Scotland politics

Your guide to the week ahead at Holyrood

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More information about the proposed citizens' assembly on Scottish independence will be provided this week, ahead of summer recess.

Constitutional Relations Secretary Mike Russell will make a statement to MSPs on Wednesday afternoon.

Legislation to pave the way for a new referendum was published at the end of May.

The Scottish government wants to put the question of independence to a new public vote in the second half of 2020.

It previously announced plans to set up a citizens' assembly to engage with the public.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said it would "help find consensus on issues where people have sharply divided opinions".

The assembly is to have an independent chair and bring together a cross-section of Scotland to consider:

  • what kind of country Scotland should be
  • how Scotland can best overcome challenges, including those arising from Brexit
  • what further work is required to enable people to make informed choices about the future of Scotland

What else is happening this week?

Monday - police complaints

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Image caption Dame Elish has called for wider use of body cameras by on-duty officers

Unusually, the Justice Committee will meet on Monday afternoon at 15:30.

This is so it can discuss the review on the handling of complaints against senior police officers with Dame Elish Angiolini.

In an interim report, Dame Elish made 30 recommendations in relation to the Police Investigations and Review Commissioner (Pirc), Police Scotland and the Scottish Police Authority (SPA).

This included a call to speed up investigations into complaints.

The review was established following criticism of the process during an investigation into allegations against the former chief constable, Phil Gormley.

Tuesday - education reforms

Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf will continue to the discussion on police complaints on Tuesday morning.

The Justice Committee will also consider the Scottish Biometrics Commissioner Bill, which is to create a new office to look at the use and destruction of biometric data in the criminal justice system.

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In the afternoon, Education Secretary John Swinney will update MSPs on education reforms.

A year ago he confirmed the government has shelved plans for its flagship Education Bill, claiming instead the reforms could be made more quickly without changing the law.

However, he also suggested the bill could still be introduced if "sufficient progress" was not made after 12 months - this statement will likely focus on whether or not legislation is needed.

Then MSPs will debate stage 3 of the Management of Offenders (Scotland) Bill until decision time at 19:00, when it will be voted on.

It proposes to increase the use of electronic tags and help offenders reintegrate into the community.

The evening member's debate will focus on health issues and aircraft noise, led by SNP MSP Gil Paterson.

Wednesday - poverty and mesh implants

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Two further ministerial statements are scheduled for Wednesday afternoon.

Immediately following the announcement on the citizens' assembly, Social Security Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville will update MSPs on efforts to tackle child poverty.

It is expected to include an announcement a family income supplement.

The Scottish government plans to introduce the new benefit from 2022 but poverty campaigners have written to the first minister calling for the date to be brought forward.

The third statement of the day will be regarding transvaginal mesh implants at 17:00.

The Scottish government announced last week it would establish a new case review unit to ensure any patient with mesh complications can have their care reviewed.

An invitation was also extended to US mesh expert Dr Dionysios Veronikis to look at mesh complication services, including possible removal.

MSPs are also set to discuss the working group on tenement maintenance.

An interim report warned in January that the condition of many tenements is on a "cliff-edge".

The group's final report was published earlier this month and called for regular inspections, compulsory owners' associations and the creation of building reserve funds.

SNP MSP Keith Brown will lead the last member's debate before summer recess, focusing on the UN rapporteur's comments on poverty in the UK.

In the morning, Holyrood Live will be covering the local government committee as it continues consideration of the Non-Domestic Rates (Scotland) Bill.

It is taking evidence from small business, retail and tourism representatives.

Thursday - final FMQs

The afternoon will wrap up earlier than usual to allow MSPs to head away for recess.

First minister's questions is scheduled for midday as normal, which will be the final item in the chamber.