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  1. MSPs took evidence on Scotland's new social security system
  2. MSPs quizzed ministers during general questions
  3. Opposition party leaders quizzed Nicola Sturgeon during first minister's questions
  4. Education Secretary John Swinney gave MSPs an update on the Named Persons Scheme
  5. The Scottish government then led a debate entitled Scotland Welcomes 1,000 Refugees

Live Reporting

By Craig Hutchison and Colin Bell

All times stated are UK

That's all from Holyrood Live for this week

That brings to a close proceedings from the Parliament on the 8 September 2016.


We hope you all have a good weekend.

The Scottish government motion as amended is agreed to

Scottish government motion
Scottish Parliament
Scottish Greens motion
Scottish Parliament

MSPs vote on the Scottish government motion as amended by the Scottish Greens motion

Yes: 84  No: 33

The amended motion is therefore agreed to.

The Scottish Greens amendment is agreed

Scottish Greens amendment
Scottish Parliament

MSPs vote on the Scottish Greens amendment:

Yes: 84  No: 33

The amendment is therefore agreed to.

Scottish Labour amendment rejected

Scottish Labour amendment
Scottish Parliament

MSPs vote on the Scottish Labour amendment:

Yes: 21 No: 59 With 36 abstentions

The amendment is therefore rejected.

Scottish Conservative amendment rejected

Scottish Conservative amendment
Scottish Parliament

MSPs vote on the Scottish Conservative amendment:

Yes:  31  No: 86

The amendment is rejected.

Decision time begins

We now move to decision time, looking at the motion and amendments from the debate on refugees.

'We must respond first and foremost as human beings'

The communities secretary says no-one, absolutely no-one would choose to be a refugee.

Ms Constance says they all have had to leave their home, their family and their friends.

Angela Constance

She says we must respond first and foremost as human beings, quoting the first minister.

The cabinet secretary says she is not just calling on the UK government to do more she wants the Scottish government to do more too.

She says unaccompanied children face "unimaginable horrors" and says we must "pull together and do more".

Government not convinced of need for law to enshrine refugees' rights

Ms Constance agrees there must be comprehensive access to services for refugees and integration.

Refugees in class

However, she says the government is not convinced by the need for legislation as called for by Labour.

'This government stands ready to do more for refugees'

Ms Constance says there is £1m in funding from the Scottish government attached to the refugee summit that took place.


The communities secretary says immigration acts remain reserved and she can continue to write letters of concern to the UK government about issues like unaccompanied children from Europe, but she wants to be doing much more than writing letters.

"This government stands ready to do more for refugees and unaccompanied children in particular."

Government to back Green amendment

Communities Secretary Angela Constance says the government will support the Green amendment.

Communities Secretary Angela Constance

The Green amendment calls for the delivery and management of asylum support, accommodation and advice to be devolved to Scotland.

Tory MSP calls for better integration of refugees across UK

Conservative MSP Alexander Stewart
Conservative MSP Alexander Stewart

Conservative MSP Alexander Stewart acknowledges all the efforts across Scotland to welcome the 1,000 refugees.

Mr Stewart says there has been the opportunity for many refugees to integrate across Scotland but there have been alarm bells that some have not. 

The Tory MSP says the failure to integrate some refugees and their families must be taken on board by the Scottish and UK government.

He calls for the UK government to be commended for what it has done to help those impacted on by the Syrian refugee crisis.

Labour MSP says rights for refugees should be enshrined in law

Labour MSP Pauline McNeill says what Scottish local authorities have done is a credit to them.

Ms McNeill says so many Scottish groups and charities have sprung up and taken food and clothing to Calais to help refugees.

Labour MSP Pauline McNeill

The Labour MSP says she believes this has been the most extraordinary crisis in her lifetime and history will judge us all on what we do.

She says rights for refugees should be enshrined in law.

UK government should be using funds to help not to build walls - Scottish Greens MSP

Scottish Greens MSP Mark Ruskell says taking in over a third of refugees is something to be proud of. 

Mr Ruskell says the Westminster government should be concentrating funds on helping not building walls such as the one in Calais. 

Scottish Greens MSP Mark Ruskell

He says the action of accepting more refugees into Scotland must be accelerated. 

The Scottish Greens MSP says there are a number of organisations helping with refugee integration and they need training and support. 

Unfair to single out UK government to do more says Tory MSP

Tory MSP Graham Simpson
Tory MSP Graham Simpson

Scottish Conservative MSP Graham Simpson it is unfair to single out the UK government to do more because it is incumbent on everyone to do more.

Mr Simpson commends the UK government for doubling aid.

