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Summary

  1. PLEASE SCROLL DOWN FOR LIVE TEXT COVERAGE
  2. The Finance Committee took evidence from the chairman of the OBR on the UK spending review and then the Scottish Fiscal Commission on the draft budget
  3. It was the turn of justice ministers and law officers, and their colleagues in the rural affairs department, to be quizzed during portfolio questions
  4. The Equal Opportunities Committee led a debate on the impact of age and social isolation, following its inquiry into the issue
  5. Labour MSP Neil Findlay then used his member’s debate to call for an inquiry into undercover policing in Scotland

Live Reporting

By Colin Bell and Craig Hutchison

All times stated are UK

  1. That's all for today, good night

    That concludes Holyrood Live's coverage of the Scottish Parliament on 6 January 2016.

    Holyrood at night

    We're back tomorrow morning from 9.30am as the Devolution Committee looks at the controversial UK Trade Union Bill.

  2. Pitchford Inquiry should be extended - Minister

    Labour MSP Neil Findlay says the minister is telling him to go and speak to Boris Johnson about these matters which is bizarre.  

    Community Safety and Legal Affairs Minister Paul Wheelhouse says the Pitchford Inquiry should be extended to include any activity by the Met units in Scotland.

    Labour MSP Neil Findlay

    There has yet to be a response from the UK government to the request by the justice secretary so far, says the minister.

    Mr Wheelhouse says the use of undercover officers by Scottish police is very different to that elsewhere.

    Mr Findlay asks for evidence of that, Mr Wheelhouse responds by asking to be allowed to develop his point. 

  3. Minister not aware of evidence that Scottish officers authorised those involved

    Minister of Community Safety and Legal Affairs Paul Wheelhouse says he is not aware of evidence that Scottish officers have authorised those involved.

    Minister of Community Safety and Legal Affairs Paul Wheelhouse

    Scottish Labour MSP Neil Findlay intervenes to ask the minister to read the report from the constabulary saying Scottish officers may have provided authorisation and answer the point.  

  4. Background: Herald report on new chief constable

    According to a recent report in the Herald Police Scotland’s new chief constable led the Metropolitan police branch that controlled a notorious undercover unit whose officers had sex with their female targets.

    Phil Gormley was in charge of the Met’s Special Branch, which had responsibility for the disgraced Special Demonstration Squad (SDS).

    Scotland's new Chief Constable Phil Gormley
    Image caption: Scotland's new Chief Constable Phil Gormley

    The SDS’s activities are now central to a judge-led inquiry into undercover policing in England and Wales.

    MSP Graeme Pearson, former Director General of the Scottish Crime and Drug Enforcement Agency, called on the police chief to provide answers on any links he had to the SDS.

    Gormley, the former deputy director of the National Crime Agency, came out of retirement to secure the top job in Scottish policing and starts this week.

  5. Is Scotland's new chief constable involved?

    Independent MSP John Finnie says, in response to Neil Findlay's assertation that "this is the police" this is in fact an attack on the police and the state.

    The former senior police officer says there is a need for undercover officers and many carry out their job well.

    Independent MSP John Finnie

    Labour MSP Neil Findlay intevenes to clarify that he agrees these officers have undermined many hard-working, honest police officers.

    Mr Finnie resumes and goes on to ask if we have an officer involved in this in our midst given Herald reports about the new chief constable. 

  6. Background: Former undercover police officer Bob Lambert quits St Andrews University teaching post over outcry

    The Herald reported that an academic at a leading Scottish university, exposed as a former undercover police officer who had sex with his female targets, quit his post in December.

    Bob Lambert, who also fathered a child with a woman he was spying on, has left St Andrews University and another higher education body amid an outcry about his past.

    Bob Lambert

    Mr Lambert worked for the Metropolitan Police's Special Demonstration Squad (SDS) in the 1980s and was paid to infiltrate animal rights and environmental groups.  

