of Mr Trump's objections]


    FM says it will be made in due course - although Mr Salmond says he won't play a part in it because he's the local MSP.


    Mr Harvie says "this parliament has committed to fighting climate change which Trump doesn't believe in". Will the FM defend the offshore wind centre plan vigorously and tell Mr Trump "to get off", asks the Green MSP?


    FM says anyone who doesn't know his position on renewable energy "hasn't been paying attention to Scottish politics".


    Mark Baillie tweets: No contrition from the FM over his article... Is he the last political leader defending newscorp over phone hacking? #fmq


    Nigel Don, SNP MSP, on youth unemployment. What is the current picture?


    FM says every 16 to 19-year-old is being offered a work or training under the government's plan.


    Mr Don says he is conscious of female unemployment being an issue. What is the government doing on that in particular?


    FM says female unemployment is now slightly above the male jobless rate, but the governement's approach was welcomed by union leaders at the STUC this week.


    Lewis Macdonald asks will the government provide additional funding to community projects to halt offending?


    John Jess tweets: Why is the Double dip recession not being brought up here, far more important than attacks, this will affect jobs?? #fmq's


    Mr Macdonald says he fears the "system is broken", so when will the system be improved in the future?


    FM says community payback orders are a perfect example of Lewis Macdonald's point.


    That's it for FMQs. Continue to follow the Trump and Murdoch stories on our website. And to keep up to speed with everything which is happening at Holyrood, bookmark our Democracy Live page.


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