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  1. 4.20pm: Scottish Labour Party Debate: Scotland's Future
  2. 5.35pm: Members' Business: Absence of suitable hospice and respite facilities for young disabled adults

Live Reporting

By Craig Hutchison and Carol Duncan

All times stated are UK

Minister concludes

Mr Matheson says age appropriate respite and hospice care is important.

He highlights work the Scottish government is doing to address the issue.

The minister concludes by saying he will convene a "specific meeting" with the interested parties which will take them on to the next stage.

We aplogise again for the loss video for the last ten minutes due to a technical problem.


We apologise for the loss of video coverage due to technical problems.

Minister responds

Public Health Minister Michael Matheson offers his thanks to Robert Watson for submitting his petition to parliament last November.


SNP MSP Jim Eadie also pays tribute to Robert Watson for his campaigning, watched by Mr Watson from the gallery.

Robert Watson

Jackie Baillie

Ms Baillie says there must be age appropriate respite and hospice care made available and calls on Public Health Minister Michael Matheson to take that work forward.

Robert Watson

Ms Baillie highlights the campaigning of Robert Watson whocalled on the Scottish government to provide respite care for younger adults with severe disabilities in Scotland on 26 November 2013.

28 year old Mr Watson, who suffers from Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, a genetic condition which leads to muscle wasting, was

giving evidence on his petition
PE1499 to the
Public Petitions Committee.

It calls for the creation of suitable respite services for younger disabled adults with life-limiting conditions on behalf of the What About Us? Campaign group (formerly CHAS Young Adult Council).

The Children's Hospice Association Scotland or CHAS were forced to introduce an upper age limit of 21 to its hospice services and will gradually withdraw services from young adults above the limit, due to a strain on resources caused by an increase in the population of people with long term conditions.

It was this decision that has prompted a group of young adults using CHAS, including Mr Watson, to run their own campaign for increased respite facilities in Scotland for disabled adults aged 21-45.

CHAS is supporting the young adults with this campaign.

Mr Watson said respite breaks were the only type of holiday he and fellow campaigners were able to go on, to get away from the isolation of being at home all the time.

Petitioner Robert Watson
(C) British Broadcasting Corporation

Families were being left to cope without a break and with no support, he added.

The 28 year old said the need for adult respite services would continue to increase and called on the government to act before the situation got "desperate".

Kyle Kelly, a fellow member of the What About Us? Campaign also gave evidence.

Committee convener David Stewart thanked both petitioners and said the MSPs were "very enthusiastic" about the petition.

Mr Stewart said the committee would seek further views from organisations and bid for some time in the chamber to debate the issue.

Hospice and respite facilities for young adults debate

Labour MSP Jackie Baillie is leading a debate entitled 'Absence of suitable hospice and respite facilities for young disabled adults'.

In her motion MS Baillie voices concern at the absence of suitable hospice and respite facilities for young disabled adults in Dumbarton and across Scotland.

Ms Baillie says the Children's Hospice Association Scotland (CHAS), which currently provides services to approximately 100 young adults, has been forced to impose an upper age limit on its facilities due to increased demand on its service capacity by children.

Labour MSP Jackie Baillie

This upper age limit will come into force in approximately three years' time.

She believes that, with life expectancy for conditions such as Duchenne muscular dystrophy increasing, the need for age-appropriate hospice and respite facilities for young disabled adults will only grow with time.

Muscular Dystrophy Campaign and the What About Us? campaign group are calling for new proposals to be brought forward as a matter of urgency.

There are also calls for an urgent government review of the issue, bringing together NHS boards, local authorities, hospice providers and young people.

Decision time

MSPs vote to pass the amended Labour motion calling for the resignation of Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill, passing Mr MacAskill's amendment meaning the call is defeated.

MSPs also vote to pass Nicola Sturgeon's amendment to Scottish Labour leader Johann Lamont's motion from the Scotland's future debate.

Ms Sturgeon's amendment was also amended by Scottish Green MSP Patrick Harvie.

Business motion opposed

Labour MSP Paul Martin opposes the business motion from Scottish government's Business Manager Joe Fitzpatrick.

Mr Martin says surely the legislative programme should be heard by the people of Scotland, so Labour are suggesting the first minister steps aside and Nicola Sturgeon brings forward her programme for government as she becomes first minister.

Mr Fitzpatrick says Mr Martin has offered a complete "work of fiction", there will be no material difference to the legislative programme by the delay publishing it.

Coming up

Decision time is at 5.30pm today with the motions and amendments from Labour's debate calling on Justice Secretary Kenny McAskill to resign and its debate on Scotland's future to be voted on.