Background: Dungavel immigration detention centre to close

The controversial Dungavel Immigration Removal Centre in Lanarkshire is to be closed, the Home Office has announced.

The centre, near Strathaven, is set to close towards the end of 2017.

Dungavel Immigration Removal Centre

The Home Office said it would look to build a new short-term holding facility near Glasgow Airport.

Dungavel opened in 2001 and can hold up to 249 detainees. It is the only such centre in Scotland and has been the subject of numerous protests, which branded the site "racist and inhumane".

What is Dungavel?

'I just hear words, I see no action.'

SNP MSP Christine McKelvie says 1,000 refugees is a start but is only 0.02% of our population.

Ms McKelvie says refugees in Calais need "better care not higher walls".

She says all Westminster and Theresa May only seem willing to talk.

SNP MSP Christine McKelvie

The SNP MSP says: "I just hear words, I see no action."

Ms McKelvie says the UK has room for far more refugees. 

She says she was pleased to hear about the closure of Dungavel but was filled with horror a the short term detention scheme that will replace it. 

Labour MSP calls for a Refugee Integration Bill to enshrine the rights of refugees

Labour MSP Lewis Macdonald says later this month the UN will consider the scale of the displacement of refugees and the choice between bigger tables and smaller fences is not just for Scotland.

Labour MSP Lewis Macdonald

Mr Macdonald says there are restrictions around access to employment for refugees who have come here.

He says refugees seeking asylum are particularly vulnerable to the impact of this.

The Labour MSP calls for a Refugee Integration Bill to enshrine the rights of refugees. 

UK government only concerned with building a 'Trump-inspired wall'

SNP MSP Maree Todd says four families and 23 people became the first of the refugees to settle in the Highlands and they were given a warm Alness welcome.

Ms Todd says they were helped to decorate their homes, stock up on food and get around the local area.

SNP MSP Maree Todd

She says the people of Scotland are taking their responsibilities seriously by taking more than a third of all the UK's Syrian refugees.

"It is appalling that so many have died" when the UK could have taken more, she says. 

The SNP MSP says the UK government only seem concerned with building a "Trump-inspired wall" in Calais. 

Here's some more info on the 'language boost for refugees' announced by the minister

The Scottish government says Syrian refugees will be encouraged to share their cultures and practise English with their new neighbours through a pilot scheme aimed at helping them settle into Scottish communities.

Equalities Secretary Angela Constance confirmed £85,000 funding for the new scheme which will build on the English language training all Syrian refugees have received.

Syrian refugees

The pilot project, which will be trialled in four local authority areas, will bring together refugees with members of their new communities, to practice their English and swap information about their different cultures.

Volunteers will be able to help refugees learn more about local life by involving them in walking groups, coffee mornings, choirs or through sports activities.

Wafa Shaheen, Head of Refugee Integration Services, Scottish Refugee Council said:

“We know that refugees arriving in Scotland really want to meet and build friendships with local Scots as well as improve and practise the English that they learn in the classroom. This new pilot project helps them do that."

The funding is part of the £1 million allocated to support Syrian refugees in Scotland.

Now it's official!!!

'1,000 is just a drop in the ocean of misery and desperation'

Scottish Green MSP Ross Greer says the government motion quite rightly congratulates everyone who has welcomed 1,000 refugees from Syria.

Scottish Green MSP Ross Greer

Mr Greer says: "Scotland's response has so far and in so many ways been exemplary."

He says the problem is the low number of people who have been taken in, "1,000 is just a drop in the ocean of misery and desperation".

The barrier to taking more is the Westminster government he says. 

Scottish Green's amendment

Here's the Scottish Greens' Europe and external affairs spokesperson Ross Greer's amendment: 

Greens amendment
Scottish Parliament

Background: Calais migrants: Work to start on UK-funded wall

Construction of a UK-funded wall near Calais' so-called Jungle migrant camp will begin soon, the Home Office says.

Dubbed the "Great Wall of Calais" by some media, the 4m (13ft) wall will run for 1km (0.6 miles) along both sides of the main road to Calais port.

Road hauliers called the wall a "poor use" of public money.

Getty Images
Fences have already been built along much of the main road to the port

Home Secretary Amber Rudd told MPs that while the UK provided money to help secure Calais, it was up to the French to decide which measures to use.

Work is expected to start this month, with the wall due to be finished by the end of the year.

Numerous fences have been built to protect the port, the Eurotunnel terminal and train tracks on the other side of Calais, and the BBC understands the wall will not replace any of those.

