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Summary

  1. PLEASE SCROLL DOWN FOR LIVE TEXT COVERAGE
  2. The Devolution (Further Powers) Committee took evidence on the controversial Trade Union Bill
  3. MSPs quizzed ministers during general questions
  4. Nicola Sturgeon fielded questions from opposition party leaders and backbench MSPs for the first time in 2016
  5. French-born MSP Christian Allard led a debate marking the one year anniversary of the Charlie Hebdo tragedy in Paris
  6. The afternoon was taken up by stage 1 proceedings for the Scottish Elections (Dates) Bill and the Lobbying (Scotland) Bill

Live Reporting

By Craig Hutchison and Colin Bell

All times stated are UK

  1. That's all from BBC Scotland's Holyrood Live for this week

    That's all from BBC Scotland's Holyrood Live for this week.

    Scottish Parliament

    We'll be back on Tuesday morning with the pick of the committees.

    Until then, have a lovely weekend. 

  2. MSPs unanimously back the general principles of the Lobbying (Scotland) Bill

    MSPs unanimously back the general principles of the Lobbying (Scotland) Bill and of the Scottish Elections (Dates) Bill.

    Chamber

    The presiding officer says today is a first as one minister has been responsible for two bills in one sitting.

    Tricia Marwick then adjourns the parliament until next week. 

  3. 'The ability for Civic Scotland to engage with this parliament is so very, very important'

    The minister says there has been a large amount of discussion about the inclusion of civil servants, with arguments from both sides.

    Mr Fitzpatrick says this issue will be considered very carefully, to ensure no barrier to engagement is created.

    Parliamentary Business Minister Joe Fitzpatrick

    He says: "The ability for Civic Scotland to engage with this parliament is so very, very important".

    The minister concludes by stressing the importance of lobbying in democracy and policy development.

  4. There are concerns the register and the regime could be a barrier to engagement

    Parliamentary Business Minister Joe Fitzpatrick says he understands Mr Findlay's frustration that this bill has taken so long to come to the chamber.

    Mr Fitzpatrick says the Standards Committtee's inquiry, instigated by the late Labour MSP Helen Eadie, had to be allowed to run its course.

    Helen Eadie
    Image caption: The late Helen Eadie instigated the inquiry into lobbying

    The minister says the danger engagement could be deterred and this must be guarded against.

    Mr Fitzpatrick says the bill will improve transparency at Holyrood.

    He says the reason for the register only having paid lobbyists on it, was to prevent grass-roots lobbyists shying away from engagement.

    The minister says there are concerns the register and the regime could be a barrier to engagement. 

  5. The bill does not go far enough - Scottish Labour

    Scottish Labour MSP Mary Fee says her party backs the general principles of the Lobbying Bill which are transparency, accountability and openness.

    However Ms Fee says: "The bill as currently drafted is in danger of making the situation worse not better."

    She says the bill only covers face to face lobbying, meaning there is a large amount of lobbying done on the phone or by e-mail that would be missed.

    Scottish Labour MSP Mary Fee

    "All forms of communications with MSPs, including telephones and e-mails,should be covered by the bill."

    Ms Fee says special advisers should be included with MSPs and ministers as individuals whose meetings should be included on the lobbying register..

    The remit of the bill should extend to include civil servants and special advisers.

  6. The real aim is to ensure transparency is maintained - Tory MSP

    Scottish Conservative MSP Cameron Buchanan says the debate has raised interesting points.

    Mr Buchanan says paperwork must be kept to a minimum.

    Scottish Conservative MSP Cameron Buchanan

    He says, since there has been no cash scandals with regards to lobbying, to include this in the bill panders to perceptions rather than reality.

    The Conservative MSP says the real aim is to ensure that transparency is maintained. 

  7. Openness and transparency the founding principles of Holyrood - SNP MSP

    SNP MSP Fiona McLeod says the founding principles of the Scottish Parliament were openness and transparency.