  7. Background: The allegations that led to the Pitchford Inquiry

    • Some men had relationships with women who did not know their lover was an undercover police officer
    • At least 42 of 106 covert identities were the names of children who had died - but there could be more
    • Labour MPs, trade unionists and justice campaigns, such as anti-racism groups, were targeted
    Stephen Lawrence
    Image caption: Stephen Lawrence was murdered in south-east London in 1993
    • An officer was inside the "wider" Stephen Lawrence campaign - and briefed superiors as they campaigned against Scotland Yard failings and prepared their defence ahead of the public inquiry into his murder
    • Undercover officers were arrested alongside other campaigners - leading to claims of miscarriages of justice
    • Some 57 convictions have been quashed to date - and there could be more than 80 more
  8. This is "a horrific catalogue of abuse by the state in this country'

    Labour MSP Hugh Henry says this is "a horrific catalogue of abuse by the state in this country".

    Mr Henry says one of the victims is now working for an SNP MP and the minister should find out her experiences.

    Labour MSP Hugh Henry

    Community Safety Minister Paul Wheelhouse intervenes, saying he was concerned about being careful not to name people who cannot respond.

    Mr Henry says the individual openly came to a meeting at Holyrood and discussed her experiences.

  9. 'There needs to be an inquiry here in Scotland, otherwise Scottish people will be short changed'

    Lib Dem MSP Alison McInnes says the allegations against these police officers are extremely serious.

    Ms McInnes says the revelations have resulted in serious emotional trauma to those duped by police officers. 

    Lib Dem MSP Alison McInnes

    The Scottish Lib Dem justice spokesperson says this behaviour "threatens the very legitimacy of policing".

    She says she supports the call for the Scottish government to hold a similar inquiry to the Pitchford Inquiry.

    Ms McInnes says the Pitchford Inquiry is already underway, so "there needs to be an inquiry here in Scotland otherwise Scottish people will be short changed".

  10. Background: Pitchford Inquiry to expose conduct

    The public inquiry into undercover policing may "expose both creditable and discreditable conduct", chairman Lord Justice Pitchford has warned.

    The proceedings covering England and Wales  will be "the first time that undercover policing has been exposed to the rigour of public examination," he told a court.

    Mark Kennedy
    Image caption: Undercover officer Mark Kennedy infiltrated campaign groups

    Helen Steel, who had a relationship with an undercover officer, said police committed "human rights abuses".

    But police said undercover officers can play an important role.

    Lawyers investigating allegations for the Home Office say they have uncovered more than 80 possible miscarriages of justice relating to undercover policing.

    Investigations revealed officers had also had relationships with women while undercover, and had used the names of dead children.

  11. Shock at undercover operations ongoing in Scotland

    Scottish Labour MSP Elaine Murray says she is shocked these undercover operations have been ongoing in the 21st century in Scotland.

    Ms Murray says she observed the operations of an undercover police officer when she was younger and was in the Anti-Nazi league.

    Scottish Labour MSP Elaine Murray
    Image caption: Scottish Labour MSP Elaine Murray

    She said she was hit by a brick protesting against a march by the league.

    The Labour MSP says she remembers one man being the loudest amongst the demonstrators, subsequently getting into a police car in the front, an "agent provocateur". 

  12. 'Calls for a Scottish inquiry are premature'

    Scottish Conservative MSP Margaret Mitchell says the Pitchford Inquiry is a thorough and meticulous inquiry.

    The Central Scotland MSP says calls for a Scottish inquiry are premature, given the request to extend the remit to Scotland.

    Scottish Conservative MSP Margaret Mitchell

    Ms Mitchell says at the very least she would expect Police Scotland to monitor developments in England and Wales.   

  13. Women's lives were turned upside down

    Scottish Labour MSP Elaine Smith says the police have already apologised for wrongdoing in this instance.

    Ms Smith says operatives who have admitted wrongdoing have been active in Scotland.

    Labour MSP Elaine Smith
    Image caption: Labour MSP Elaine Smith

    The Coatbridge and Chryston MSP says the women's lives were turned upside down by these revelations and one woman even likened it to being "in a relationship with a ghost".

    She ends by saying the Pitchford Inquiry should be extended to Scotland. 