Labour closes the debate

Labour MSP Drew Smith says Scotland's future should not be discussed without considering the powers of this parliament and adds the timetable set out by Gordon Brown must be adhered to.

Drew Smith

Mr Smith says it is the will of the Scottish people to "continue devolution within the UK not in competition with it".

'Substantial additional powers'

Health Secretary Alex Neil says he wants to build on the will of the Scottish people.

Alex Neil

He says there is a "substantial demand by the people of Scotland for very substantial additional powers".

Massive opportunity

Earlier in the debate Willie Rennie, leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats, said the time is ripe to bring people and politicians together: "For the first time ever we have all parties in this Parliament, actually in Scottish politics, together in the one room.

Willie Rennie

"It has never happened before, that in itself is a massive opportunity. to bring together the 45 and the 55 is an opportunity as well to make sure that they are engaged in the discussion going forward."

Tory close

Scottish Conservative MSP Gavin Brown says: "Within a week of the referendum Lord Smith was in this building talking to stakeholders".

Gavin Brown

Mr Brown says "a clear time table has been outlined, a clear process has been outlined" and "it is incumbent apon all of us including the Scottish government" to take these seriously.

Enhance scrutiny

Patrick Harvie, co-convener of the Scottish Greens, says if Scotland is going to get additional new powers then it will need enhanced scrutiny of this Parliament.

Patrick Harvie

Mr Harvie finishes by making a plea to all MSPs: "To ensure that we don't pull up the drawbridge and just pretend that this is all for us to decide and that we put it out there to the wider public as well."

Conservative view

Mr Carlaw goes on to say the SNP are on the Smith Commission on an equal footing with the other parties.

Jackson Carlaw

He says the worse thing of all for powers to arrive in Holyrood without proper consideration of how the powers will be used.

Tributes to Angus Macleod

Scottish Conservative MSP Jackson Carlaw begins by paying tribute to Angus Macleod, the Scottish editor of The Times, who has died after a short illness.

The 63-year-old, who was being treated for cancer at Glasgow's Gartnavel Hospital, was an award-winning writer and a regular BBC contributor.

His death has been described as a "huge loss to journalism".

The Times described Mr Macleod as "one of the most acute observers of the Scottish and UK political scenes".

An article in the newspaper added: "He was loved by his staff as a fair-minded and enthusiastic editor with an extraordinary gift for identifying the heart of any news story.

"His unfailing generosity and encouragement inspired scores of colleagues and young journalists.

"His loss to journalism and to Scottish society will be keenly felt."

Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond described Mr Macleod as "a thoughtful and insightful journalist who will be missed right across the political divide".

Angus Macleod
Angus Macleod

Labour MP and former chancellor Alistair Darling added: "Angus Macleod was a gentleman in every sense of the word. He is a huge loss to journalism."

Scottish Secretary Alistair Carmichael, said: "Every politician knew a call from Angus would bring searching questions which would demand an answer. It was, however, never an unwelcome call.

"He was a true gentleman who brought an authentic Highland flavour to our politics. He will be missed."

Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson described Mr Macleod as "wonderful and irascible in almost equal measure".

Patrick Harvie

Scottish Green Party co-convener Patrick Harvie says there is a "little way to go" to find the atmosphere where the common ground can be found on this debate.

Patrick Harvie

Mr Harvie says that "wider public engagement" in the referendum came about because that "great big idea that transcended political parties" going on to add "the danger at the moment is we pull up the drawbridge" and politics is for politicians again.

He says he is very happy he will be a representative on the Smith Commission, but "let's be realistic the breakneck timetable which has been decided and must now be lived up to" will provide "next to no opportunity for people outside the political bubble to shape the process".

'Good faith'

Mr Neil says: "The Smith Commission offers a real opportunity to deliver real change."

Alex Neil

He says the SNP will work with the commission in "good faith".

The health secretary say he will "argue for change that lives up to the expectations of the Scottish people."

He says the opposition parties must live up to the language of home rule, federalism and devomax and go beyond the offers they made before the referendum.

Scottish government amendment

Health Secretary Alex Neil rises to speak to Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon's amendment to the Labour motion.

The amendment in full is below:

S4M-11116.1 Nicola Sturgeon: Scotland's Future-As an amendment to motion S4M-11116 in the name of Johann Lamont (Scotland's Future), leave out from "recognises" to end and insert "recognises the result of the independence referendum; agrees on the need for a strengthened Scottish Parliament; acknowledges that people on both sides voted for change; notes the response to a recent Panelbase poll in which two thirds of respondents backed extensive new powers for the Parliament; agrees that the language, 'devo-max', 'home rule' and 'near federalism', used during the referendum campaign has raised expectations of significant change; agrees that the process commenced by The Smith Commission offers a real opportunity to deliver substantial further powers and responsibilities for the Parliament, and agrees that it is now incumbent on all parties to deliver on the clear promises made to the people of Scotland to ensure that Scotland has the powers needed to improve its economy, support jobs, enhance its voice in the world and make Scotland a fairer, greener, more equal society."