    Ms McLeod says there is no complacency just because no malpractice has been found at Holyrood.

    She says she is concerned the Lobbying (Scotland) Bill does not go too far and affect political participation.

    SNP MSP Fiona McLeod

    The SNP MSP warns that the SCVO are concerned about any reduction in political participation.

    Mr Findlay intervenes saying of the thousands of organisations the SCVO represents only 11 were against his original lobbying bill. 

    Ms McLeod reiterates her concerns about losing political engagement and confesses it was her who did no wish to extend the register beyond face to face meeting.

  8. Labour MSP Cara Hilton says the bill needs to be strengthened

    Labour MSP Cara Hilton says the bill needs to be strengthened and she welcomes the minister's declaration of having an open mind.

    Ms Hilton says with increasing public scrutiny and austerity, Scotland should be leading the way to ensure decisions made at Holyrood are as open and transparent as possible.

    Labour MSP Cara Hilton
    Image caption: Labour MSP Cara Hilton

    It is disappointing the bill falls short of the change that is needed says the Dunfermline MSP.

    Ms Hilton says she agrees with her colleague Mr Findlay that amendments will have to be brought at Stage 2 to strengthen the bill. 

  9. 'Must be very careful not to lose the strengths of Holyrood'

    SNP MSP George Adam says we need to be very careful we do not loose the many strengths Holyrood has in legislating for lobbying.

    Mr Adam says he knows he gets a hard time for taking such pride in Paisley and this bill may make it difficult for small businesses to contact him.

    SNP MSP George Adam
    Image caption: SNP MSP George Adam

    He says great pride is taken in the parliament's openness and that is worth preserving.

    Mr Findlay intervenes saying this is a good argument to have thresholds that would mean the register does not need to include the people Mr Adam is talking about.

    The SNP MSP says he is making the argument that he must be able to represent the people of Paisley and still have the flexibility to do that.

  10. The key provisions on lobbying must be set out in the bill

    Scottish Conservative MSP Cameron Buchanan says all the provisions of the bill must be clear to all and the indirect consequences understood.

    The key provisions must be set in the bill, says the Tory MSP.

    Conservative MSP Cameron Buchanan
    Image caption: Conservative MSP Cameron Buchanan

    He says lobbying is a crucial part of the system and accessibility to MSP by the public must not be reduced.

    Mr Buchanan says all manner of organisations and people can and should be able to contact their representatives.

    He says the lobbying register must show a light touch. 

  11. The bill 'is a bit of a mess' - Labour MSP

    Scottish Labour MSP Neil Findlay says it pains him to say that even the UK government recognise written lobbying.

    Mr Findlay says he's sure the minister does not want to be behind the "dogs dinner" that is the UK's lobbying legislation.

    Chamber

    He says thresholds are required in the bill because of the varying difference lobbying spend. 

    Mr Findlay says the reality is that the bill has a lot of flaws in it and some of it is a bit of a mess and if it's to work it needs serious amendment and at stage two his party intend to bring forward many of those amendments. 

  12. Background: Are you a Luddite?

    They burned down mills in the name of a mythical character called Ludd. 

    So 200 years after their most famous battle, why are we still peppering conversations with the word

    It's a popular retort to someone struggling to operate their new smartphone or refusing to buy the latest gizmo: "You're such a Luddite."

    ludd

    There is another word for it - technophobe - but it doesn't convey the same sense of irrational hostility to the modern world. So where did "Luddite" come from?

    In the midst of the British industrial revolution, skilled textile workers feared for their jobs. An uprising began in 1811 when Nottinghamshire weavers attacked the new automated looms that were replacing them.

  13. Labour MSP glad minister is not a Luddite

    Mr Findlay says the bill is in need of radical amendment to address its major flaws.

    The Labour MSP asks if the government thinks we live in the 19th century and modern communications do not exist. 

