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Live Reporting

By Louise Wilson and Craig Hutchison

All times stated are UK

  1. That's all from Holyrood Live

    Shirley-Ann Somerville

    That's all from Holyrood Live on Thursday 20 June 2019.

    The Scottish government is to press ahead with plans to reform gender recognition laws by removing the requirement to provide medical evidence.

    However, in recognition of concerns raised by some women's group, it has announced it will bring forward a draft bill for consultation.

    The draft bill is expected to propose a move to a system of self-identification, whereby applicants must make a solemn declaration that they intend to live in their acquired gender permanently.

    Some campaigners have expressed concern that this system will be open to abuse by men who could falsely declare a change in gender.

    But Shirley-Ann Somerville confirmed the proposal would make it an offence to make a false statutory declaration.

  2. BreakingMSPs pass the Planning (Scotland) Bill

    Falkirk kelpies being built
    Image caption: Falkirk kelpies being built

    MSPs pass the Planning (Scotland) Bill, with 78 MSPs backing it and with 26 MSPs against.

    Mr Stewart clapping
  3. Planning Bill - Stage 3 closing speeches

    Monica Lennon, Kevin Stewart and Adam Tomkins
    Image caption: Monica Lennon, Kevin Stewart and Adam Tomkins

    Monica Lennon, closing for Labour, says it is with great disappointment she has to say her party cannot support the Planning Bill, citing communities' disappointment with it.

    Tory MSP Adam Tomkins disagrees, saying the job of the planning system is to facilitate growth and welcoming the work between his party and the government on improving this bill.

    Planning Minister Kevin Stewart insists the bill will increase community engagement with the planning process and calls on MSPs to pass it.

  4. These reforms will create an effective planning system insists convener

    Local government committee convener James Dornan

    Local government committee convener James Dornan says the committee considered 394 amendments over seven sessions at stage 2.

    What emerged was a "rather different beast" from what was initially lodged, he says.

    These reforms will create an effective planning system by strengthening and simplifying it, he concludes.

  5. 'It is bad legislation'

    Alex Cole-Hamilton
    Image caption: Alex Cole-Hamilton

    Alex Cole-Hamilton says the Lib Dems were the only ones to oppose the Planning Bill at Stage 1 and he welcomes the opposition now from the Greens and Labour.

    "It is bad legislation," he says succinctly.

    It relegates local councils to the role of mere consultees, says Mr Cole-Hamilton.

    In terms of rights to appeal, he says this is the needle going back to the start of the song with no improvement for communities.

    We have missed a trick in not using this bill to properly regulate short-term lets which is hollowing out cities like Edinburgh, he adds.

  6. Bill 'corrupted' by private money says Green MSP

    Green MSP Andy Wightman says powerful, private money has corrupted the public interest.

    In particular, he criticises the sections on appeal rights arguing that there should instead be no right to appeal at all and proper consideration should stand as the final word.

    Green MSP Andy Wightman

    Had I been planning minister, Mr Wightman ventures, I would have:

    • convened cross-party roundtable talks on reforms
    • introduced a consolidation bill rather than an amending bill which has proven difficult for the electorate to follow
    • set out the vision and principles underpinning the bill
    • sought to maintain cross-party consensus throughout the process

    The Green MSP confirms his party will vote against the bill tonight.

  7. Scottish Labour will vote against 'unambitious' Planning Bill

    Labour MSP Alex Rowley
    Image caption: Labour MSP Alex Rowley

    Labour MSP Alex Rowley begins saying a lack of cash for schools and health centres is a block to house building that this bill does not address.

    Mr Rowley adds the bill does not improve community engagement or offer environmental protections, nor does it address the impact of short-term lets on communities.

    He says Scottish Labour will be voting against this bill as it is a missed opportunity to deliver real change to the planning system of Scotland.

    This bill is unambitious and the approach has been essentially business as usual by the SNP and Tories, who blocked amendments that would have made the system fairer for all through the equal right to appeal.

    "This bill has become an SNP Tory stitch-up," he says.

  8. 'I commend this Tory-style bill to the chamber'

    Tory MSP Graham Simpson

    Tory MSP Graham Simpson begins: "So, here we are, at the end of the road."

    He notes the Planning Bill has been the most amended bill in the history of the Scottish Parliament.

    The MSP praises the minister for working with him, and indeed other members, on the bill, adding he has no problem working with the government on areas they agree.

    He goes on to list to a range of amendments lodged by his colleagues which have been passed this week, including on the infrastructure levy, short-term lets and mediation

    "I commend this Tory-style bill to the chamber."

  9. 'We want folk empowered at the beginning of the process'

    Mr Stewart argues the government has built in opportunities to ensure everyone can engage in planning.

    Labour MSP Neil Findlay intervenes to ask if the minister agrees this bill does nothing to address the imbalance of power developers have over communities.

    The minister hits back: "I disagree with that totally and utterly."

    "We want folk empowered at the beginning of the process and to be heard at that point," he adds.

  10. 'Scotland needs a world class planning system'

    Local Government and Communities Minister Kevin Stewart
    Image caption: Local Government and Communities Minister Kevin Stewart

    Local Government and Communities Minister Kevin Stewart says he is delighted to have finally arrived at the final debate on the Planning (Scotland) Bill, after all the changes made throughout the process.

    "Scotland needs a world class planning system."

    He says planners should be able to focus less on procedures and more on places and people.

    Planning is an important but often controversial subject, but it is clear is can create inclusive economic growth and improve quality of life he says.

    Our places, our wellbeing and our economy depend on the health of our environment, says the minister.

  11. Stage 3 debate: Planning (Scotland) Bill

    Planning Bill

    After many, many Stage 3 amendments to the Planning (Scotland) Bill we finally reach the final debate on the legislation.

  12. 'All they want is a birth certificate that reflects who they are'

    Labour MSP Kezia Dugdale

    Labour MSP Kezia Dugdale says in the last few months her trans constituents have been under attack.

    "All they want is a birth certificate that reflects who they are."

    She asks about support to be given to trans people whose mental health is suffering as a result of the spotlight being put on the community.

    Ms Somerville reiterated a commitment to reform and agrees the debate has at times been "toxic".

    I hope as we move forward with the draft bill we will be able to move that debate into a different space, she adds.

    But I will continue to meet and discuss the needs of the trans community with stakeholders, she says.

  13. What is wrong with current school guidance on LGBT issues asks Tory MSP

    Tory MSP Jamie Greene

    Tory MSP Jamie Greene says this is not a question of supporting women or trans people, insisting it is possible to do both.

    Turning to plans to alter guidance given to schools on LGBT issues, he asks what is wrong with the current guidance.

    The cabinet secretary explains it goes back to people needing to have trust around policies and how they have been developed.

    The guidance was delivered in good faith but there have been concerns raised about it, she states.

    She says people were losing faith in the guidance as a result and it was either not being used or called into question.

  14. SNP MSP calls for a review of single sex exemptions

    SNP MSP Joan McAlpine says she hopes crime statistics will be reviewed.

    She says independent women's groups respect trans people's rights to live how they wish, but argues these proposals are about changing sex.

    Ms McAlpine asks if men with a history of violence should be allowed to change their legal sex and conceal their previous identity, and calls for a review of single sex exemptions which she claims are not working.

    SNP MSP Joan McAlpine

    Ms Somerville insists the government will not make any changes to the exemptions that are in place currently.

    The minister says you cannot take advantage of the current exemptions to hide a criminal offence.

    She says it is a criminal offence for a person to make a false statement in seeking a disclosure certificate.