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Summary

  1. The European and External Relations Committee took evidence from academic luminaries on EU reform and the EU referendum
  2. MSPs raised the issues of planning for the additional powers proposed in the Scotland Bill; the impact of the closure of the Forth Road Bridge and flood defences
  3. Opposition party leaders then took their final opportunity to question the first minister this year
  4. Independent MSP John Willson led a member's debate on the UK's air strikes in Syria
  5. MSPs debated and unanimously passed legislation that will ban smoking in a car with children
  6. The final item of business in 2015 is was the final debate on the Interests of Members of the Scottish Parliament (Amendment) Bill, before it too was passed unanimously

Live Reporting

By Craig Hutchison and Colin Bell

All times stated are UK

  1. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

    And that's all from the Scottish Parliament for 2015.

    Merry Christmas
    Image caption: Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

    Holyrood Live will be back, refreshed and raring to go, in 2016.

    Until then we wish you a Merry Christmas and a happy New Year. 

  2. Bill will streamline processes - SNP MSP

    In closing SNP MSP Stewart Stevenson says the bill will steamline processes. 

    SNP MSP Stewart Stevenson
  3. Diner not a benefit in kind unless action is expected - SNP MSP

    SNP MSP Stewart Stevenson responds to Mary Scanlon's question saying it would not be a benefit in kind unless the member was expected to take some sort of action as a result of the dinner. 

  4. Question on benefits in kind

    Conservative MSP Mary Scanlon says it's nice to have the last debate in a consensual basis.

    Ms Scanlon asks for clarity on member's benefits in kind within the bill.

    Conservative MSP Mary Scanlon

    The Conservative MSP says she's sure every person in the chamber has been invited to dinner to discuss concerns of constituents. 

    She asks if the dinner would be classed as a benefit in kind.  

  5. Censure change a useful provision within the bill

    Labour MSP Mary Fee says a useful provision in the bill is the change to censure. 

    Labour MSP Mary Fee

    Ms Fee says if a member is found to be in breach this provision would allow debate and the opportunity for the member to put forward their explanation. 

    The Labour MSP says this change will improve transparency. 

  6. The government gives its full support to this legislation

    Parliamentary Business Minister Joe Fitzpatrick says the government gives its full support to the bill. 

    Mr Fitzpatrick says this is a committee bill and it is a useful tool within the parliamentary processes.    

    Parliamentary Business Minister Joe Fitzpatrick
    Image caption: Parliamentary Business Minister Joe Fitzpatrick

    He says members from across the chamber have got behind this bill.

    The minister says every member of this parliament will benefit from this legislation. 

  7. Bill would change the threshold for registering gifts

    SNP MSP Stewart Stevenson says the bill reduces the threshold for registering gifts. 

    SNP MSP Stewart Stevenson

    He says it would change to half a percent of the members salary rounding down to the nearest £10.

    Mr Stevenson says this currently amounts to £280.

  8. Background: From SPICe July 2012

    Amendments to the Scotland Act 1998, set out in the Scotland Act 2012, gave the Scottish Parliament greater flexibility for its scheme for registering members' interests. 

    The Standards, Procedures and Public Appointments (SPPA) Committee of the Scottish Parliament - which is responsible for setting standards of behaviour for Members of the Scottish Parliament - launched a consultation on possible changes to the register of interests' scheme in April 2013. 

    MSPs
    Image caption: The legislation will end dual reporting by MSPs

    The potential changes included responding to the recommendations to the Scottish Parliament set out in the GRECO evaluation report on anti-corruption standards in the United Kingdom. 

    The other changes, which the Committee were interested in seeking comment on, related to ending the requirements on members to register financial interests with the Electoral Commission for political donations, as well as registering their other interests with the Parliament. 

    An end to this dual reporting was seen as beneficial to both Members, and the public who would only have to check in one place to see all the registered interests of any Member of the Scottish Parliament. 

  9. Background: Proposals in the bill

    The proposals in this technical Bill include:

    • Ending the dual reporting by Members to both the Electoral Commission and the Scottish Parliament 
    • Giving responsibility for the investigations of all complaints on breaches and noncompliance to the Commissioner for Ethical Standards in Public Life in Scotland 
    • Extending the offence of paid advocacy to include agreeing to receive inducements as well as actually receiving them
    • Increasing the length of time registers are held from five to ten years 
    • Increasing the forms of sanctions available to impose on members who breach the disclosure requirements
  10. Bill can be easily understood and enforced

    Mr Hume says it is important that legislation in place to protect children in straightforward and easy to explain.

    He says we want more people to recognise the harmful effects of second hand smoke on children. 

    Lib Dem MSP Jim Hume

    The Lib Dem MSP says he believes provisions in the bill can be clearly understood and enforced.

  11. Tribute paid to mother of Lib Dem MSP

    Mr Hume pays special tribute to his own mother, Joyce Hume, who he is certain died of cancer caused by second-hand smoke. 

  12. Bill intended to protect the vulnerable - Lib Dem MSP

    Lib Dem MSP Jim Hume says it gives him great pleasure that the bill does cross party lines.

    Lib Dem MSP Jim Hume

    Mr Hume says the bill was strengthened at stage two and received unanimous support. 

    The Lib Dem MSP says the bill is intended to protect the vulnerable from second hand smoke in an enclosed space. 

  13. Minister says 'This bill is an important milestone'

    Public Health Minister Maureen Watt says the Scottish government has made clear its commitment to protecting children from second hand smoke.

    Ms Watt says: "This bill is an important milestone."

    Public Health Minister Maureen Watt
    Image caption: Public Health Minister Maureen Watt

    She says this is not about stigmatising those who smoke.

    The minister says this is another important step in creating a tobacco free generation by 2034.

  14. We must decide what to do next to cut off the tobacco industry - Labour MSP

    Labour MSP Dr Richard Simpson says he hopes for a similar decision on his alcohol bill in the spring but it's not receiving the same support from the government.

    Labour MSP Dr Richard Simpson

    Dr Simpson says second hand smoke is worse for children because their lungs are not as fully developed.

    The Labour MSP says we must decide what to do next to cut off the tobacco industry. 

  15. Despite awareness being raised people still smoke in cars with children

    Conservative MSP Jackson Carlaw says the reality is that despite awareness being raised people continue to smoke in cars with children. 

    Conservative MSP Jackson Carlaw

    He says the legislation must be acted upon.   

  16. More must be done in health with regards to obesity and alcohol - Labour MSP

    Ms Marra says she cannot recall much being done by the Scottish government to tackle Scotland's problems with obesity and alcohol. 

  17. People will look back and think it was 'crazy' we allowed smoking in cars - Labour MSP

    Labour MSP Jenny Marra says she thinks back to jobs she has had in bars as a student breathing in smoke and she realises these are conditions we must move on from.

    Labour MSP Jenny Marra

    Ms Marra says people will look back and think it's crazy that we allowed smoking in such a small space. 

    The Labour MSP says it's incumbent on us as custodians of the health service to ensure it's sustainable and smoking is a drain on health finances. 

  18. Question on smoking in tenements and stairwells

    Labour MSP Jenny Marra asks if the government would consider banning smoking in tenement closes and stairwells where children play.

    The minister says the Scottish government will continue to consider ways to make sure children are not subjected to second hand smoke so this bill should not be seen in isolation.