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Summary

  1. The Rural Economy Committee will take evidence from representatives of the fishing industry on the impact of Brexit
  2. Health and sport ministers take this week's portfolio questions
  3. MSPs debate the Europe Committee reports on the implications of Brexit
  4. The member’s debate in the evening comes from SNP MSP Stuart McMillan and focuses on Commonwealth Day 2017

Live Reporting

By Colin Bell and Craig Hutchison

All times stated are UK

  1. Goodnight from the Holyrood live team

    Holyrood night

    That brings to an end our coverage of the Scottish Parliament on Wednesday 15 March 2017. 

    We'll be back tomorrow.

    Have a good night. 

  2. Peace-building is the theme for Commonwealth Day 2017

    The Commonwealth
    Image caption: The Commonwealth

    International Development Minister Alasdair Allan says we live in somewhat uncertain times and it becomes even more important to maintain and strengthen relationships with Commonwealth countries.

    "Scotland remains as passionate as ever about being a member of the Commonwealth."

    Peace-building is the theme for Commonwealth Day 2017.

  3. Minister says there are many benefits of membership of the Commonwealth

    International Development Minister Alasdair Allan
    Image caption: International Development Minister Alasdair Allan

    International Development Minister Alasdair Allan welcomes  7th Secretary-General of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA), Mr Akbar Khan, to the gallery.

    Mr Allan says the Scottish government is doing everything in its power to protect the Human Rights Act.

    The minister says there are many benefits of membership of the Commonwealth.

    He says the 2014 Games in Glasgow allowed ministers to actively promote human rights and put them at the heart of the games.

  4. Background: The Commonwealth work

    Commonwealth Day

    Commonwealth  organisations  are involved in diverse activities, from helping countries with trade negotiations to encouraging women’s leadership, building the small business sector, supporting youth participation at all levels of society and providing experts to write laws.

    The  Commonwealth Secretariat  promotes democracy, rule of law, human rights, good governance and social and economic development. We are a voice for small states and a champion for youth empowerment. 

    The  Commonwealth Fund for Technical Co-operation  (CFTC) was set-up in 1971 and is the principal means for the Commonwealth Secretariat to provide technical assistance to Commonwealth countries. Our approach emphasises country ownership by delivering technical assistance on a demand-driven basis.

  5. 'Real sheer joy of the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, the friendly games'

    
          Usain Bolt of Jamaica signs autographs after winning gold in the 4x100m relay at Glasgow 2014
    Image caption: Usain Bolt of Jamaica signs autographs after winning gold in the 4x100m relay at Glasgow 2014

    Labour MSP Johann Lamont highlighted the "real sheer joy of the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, the friendly games."

    Ms Lamont says the theme of a peace building Commonwealth could not be more timely.

    She says:"Can we be free as a country if anyone of us is not safe in our own homes."

    Labour MSP Johann Lamont
    Image caption: Labour MSP Johann Lamont

    The Labour MSP says the scale of the Commonwealth is massive and it speaks to the best in our international ability to co-operate.

    She says the Commonwealth is not a trading block but it is a voluntary Commonwealth of its people and is "utterly relevant in these times now".

  6. The Commonwealth allows the building of bridges says SNP MSP

    SNP MSP Kenneth Gibson
    Image caption: SNP MSP Kenneth Gibson

    SNP MSP Kenneth Gibson says everyone recalls the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow fondly where Scotland competed in its own right, unlike the Olympics.

    Mr Gibson says each member of the Commonwealth can withdraw without facing sanctions.

    He says the Commonwealth allows the building of bridges from the smallest to the largest member.

    The SNP MSP praises the Scottish - Malawi partnership.

  7. The theme this year is for a peace building Commonwealth

    Conservative MSP Margaret Mitchell
    Image caption: Conservative MSP Margaret Mitchell

    Conservative MSP Margaret Mitchell says the theme this year is for a peace building Commonwealth.

    Ms Mitchell says democracy, human rights and the rule of law unite the Commonwealth.

    She welcomes Akbar Khan to the gallery. 

