Before members can begin to savour the UK Withdrawal from the European Union (Legal Continuity) (Scotland) Bill on Wednesday, they must work their way through the Forestry and Land Management (Scotland) Bill at Stage 3 on Tuesday. Though less headline grabbing than EU negotiations, the Bill has proven contentious and 40 amendments will be addressed in the Chamber. The Environment, Climate Change & Land Reform and Health & Sport committees will also hold evidence sessions regarding the impact leaving the EU will have on their respective portfolios. Back in the Chamber, members will end Tuesday on a solemn note as Peter Chapman leads a debate on the Ukrainian Holodomor.
Then the light at the end of a long dark tunnel as the Continuity Bill begins its final stage on Wednesday. Having been denied a good night’s sleep by last week’s marathon Stage 2 consideration at the Finance & Constitution Committee, MSPs will no doubt be delighted to put the Bill to bed. Today’s announcement that the UK and the EU have reached an agreement on the transition period, or implementation period depending on which side of the English Channel your office is on, will likely play a part in Wednesday’s discussions. Before that, it’s the turn of Cabinet Secretary for Communities, Social Security & Equalities, Angela Constance, at Portfolio Questions. There will also be an early Member’s Business debate about the UN International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.
Rounding off the week, the Public Petitions Committee will consider a call to make it compulsory for cyclists to wear helmets while the Social Security Committee hosts an evidence session on benefits automation. After First Minister’s Questions there will be a Member’s Business debate recognising Down’s Syndrome Awareness Week and the Scottish Government will hold a debate on improving fairness in the workplace.
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