Ms Lamont

Ms Lamont concludes by offering to work with Scottish government on the NHS and childcare to improve things in Scotland.

She calls for childcare places for women going to college, "a journey we can go on together".

'Grasp the opportunity'

Ms Lamont says: "We made history on September 18th" with a significant decision, the first time the people of Scotland voted democratically to "stay strong in the United Kingdom".

The Scottish Labour leader calls on everyone to "grasp the opportunity together to shape the future".

Johann Lamont

"It is important that we have to accept the result we should not attempt to rewrite what the result meant."

Ms Lamont also says people "ought not to seek to redefine the vow" by the UK's main parties before the referendum.

Scotland's future debate

Scottish Labour leader Johann Lamont leads a debate on Scotland's future.

Ms Lamont's motion in full is below:

Scotland's Future - That the Parliament recognises that the settled will of the people of Scotland is to make devolution work with a strengthened Scottish Parliament within the United Kingdom following the referendum on Scotland's constitutional future on 18 September 2014, and acknowledges that people on both sides voted for change and that it is now incumbent on this parliament to work together to deliver a fairer, more equal Scotland.

Policing debate ends

Mr Pearson concludes saying the justice minister promised the Scottish Police Authority would hold the chief constable of Police Scotland to account.

Labour MSP Graeme Pearson

The Labour MSP says that has not happened, meaning he had no choice but to table his motion calling for Mr MacAskill to resign.

Labour closes

Labour MSP Graeme Pearson stands to wind up the debate on policing.

Mr Pearson says: "Nowhere in the motion is there an attack on Police Scotland."

He says he expected Mr MacAskill to ensure the Scottish Police Authority fulfilled its duty and obligations.

Police walking
North Pix

Mr Pearson says he is disappointed with the personal attack on him by Justice Committee convener Christine Grahame.

'Political football'

Mr MacAskill calls on the work of Police Scotland to give pride to members and for opposition MSPs to "stop using our national police service as a political football".

Kenny MacAskill

"There will not be political interference in policing under my watch."

'Unimpressive stewardship'

Scottish Conservative Annabel Goldie says there are "ongoing concerns about accountability which have to be laid at the feet of the cabinet secretary", who has had an "unimpressive stewardship" and asks Mr MacAskill to consider his position.

Annabel Goldie

Mr MacAskill hits back accusing opposition parties of making party political points with the police.

The justices Secretary says crime is at an all time low for 39 years.

He adds Scotland's policing has been so strongly in the international spotlight at the Commonwealth Games and Ryder Cup, which were excellently policed without major incident.

Justice convener defends MacAskill

SNP MSP Christine Grahame, convener of the justice committee, defends Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill.

Christine Grahame

Ms Grahame says: "Despite my open and public disagreements with some of the cabinet secretary's decisions, I have high regard for his skills in his post as cabinet secretary for justice and before that when he had Graeme Pearson's job as a shadow minister.

"So I looked at the alleged cabinet secretary in waiting and considered his skills. It seems to me that Graeme Pearson is a one trick pony, unable to focus on anything but his former colleagues."

Conservative view

Conservative MSP Margaret Mitchell speaks to her amendment:

S4M-11114.1 Margaret Mitchell: Policing-As an amendment to motion S4M-11114 in the name of Graeme Pearson (Policing), leave out from "responsibility" to end and insert "establishment of a whistleblowers' helpline for police officers and staff would help achieve this objective; considers that the ultimate responsibility for the accountability of Police Scotland lies with the Cabinet Secretary for Justice, and believes that, in view of his inept stewardship of justice issues, including policing in Scotland, the cabinet secretary should now consider his position."