  14. The government should be open to the possibility of an independent inquiry

    SNP MSP Rod Campbell says given the actions of the Police G8 summit and the apology by the Met to women affected by undercover police officers' operations, the Pitchford Inquiry has rightly been launched by Theresa May.

    Mr Campbell says any evidence of wrongdoing in Scotland should be presented.

    SNP MSP Rod Campbell

    Mr Findlay says there are several court case and a child has been produced, saying there is extensive evidence in Scotland. 

    Rod Campbell says we don't know how undercover policing has been operating in Scotland. 

    He says the Scottish government should be open to the possibility of an independent inquiry if Pitchard is not extended. 

  15. If Pitchford cannot be extended then an inquiry should be launched

    Labour MSP Johann Lamont says she instinctively supports the police, so she has not come lightly to recognising the problem with policing.

    Ms Lamont says the behaviour of these undercover officers is hard to believe in its audacity and cruelty.

    Labour MSP Johann Lamont

    She says the state moved against miners in the 80s in a brutal way.

    The former Labour MSP says if Pitchford cannot be extended, then an inquiry into what the police may have done to innocent victims in Scotland must be launched. 

  16. Background: Covert police probe 'should be extended'

    The Scottish government called for the inquiry into the activities of undercover Metropolitan Police officers to be extended to Scotland last month. 

    The Pitchford Inquiry is to look at how undercover officers infiltrated political campaigns over 40 years. 

    Gleneagles G8 summit in 2005
    Image caption: There have been claims that undercover officers targeted protestors ahead of the Gleneagles G8 summit in 2005

    It has been claimed that some of the officers spied on activists ahead of the G8 summit at Gleneagles in 2005. 

    But the inquiry is only currently able to examine undercover operations in England and Wales. 

    Its remit states that the inquiry can "report on undercover police operations conducted by English and Welsh police forces in England and Wales since 1968".  

  17. Background: Met Police apology for women tricked into relationships

    The Metropolitan Police made an "unreserved apology" to seven women deceived into relationships with undercover officers in November. 

    The apology and an agreement to pay compensation covers sexual relationships conducted by five officers from two undercover units. 

    They took place over 25 years until the units were disbanded in 2008 and 2011. 

    One of the officers fathered children. 

    Helen Steel
    Image caption: Helen Steel was tricked by an officer who was using the identity of a dead child

    The women said the apology would "never make up for what we have endured". 

    Speaking on behalf of all seven women on Friday, two, Helen Steel and Belinda Harvey, said they expected more undercover relationships to come to light. 

    The other women's identities are protected and they are known as Rosa, Naomi, Lisa, Alison and Ruth. 

  18. Pitchford Inquiry does not cover Scotland

    Mr Findlay says police officers have taken the identity of a dead child, which is "nauseating and utterly corrupt".

    The Labour MSP praises Theresa May for launching the Pitchford Inquiry, but it does not cover Scotland.

    He says the justice secretary now wants Pitchford extended to include Scotland, which he "slipped out".

    The Lothians MSP says the cabinet secretary has not appeared for the debate, which is "sad".

    Mr Findlay asks if Pitchford is not extended, will the Scottish government launch its own inquiry in to this scandal. 

  19. Undercover police officers tactics 'abhorrent'

    Mr Findlay says only 12 undercover police officers have been exposed, half in Scotland.

    The most infamous has been Mark Kennedy, he says.

    Mark Kennedy
    Image caption: Mark Kennedy is said to have been among the undercover officers who targeted campaigners in Scotland

    He says these officers "did whatever they liked" and their "tactics were abhorrent".

    The Labour MSP says more than one officer had a child with a woman while pretending to be someone else.

    One victim described this as being "raped by the state".

  20. Many examples of the state machine conspiring with vested interests

    Labour MSP Neil Findlay says this debate's theme is class injustice. 

    Mr Findlay says the issue raised today gets to the heart of the principles of the criminal justice system. 

    Labour MSP Neil Findlay

    He asks do we have a criminal justice system that treats everyone the same? 

    The Lothian MSP says there are many example of the state machine conspiring with vested interests against ordinary people.