MSPs will be back under the watchful eyes of their staff this week as people return to work and we leave the Beast behind.
The weather has resulted in some changes to Chamber business. We have a very beefy Tuesday with two Members’ Business Debates (on Atrial Fibrillation and the Leader Programme), Topical Questions, two debates (on local government finance and Stage 1 of the LBBT Bill) and a Ministerial Statement on widening access to higher education. The Education & Skills Committee will also hear from Shirley-Anne Somerville on widening access on Wednesday.
Wednesday is also looking busier than usual, with Stage 3 of the Forestry and Land Management (Scotland) Bill (previously scheduled for last week) due to follow Education Portfolio Questions. After agreeing last week to consider it as emergency legislation, MSPs will also have their first chance to debate the contents of the UK Withdrawal from the European Union (Legal Continuity) (Scotland) Bill. Relatedly, on Tuesday, Minister for UK Negotiations on Scotland’s Place in Europe, Michael Russell, will give evidence to the Delegated Powers & Law Reform Committee on the Bill. The Finance & Constitution Committee will consider it on Wednesday.
Back in the Chamber, Wednesday ends with a Members’ Biz led by the verbose Stewart Stevenson on electronic and online voting. We should be finally back to form on Thursday with General & FMQs taking place as normal, followed by one Members’ Biz on greenbelt land, Corporate Body Questions (on a creche, pensions and sanitary products) and a solitary debate on International Women’s Day.
There were a few agenda items cancelled due to the weather which have yet to be rescheduled. This could mean changes to business following the Bureau meeting tomorrow, including the return of the planned Ministerial Statement following the publication of the Scottish Government’s Climate Change Plan last week.
Committee work programmes will also be feeling the pinch from last week, with several meetings cancelled or reduced due to the weather.
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