Scotland politics

Week at Holyrood: Sturgeon to outline government's plans for the year

Nicola Sturgeon Image copyright Andrew Cowan

MSPs return to Holyrood on Tuesday after the summer break.

One of the first key events will be First Minister Nicola Sturgeon delivering her legislative programme for the next year.

It will include 14 new bills, in additional to other non-legislative announcements.

The Scottish government's response to climate change is expected to be a central theme of the statement.

Ms Sturgeon told BBC Good Morning Scotland on Monday that she would set out a "very ambitious package of measures".

She added that a "big focus" would be on reducing emissions from transport, while consideration will also be given to areas including heating, agriculture and land use.

The government is aiming to reach net-zero emissions by 2045, having declared a "climate emergency" earlier this year.

What else is happening at Holyrood this week?

Tuesday - Ferguson Marine

Image copyright Ferguson Marine

In addition to the statement from the first minister, there will be two further ministerial statements on Tuesday afternoon.

The first will focus on Ferguson Marine, the shipyard which was nationalised by the Scottish government last month.

Since then, several buyers have expressed an interest in the yard.

It is currently operating under a management agreement with administrators, which will see the Scottish government buy Ferguson if no private buyer comes forward.

The second statement will be on the repatriation of convergence funds for Scottish farmers.

Scottish farming organisations and the Scottish government have argued that Scotland is owed about £160m of EU convergence uplift payments to the UK for the period 2014-2020.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he would pass on the funding during the Tory leadership contest, but a recent letter from UK Rural Affairs Secretary Theresa Villiers said this would be a matter for the Treasury to decide.

Image caption Ms Wishart succeeds Tavish Scott as Shetland's MSP

Before the programme for government, new Shetland MSP Beatrice Wishart will be sworn in. The statements will be followed by Labour MSP Claudia Beamish leading a debate on Palestine.

In the morning, the health committee will meet to discuss NHS Highland.

While this is part of wider scrutiny of all health boards, the recent bullying claims and subsequent Sturrock report will likely be discussed.

Wednesday - indyref2 framework

MSPs will continue to debate and discuss the programme for government on Wednesday afternoon, following portfolio questions on the environment and rural economy.

Afterwards, SNP MSP Joan McAlpine will lead a debate to celebrate late poet Hamish Henderson.

Image caption Several pro-independence marches have taken place in recent months

In the morning, the constitution committee will take evidence on the indyref2 framework bill for the first time.

A number of academics have been invited to discuss the three main elements of the Referendums (Scotland) Bill: the framework, conduct, and campaign rules.

Meanwhile, the rural economy committee will be hearing from ScotRail managing director Alex Hynes.

Train services faced disruption last month due to flooding, while ScotRail also came under fire for overcrowding on the last weekend of the Edinburgh festivals.

Thursday - No-deal Brexit motion

MSPs are expected to vote in support of a motion to oppose a no-deal Brexit on Thursday evening.

The motion is expected to say: "That the Scottish Parliament agrees that the UK should in no circumstances leave the EU on a no-deal basis".

It comes after Boris Johnson said the chances of a no deal Brexit were "touch and go".

In March Holyrood voted for Brexit to be cancelled if the UK faces leaving the EU without a deal. The Scottish Tories voted against this motion, calling instead for parties to back Theresa May's deal.

Prior to this debate, there will be a statement on tackling drug related deaths.

Figures which came out during summer recess found Scotland had the highest drug death rate in the EU.

A drugs death taskforce was set up shortly before the statistics were released.

At noon, Ms Sturgeon will face her first FMQs of the parliamentary year, to be followed by SNP MSP Kenneth Gibson highlighting Doors Open Day.