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Summary

  1. PLEASE SCROLL DOWN FOR FULL TEXT COVERAGE
  2. MSPs took evidence on the Scottish Transgender Alliance and the Equal Recognition Campaign
  3. Issues around inpatient facilities for mental health patients, Scotland's Schools for the Future programme and the Scottish Strategy for Autism were raised during general questions
  4. Nicola Sturgeon was quizzed by opposition MSPs during First Minister's Questions
  5. Scottish Labour MSP Iain Gray led a debate entitled New Global Goals, Leave No One Behind
  6. MSPs debated the Carers (Scotland) Bill for the last time before passing it at decision time
  7. The Alcohol (Licensing, Public Health and Criminal Justice) (Scotland) Bill was then debated for the first time, but its general principles were not agreed to

Live Reporting

By Craig Hutchison and Colin Bell

All times stated are UK

That concludes Holyrood Live's coverage of the Scottish Parliament this week

That concludes Holyrood Live's coverage of the Scottish Parliament on 4 February 2016.

Scottish Parliament at night
bbc

We'll be back next Tuesday with further coverage of Holyrood.

Until then have a lovely, peaceful weekend. 

MSPs unanimously pass the Carers (Scotland) Bill

MSPs unanimously pass the Carers (Scotland) Bill.

Health and Improvement Minister Jamie Hepburn
BBC
Health and Improvement Minister Jamie Hepburn

The general principles of the Alcohol (Licensing, Public Health and Criminal Justice) (Scotland) Bill were not agreed to.

Dr Richard Simpson
BBC
Labour MSP Richard Simpson

36 MSPs backed the bill, but 59 voted against it. There were 12 abstentions.

Dr Simpson says there needs to be an update of the alcohol framework

The Labour MSP says there is no longer much underage purchasing of alcohol, but there remains the problem of proxy purchasing.

Dr Simpson says that was why he included the proposal of container marking in off-sales to help trace back underage drinkers source.

Empty alcohol bottles
BBC

He welcomes the expert group looking at alcohol advertising and sponsorship.

The Labour MSP says the small step of banning billboard advertising could have been taken.

Dr Simpson says there needs to be an update of the alcohol framework.

Time for debate on bill 'very disappointing' says Dr Simpson

Dr Richard Simpson says the short time for this debate is very disappointing.

The Labour MSP says he agrees with Jackson Carlaw, there has not been much debate in this parliament on alcohol.

Dr Richard Simpson
BBC

He says Scotland has a much higher rate of death and alcohol consumption than other European countries.

The Labour MSP says the measures in his bill are small measures that would allow a debate on these issues. 

Minister says excessive alcohol consumption must be tackled

The minister highlights the measures in the government's alcohol framework.

Ms Watt says the evidence on caffeine in alcohol is highly variable.

Man carrying tray of alcohol
BBC

The public health minister says focusing on one product misses the real problem of excessive consumption.

She concludes saying the government welcomes the intent of the bill but she is not convinced this is the way to go about it.

No silver bullet to tackle misuse of alcohol in our scoiety - Minister

Public Health Minister Maureen Watt says there is no silver bullet for tackling Scotland's relationship with alcohol.

Maureen Watt
BBC

She says while alcohol deaths are a huge concern, there is the fastest reduction in death rates in the UK at the moment.

Dr Simpson intervenes to say he has huge concerns about the budget where the alcohol and drug partnerships budgets are being cut.

Dr Richard Simpson
BBC

Ms Watt says the health boards can make up that funding so the APDs will not see a reduction in funding.

Great shame government is pushing back on Alcohol Bill - Labour MSP

Labour MSP Jenny Marra says the government has put all its eggs in one basket hoping national minimum pricing would fix everything.

Ms Marra says Dr Simpson has spent many years on his bill and it is a great shame the government is pushing back on his legislation.

Jenny Marra
BBC

The Labour MSP says it is deeply regretful the government was unable to look at this bill, with ten measures, and seen the ones which could have been pursued.

She says this is not the last the Scottish Parliament will hear from the Labour party on alcohol advertising.

Tory MSP calls for a 'zealous, evangelical approach' to tackling Scotland's relationship with alcohol

Conservative MSP Jackson Carlaw says his party does not doubt Richard Simpson's commitment to tackling this issue.

Conservative MSP Jackson Carlaw
BBC

Mr Carlaw says he regrets the evidence is mixed in relation to the proposals he has made and the route forward will have to be through the government's alcohol framework.

He says the government has not led from the front on this issue, he calls for the zealous, evangelical approach that the SNP brought to independence to bear on changing Scotland's relationship with alcohol.

SNP MSP says there should be no advertising of alcohol on TV

SNP MSP Christian Allard says he is standing in for Bob Doris, whose has just had a son called Cameron.

Mr Allard congratulates Mr Doris and his wife, before beginning the substance of his speech.

SNP MSP Christian Allard
bbc
SNP MSP Christian Allard

The SNP MSP says there should be no advertising of alcohol on TV.