'Jungle in Calais the worst' says Labour MSP

Ms McNeill says she has visited many refugee camps in the last decade but the worst she hasseen the Jungle in Calais.

Labour call for rights to be enshrined

Labour MSP Pauline McNeill speaks to Alex Rowley's amendment.

Labour MSP Pauline McNeill

Ms McNeill calls on the rights of refugees to access services and international standards for integration in be enshrined in law.

Scottish Labour amendment

Here's Scottish Labour's community, social security and equalities spokesperson Alex Rowley's amendment.

Labour amendment
Scottish Parliament

SNP MSP calls for return of unaccompanied children to be expedited

SNP MSP Gillian Martin calls on Jackson Carlaw to expedite the return of unaccompanied children to their families.

SNP MSP Gillian Martin

Mr Carlaw says the Home Office remains in discussions with UNCHR and European governments to achieve this.

Tory MSP says UK government taking 20,000 refugees

Mr Carlaw praises the volunteers, third sector agencies and local agencies for their help in settling the 1,000 refugees.

syrian child rescued from a dinghy

The Scottish Conservative says the UK government has sourced suitable accommodation for 20,000 refugees.

Mr Carlaw says the UK government is giving £2.3bn to the crisis.

He says this is 15 times greater than France.

Scottish Conservative praises contribution of refugees

Scottish Conservative MSP Jackson Carlaw challenges both the Scottish and UK government's to do more.

Scottish Conservative MSP Jackson Carlaw

Mr Carlaw highlights the contribution of Jewish refugees who came to Scotland and his constituency.

He then praises the Polish and Ugandan refugees who came thereafter.

The Tory MSP says: "Scotland will always gladly share our load and make a success of it."

Scottish Conservative amendment

Here's the Scottish Conservative's external affairs spokesman Jackson Carlaw's amendment:

Tory amendment
Scottish Parliament

Communities minister urges the UK to prioritise unaccompanied children

Ms Constance says the is working with the Red Cross to find out how many unaccompanied children have family in Scotland.

She says Scotland is well equipped to help.

Angela Constance

The communities minister urges the UK to prioritise these children, particularly those in Calais.

She says she is delighted 1,000 refugees have settled in Scotland but accepts this is only a small number of what is needed.

The minister ends by calling for everyone to stand in solidarity with refugees.

Extension of visa time being considered by Home Office

Ms Constance says the Home Office is considering extending 30 day visas, after she wrote to them.

The arrival of refugees would not have been possible without refugee task force

Ms Constance says last November the first charter flight of Syrian refugees arrived in Glasgow and they were overjoyed to arrive in a safe country.

She says the arrival of over 1050 refugees in the first year could never have happened without the work of the refugee task force and other key stakeholders. 

Minister says it took a tragic photo to spark action

Ms Constance says it took the tragic photo of Alan Kurdi, the three-year-old boy who drowned a year ago as his family fled Syria, to bring about action across the globe.

Alan's lifeless body was captured in a series of images released by a Turkish news agency
Alan's lifeless body was captured in a series of images released by a Turkish news agency

New peer to peer English teaching pilot announced

Ms Constance announces £86,000 to pilot a new peer to peer education approach to teaching the English language.

Scale of suffering 'barely comprehensible'

Communities Secretary Angela Constance says Scotland has long been a country that has welcome refugees.

Angela Constance

Ms Constance says since 2001 Scotland has also received many asylum seekers.

She says the past 12 months have been a time of unprecedented change for refugees. 

"The scale of the suffering is barely comprehensible", she says. 

Scottish government motion for debate on refugees

Here is Communities, Social Security and Equalities Secretary Angela Constance's motion:

SNP motion
Scottish Government

Background: Scotland takes in 1,000th Syrian refugee

Scotland has taken in 1,000 Syrian refugees since a summit last year aimed at easing the international crisis.

The Scottish government said the milestone was reached after 120 new refugees arrived in Scotland in the past week.

A refugee charity thanked all of those involved in the "phenomenal response" to the new arrivals.

But it said the number taken in was "tiny compared with the people in desperate need".

Refugees who settle in Scotland are given help to learn English

Last September's summit was attended by representatives of all Holyrood's political parties as well as dozens of interested organisations.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said at the time that Scotland should accept 1,000 refugees "as a starting point for a meaningful discussion".

She also established a taskforce with a £1m budget to co-ordinate Scotland's practical response to the crisis, which has seen tens of thousands of people apply for asylum in the UK.

MSPs will now participate in a debate entitled 'Scotland Welcomes 1,000 Refugees'

Communities Secretary Angela Constance will now lead a debate entitled 'Scotland Welcomes 1,000 Refugees'