Scotland politics

Week ahead at Holyrood: No Brexit business this week

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Image caption MSPs begin their inquiry into hospital safety on Tuesday

As Westminster waits to see if Theresa May's plan is bought back to be voted on for a third time in the coming days, Holyrood returns to business as usual, with no Brexit business scheduled in the chamber this week.

MSPs will debate a variety of topics, from the Damages Bill to education and transport, although it's almost certain Brexit will be raised in some guise during first minister's questions.

So what else is happening in the Scottish Parliament this week?

Tuesday - Hospital safety

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Image caption Fungal infections have occurred at the QEUH recently leading to the deaths of three patients

MSPs begin their inquiry into hospital safety following the deaths of two patients from an infection linked to pigeon droppings.

Prosecutors are now investigating the death of a third patient at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital.

Mito Kaur, 63, was one of two patients affected by a fungal infection, Mucor, at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital.

Two other patients died after contracting a separate fungal infection linked to pigeon droppings.

An inspection of the hospital raised concerns about levels of cleanliness.

MSPs will ask topical questions on Scottish government reassurance to communities in the wake of the Christchurch terrorist attack and new jobs at the Pinneys plant in Annan.

In the afternoon, MSPs will debate the Damages (Investment Returns and Periodical Payments) (Scotland) Bill for the final time, which sets the assumed rate of return on investment of particular damages awarded in personal injury cases and will allow the courts to require periodical payments of compensation.

Finally the chamber will celebrate Scottish Tourism Week 2019.

Wednesday - Minimum Student Income and bus passes

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Scottish Labour have two debates which look set to be on a call for a Minimum Student Income and free bus travel for under-25s.

This follows portfolio questions, with MSPs quizzing culture, tourism and external affairs ministers.

Labour MSP Pauline McNeill will then lead a member's debate on the prevalence of Crohn's and Colitis in Scotland.

We begin the day with the Local Government and Communities Committee, which will take evidence on the creation of a Volunteer Charter, which aims to prevent the exploitation of workers and volunteers.

Elsewhere, the Rural Economy and Connectivity Committee will hear from Green MSP Mark Ruskell on his bill to introduce a 20mph speed limit in Scotland's urban areas.

Thursday - Smacking Bill, First minister's questions and land reform

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We've opted for the Equalities and Human Rights Committee's first two evidence sessions on the smacking ban bill with a former Irish senator, Police Scotland and the Law Society giving evidence.

We'll bring you reports from the third evidence session with a developmental psychologist who argues smacking would have a negative effect on children's behaviour, as it is sitting at 1pm when we'll be covering the chamber.

Elsewhere, the Europe and external affairs committee will take evidence on Article 50 and international agreements, the Public Audit and Post-Legislative Committee hears from the community safety minister on the Control of Dogs Act 2010.

The Social Security Committee and Public Petitions Committee also hears from government ministers, on housing and immigration and mental health and incapacity legislation respectively.

After general questions, we'll bring you extensive coverage of first minister's questions.

SNP MSP Christine Grahame will then celebrate the Men's Sheds initiative, which provides non-profit organisations to advise and improve the overall health of all men.

After Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body Questions, MSPs will quiz health and sport ministers during portfolio questions.

The Scottish government will then lead a debate on land reform in Scotland.

The debate follows two pieces of legislation brought in by the SNP government

  1. Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015 made various changes addressing community rights in relation to land
  2. The Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2016 established the Scottish Land Commission and made provision for various changes to land ownership and management