Margaret Mitchell

Justice Secretary

Mr MacAskill's amendment in full:

S4M-11114.2 Kenny MacAskill: Policing-As an amendment to motion S4M-11114 in the name of Graeme Pearson (Policing), leave out from first "believes" to end and insert "acknowledges that policing in Scotland continues to perform excellently and, despite UK Government cuts, reform has ensured that crime remains at a 39-year-low, violent crime is down by almost half, crimes of handling offensive weapons are down by 60%, homicides are at their lowest since records began, police numbers are 1,000 higher than they were in 2007, compared to more than 14,000 officers being axed since 2007 in England and Wales, and confidence in the police is high and rising; recognises that Police Scotland listened to public views and opinions about stop and search and armed police and adjusted its approaches accordingly; further recognises that the current Scottish Police Authority and HM Inspector of Constabulary in Scotland scrutiny reviews will enhance the way that policing relates to the people and communities it serves; notes that, during the passage of the Police and Fire Reform (Scotland) Act 2012, members from across the Parliament stressed the importance of ensuring that there is no political interference in policing, and, following a period where Scotland's policing has been so strongly in the international spotlight at the Commonwealth Games and Ryder Cup, calls on the Parliament to recognise the very positive impact of Police Scotland and to congratulate officers and staff for their excellent work."

Kenny MacAskill

Kenny MacAskill

Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill takes to his feet to defend his performance as cabinet secretary.

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

The Labour MSP concludes by saying he supported police reform but quotes "Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?", "who watches the watchers?".

Mr Pearson says the cabinet secretary should have delivered true governance to Police Scotland.

Scottish Police Authority

Mr Pearson says the failure of the Scottish Police Authority to properly scrutinise Police Scotland over recent policy changes on stop and search, the allocation of routine police duties to armed officers and target setting.

First minster's questions


last week's first minister's questions Scottish Lib Dem leader Willie Rennie began by asking: "When the first minister goes, will he take Kenny MacAskill with him?" The answer was a curt no from Mr Salmond.

Mr Salmond said the justice secretary would be staying adding Mr MacAskill is "on a high" because crime figures in Scotland are low.

Labour policing motion

Labour MSP Graeme Pearson's motion:

S4M-11114 Graeme Pearson: Policing-That the Parliament believes that all fundamental changes in the way that Scotland is policed should be properly debated and that meaningful consultation, including with the Scottish Police Authority board members, should be carried out prior to any policy decision being taken; notes with concern the absence of any meaningful contribution from the Scottish Police Authority ahead of recent policy changes on stop and search, the allocation of routine police duties to armed officers and target setting; recognises that it is necessary for Police Scotland to police by consent and that this is in the interests of public safety and confidence in the police; believes that the responsibility for the accountability of Police Scotland lies with the Cabinet Secretary for Justice, who told the Parliament on 27 June 2012 that "the Scottish Police Authority's ability to hold the chief constable to account for the policing of Scotland is wide ranging and allows the authority to scrutinise and challenge the chief constable on all of his or her functions and roles and on all aspects of policing", and, in light of the cabinet secretary's failure to provide effective governance of Police Scotland in delivering public accountability, calls on him to resign from his post.

Calls for resignation

Labour Justice Spoksman Graeme Pearson said prior to the debate "Kenny MacAskill has stumbled from crisis to crisis as Justice Secretary and is becoming a serious embarrassment for this Government.

"There has been fundamental policy decisions taken on arming of police on routine duties, stop and searches and target setting without proper debate and consultation. MacAskill has failed to adequately answer the serious questions asked of him, and this is simply unacceptable.

Armed police
Police Scotland

"Police Scotland must allow policing by consent to secure public confidence and in order to ensure this happens we must have a strong Justice Secretary that is willing to hold them to account, currently we don't.

"Alex Salmond is unwilling to make any moves to replace him and rather than waiting for the inevitable reshuffle from Nicola Sturgeon, the Cabinet Secretary should do the honourable thing and resign."

Labour Policing debate

Labour MSP Graeme Pearson begins the debate in which he will call for the resignation of Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill.

Alison Johnstone

Green MSP Alison Johnstone says there is "huge public appetite for bringing rail back into public hands".


Abellio chief executive Jeff Hoogesteger said: "This is a huge day for Abellio and indeed the Netherlands, which has such a rich history of commercial and cultural trade with Scotland.


"For two years our team has been on a journey across Scotland and met people from the Borders, across the seven cities and to the very peak of the far north line, so that we could prepare a plan that would meet and exceed the expectations of the Scottish government.

"We look forward to delivering significant new benefits for passengers under the next franchise."

Franchise details

Abellio and the government said the deal would deliver improved services for passengers, including:

  • Fares between any two Scottish cities starting at £5 (starting at £7.50 for first class)
  • Reduced fares for jobseekers
  • Free wifi internet connections on all trains
  • 23% more carriages across the network.
  • A Dutch-style cycle/rail network

And for ScotRail staff, the government also said the new contract would result in:

  • A guarantee of no compulsory redundancies throughout the life of the contract
  • A commitment to earnings of at least the living wage for all staff and subcontractors
  • Protection of rail staff pensions and travel rights
  • At least 100 apprenticeships
  • Trade union representation at franchise board meetings.