Scottish Labour faces another difficult week this week. The hostile battle for leader drew to a close last weekend, with Richard Leonard emerging triumphant thanks to a swell of trade union support. The announcement detracted slightly from the shock resignation of Interim Leader, Alex Rowley. Jackie Baillie took up the mantle for four short days, during which time former Leader, Kezia Dugdale, took her turn to make headlines, heading off to Australia to join the cast of I’m a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here. It seems fair to expect a reshuffle and maybe even a suspension before the week is out.
Closer to home, the Scottish Government will lead debates this week on suicide prevention and partnership work to reduce flood risks. On Thursday, the Local Government & Communities Committee will bring forward a debate on building regulations and fire safety following an extended investigation on the topic, and specifically the condition of cladding on Glasgow tower blocks.
Following last week’s Supreme Court decision to deny the Scotch Whisky Association’s Minimum Unit Pricing (MUP) appeal, the Scottish Government will deliver a statement on the topic on Tuesday. Nicola Sturgeon welcomed the Court’s verdict, which she said would “reduce the harm that cheap, high-strength alcohol” causes to Scottish communities and opposition parties have called for her to act quickly and set new pricing before Christmas.
Clare Adamson (Motherwell & Wishaw) (SNP) will present her motion to mark Road Safety Week on Tuesday, drawing attention to the road safety campaign headed by charity Brake and condemning the contribution of speeding to 23% of crashes in the UK. On Wednesday, Elaine Smith (Central Scotland) (Lab) will use her Members’ Business debate to highlight the “inadequate diagnosis and treatment” of thyroid conditions and on Thursday, Ivan McKee (Glasgow Provan) (SNP) will mark Day of the Imprisoned Writer by talking about attacks on human rights and freedom of expression around the world.
Despite the looming UK Government budget, Holyrood’s committees have a packed schedule this week. A number will embark on timely scrutiny of the Draft Budget, the Rural Economy & Connectivity Committee will get a pre-winter transport update and the Health & Sport Committee will press on with its work on NHS Governance. The Local Government & Communities Committee continues its sessions on city region deals and the Environment, Climate Change & Land Reform Committee will consider legislation on pollution prevention and control.
There will also be some new faces cropping up in committees this week. Colin Beattie (Midlothian North & Musselburgh) (SNP) and Tom Arthur (Renfrewshire South) (SNP) will be joining the Economy, Jobs & Fair Work Committee. Emma Harper (South Scotland) (SNP), Sandra White (Glasgow Kelvin) (SNP) and Ash Denham (Edinburgh Eastern) (SNP) have been appointed to the Health & Sport Committee. Richard Lochhead (Moray) (SNP) and George Adam (Paisley) (SNP) will join the Education & Skills Committee. Stewart Stevenson (Banffshire & Buchan Coast) (SNP) will join the Environment, Climate Change & Land Reform Committee, Clare Haughey (Rutherglen) (SNP) moves over to the Standards, Procedures & Public Appointments Committee and Clare Adamson (Motherwell & Wishaw) (SNP) takes up a seat on the Social Security Committee.
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