  8. Commonwealth Day highlights

    • The 52 countries of the Commonwealth celebrate Commonwealth Day 
    • 2017 marks 40 years since Commonwealth Day became a global celebration marked on the same day every year: on the second Monday in March 
    • Schools will take part in a global online debate as part of Commonwealth Class, an initiative of the Commonwealth Secretariat and British Council. 
  9. Commonwealth Parliamentary Association secretary-general Akbar Khan is in the gallery

    Mr Akbar Khan in the gallery
    Image caption: Mr Akbar Khan in the gallery

    The 7th Secretary-General of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA), Mr Akbar Khan, is in the gallery for the debate.The CPA is one of the oldest established organisations in the Commonwealth. Founded in 1911, it is a membership association which brings together Members, irrespective of gender, race, religion or culture, who are united by community of interest, respect for the rule of law and individual rights and freedoms, and by the pursuit of the positive ideals of parliamentary democracy. 

    The Association is made up of over 180 Branches across the nine regions of the Commonwealth. It offers a vast opportunity for Parliamentarians and parliamentary staff to collaborate on issues of mutual interest and to share good practice. Mr Akbar Khan was appointed by the 61st General Assembly of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) in October 2015 and he took up his post in January 2016. 

  10. The Commonwealth's commitment to its values helps to give it an important role in today's society.

    SNP MSP Stuart McMillan
    Image caption: SNP MSP Stuart McMillan

    SNP MSP Stuart McMillan says Monday of this week was Commonwealth Day and it was marked across the globe.

    Mr McMillan says the strength of the Commonwealth's commitment to its values helps to give it an important role in today's society.

    He says  of the 2.4bn people in the Commonwealth, 60% of those are young people.

  11. Inclusive Commonwealth is this year's theme

    Launch of the Queen's Baton relay at Buckingham Palace
    Image caption: Launch of the Queen's Baton relay at Buckingham Palace

    Mr McMillan says that, at a time of increasing instability and uncertainty in the world, the Commonwealth family of nations in its rich diversity becomes an ever more needed source of strength and hope for all its members.

    The SNP MSP says that the theme of an Inclusive Commonwealth highlights the values of tolerance, respect and understanding, as well as equity and fairness, set out in the Commonwealth Charter.

  12. Commonwealth Day 2017

    Commonwealth Day

    SNP MSP Stuart McMillan uses his motion to highlight the importance of Commonwealth Day 2017.

    Mr McMillan says that Commonwealth Day is an opportunity for the Parliament to focus beyond Scotland's borders and draw attention to the connections it has made across the globe.

    The SNP MSP syas that Commonwealth Day is held on the second Monday in March each year.

    He says the day is an opportunity for individuals, communities and organisations to promote the Commonwealth’s shared values of peace, democracy and equality, and to celebrate the association’s rich diversity.

  13. Commonwealth Day 2017 debate

    SNP MSP Stuart McMillan will now lead a member's debate on Commonwealth Day 2017. 

    Here is Mr McMillan's motion.

    Motion
  14. The Europe Committee motion is agreed unanimously

    The Europe Committee motion is agreed unanimously

    Europe Committee motion
  15. Decision time

    We now move to decision time. 

  16. A future trade deal will clearly not be agreed within the two years - Labour MSP

    Mr Macdonald says a future trade deal will clearly not be agreed within the two years. 

    The Europe Committee deputy convener says the committee concluded that any powers coming back from Brussels should be devolved. 

    He says a means should be found to involve the Scottish government in future trade deal negotiations.

    "These reports have not sought to lay down red lines," he says. 

  17. A majority view of the committee was that a differentiated solution could be achieved for Scotland

    Labour MSP and deputy Europe Committee convener Lewis Macdonald says some of the reports recommendations have already been overtaken by events in some respects.

    Mr Macdonald says the committee said a bespoke solution for Scotland to remain in the single market should be explored before and after the triggering of Article 50.

    
          Labour MSP and deputy Europe Committee convener Lewis Macdonald
    Image caption: Labour MSP and deputy Europe Committee convener Lewis Macdonald

    A majority view was that a differentiated solution could be achieved for Scotland, he says.

    Mr Macdonald says it is important to note the committee welcomed the intensification of discussions between officials on the Scottish government proposals.

    He says it called on UK government minister to respond to the proposals before triggering of Article 50.

    The committee called for the UK government and the Scottish government to work together.