    Joe Fitzpatrick and Neil Findlay clash over communications
    Image caption: Joe Fitzpatrick and Neil Findlay clash over communications

    He says there are "new fangled gimmics like the telephone and e-mail" and other modern communications.

    Mr Fitzpatrick says no-one is suggesting that modern communications do not exist.

    Mr Findlay says he is glad the minister has confirmed he is not a Luddite.

  14. As powers come lobbying activity has increased

    Mr Findlay says lobbyists regularly spend large amounts of time and money to get what they want.

    He says the public has a right to know about lobbying.

    The Labour MSP says this bill is timely and appropriate with new powers coming to Holyrood.

    He says as powers come lobbying activity has increased. 

  15. 'Lobbying is a good thing' - Labour MSP

    Labour MSP Neil Findlay says this debate has been a long time coming, as he submitted his lobbying bill in July 2012.

    Mr Findlay says his party will support the principles of the Lobbying Bill at decision time.

    He says lobbying is a good thing.

    Labour MSP Neil Findlay

    The workings of this parliament and the way lobbying occurs must be transparent, says Mr Findlay.

    This is especially true as the public's faith is not high after the expenses scandal and cash for questions, he says.

    The Labour MSP says thankfully Holyrood has not had these scandals. 

  16. Benefits of opening the bill to all forms of communication

    Standards, Procedures and Public Appointments Committee convener Stewart Stevenson says he is aware of the danger of creating barriers to engagement with MSPs .

    The SNP MSP says there needs to be clear channels for MSPs and constituents to communicate with one another.

    Mr Stevenson says thinking about this further, he can see the benefits of opening the bill to all forms of communication.   

    Standards, Procedures and Public Appointments Committee convener Stewart Stevenson
    Image caption: Standards, Procedures and Public Appointments Committee convener Stewart Stevenson

    He says this must be tested to see if it inhibits communication between MSPs and constituents. 

    Mr Stevenson says a common sense approach must be adopted and that every email  or phone call would not have to be registered.

    He calls on the government to look into extending the register beyond face to face meetings and the possible impacts of so doing. 

  17. Minister calls for MSPs to back the general principles of the Lobbying (Scotland) Bill

    Mr Fitzpatrick calls on the parliament to back the general principles of the Lobbying (Scotland) Bill.

  18. Minister stresses face to face meetings are the most important

    Mr Fitzpatrick stresses the government is keeping an open mind on this issue.

    The minister asks what is the most significant type of lobbying and answers himself by saying the most significant type is face to face

    Labour MSP Neil Findlay asks if more time is spent face to face or with other communications.

    Joe Fitzpatrick

    Mr Fitzpatrick says he would have to look at his diary, but stresses again that face to face meetings are the most important.

    He stresses the government is keeping an open mind. 

  19. Government will keep an open mind on extending the bill

    Parliamentary Business Minister Joe Fitzpatrick says the committee's agreement to the lobbying points is welcome.

    Mr Fitzpatick says the government will keep an open mind in terms of considering communication of any kind and therefore adjusting it to include emails and telephone calls rather than only face to face. 

    He adds that the government is currently unsure of the merits of this. 

  20. Background: Lobbying Bill a 'travesty'

    The Standards Committee, which in principle endorsed the government's plans, contained in the Lobbying Bill, also recommended the Scottish government consider broadening the definition of regulated lobbying to include communications with public officials other than ministers and MSPs. 

    The Scottish government welcomed the committee's endorsement, and said it would look carefully at its recommendations. 

    Labour MSP Neil Findlay, who took forward a Members' Bill on lobbying that prompted ministers to introduce their own plans, spoke to the committee. 

    He said: "The bill is a bit of a travesty from what I put forward. 

    "I think a lot of it bears little resemblance to what was agreed to be taken on by the government and I think if you look at some glaring examples the bill appears to be living in the 18th or 19th century and hasn't realised that the telephone and the computer have been invented, that we do things like conference calls and the like."