"We are a nation of drunks and that is what we must accept."

Tory MSPs will abstain at decision time

Conservative MSP Nanette Milne says she is pleased Dr Simpson agreed to remove the provision in the bill that would have seen the police consulting GPs when a person was involved in an offence where alcohol was involved.

Ms Milne says she agrees that the regulation of alcohol sponsorship in football should be looked at.  

Conservative MSP Nanette Milne
BBC

The Tory MSP says she cannot agree with the provision that would see those involved in an alcohol related offence being banned from all licensed premises.

She says her party will abstain at decision time. 

Labour MSP disappointed government will not back bill's general principles

Labour MSP Graeme Pearson says he is disappointed the government will not back the general principles of the bill to allow the legislation to move on to Stage 2.

Labour MSP Graeme Pearson
BBC

That would have allowed the bill to be developed and improved he says.

The former senior policeman says 20 people still die every week due to alcohol.

Mr Pearson says we are losing people each year as we try to decide what to do next. 

Public Health Minister will not support the bill

Public Health Minister Maureen Watt says some of Dr Simpson's measures will be listened to such as alcohol awareness training.

Ms Watt says the government feel strategies would be better rolled out via their alcohol framework and that she won't support the bill at this stage. 

Background: Minimum alcohol pricing plan 'may breach EU law'

A European court has said the Scottish government's case for a minimum unit price for alcohol is contrary to EU law if other tax options exist.

The European Court of Justice ruling instead recommends the introduction of alternative tax measures.

The Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) and First Minister Nicola Sturgeon have both welcomed the ruling.

The legislation to bring in a minimum price of 50p per unit was passed by the Scottish Parliament in May 2012
thinkstock
The legislation to bring in a minimum price of 50p per unit was passed by the Scottish Parliament in May 2012

The legislation to bring in a minimum price of 50p per unit was passed by the Scottish Parliament in May 2012.

A legal challenge was brought by the SWA, which argued the Scottish government's legislation breached European law.

The European court ruling said: "The Court of Justice considers that the effect of the Scottish legislation is significantly to restrict the market, and this might be avoided by the introduction of a tax measure designed to increase the price of alcohol instead of a measure imposing a minimum price per unit of alcohol."

Continued push for minimum pricing

The government will continue to push for minimum pricing says the public health minister.

She says tackling alcohol related harm has the potential to help address health inequalities.

Network of experts looking at alcohol advertising and sponsorship

Ms Watt says advertising is one of the key areas for tackling alcohol harm.

That's why the government has formed a network of experts to look at alcohol advertising and sponsorship.

Brad and Dan from the Foster's adverts were recognised by 10-year-olds
bbc
Brad and Dan from the Foster's adverts were recognised by 10-year-olds

The minister says the network will feedback after the Holyrood election.   

Campaigners have been calling for action to make sure children are not regularly exposed to alcohol adverts.

Alcohol Focus Scotland said current codes were failing to prevent under-18s from absorbing alcohol messages on TV, online and in the cinema.

Government does not back general principles of the bill

Public Health Minister Maureen Watt says the government does not wish to see this bill progress to Stage 2.

Public Health Minister Maureen Watt
BBC

Ms Watt says the government has taken considerable work through its alcohol framework. 

She says the framework is well regarded by those working in the field here and internationally. 

Background: Health Committee's findings on the bill

The Health Committee says it understands the objective of the Bill is to promote public health and reduce alcohol related offending. 

The committee believes that Scotland‘s relationship with alcohol must continue to be tackled to reduce its high alcohol consumption rates and its resulting detrimental impact on antisocial behaviour and people‘s health. 

Alcohol bill report by the Health and Sport Committee
BBC

The committee has considered in detail each of the ten key provisions within this Bill. 

A majority of the committee is not persuaded that the Bill is an effective and workable package of measures to tackle alcohol misuse. 

The majority of the committee believe that the Scottish government‘s forthcoming updated alcohol strategy offers a more effective route to consider changes to alcohol policy. 

As a result the majority of the committee does not support the general principles of the Bill. 

Call for a review of alcohol advertising and sponsorship

Mr McNeil says the committee agrees there should be a review of alcohol advertising and sponsorship.

The Labour MSP says concludes saying the demon drink remains an ongoing issue and the majority of the committee could not support the detail of the bill, but back its intent. 

Majority of health committee does not support general principles of the Alcohol Bill

Duncan McNeil says the majority of the health committee does not support the general principles of the Alcohol (Licensing, Public Health and Criminal Justice) (Scotland) Bill.

Duncan McNeil
BBC

A minority backed the general principles of the bill.

The committee unanimously agreed that the Scottish government should look at all of the measures in the bill as part of its strategy on alcohol.  

Oh thou demon Drink!

Health Committee convener Duncan McNeil begins with some verse:

Oh, thou demon Drink, thou fell destroyer;Thou curse of society, and its greatest annoyer.What hast thou done to society, let me think?I answer thou hast caused the most of ills, thou demon Drink.  

William McGonagall
bbc
William McGonagall