Stop and search helps to protect the greatest civil liberty of all — life
The outpouring of shock and grief from the North East of Scotland over the last week is as understandable as it is significant. A young lad should not go to school and end up dead. It just should not happen. Such incidents are thankfully so rare in Scottish schools that we can remember every tragedy. Thus the pain and stunned disbelief which has accompanied the death of Bailey Gwynne.
We do not yet know the full circumstances of the tragedy at Cults Academy, save that a 16-year-old has been charged with murder and possession of a bladed weapon, and the law will now take its course.
However, there is one thing we can and should say about knife crime across Scotland. That is if youngsters carry knives then it is inevitable that some of these weapons will be used with tragic consequences. Therefore it follows that to keep our young people safe then we have to prevent knives being carried. Full stop.
During a debate in the Chamber on the European Union bill, I talked about the purpose of the bill and the Government’s total lack of respect for the need to prioritise the House’s business in accordance with Members’ interest in contributing.
The purpose of the Bill is to fulfil the requirement in section 8 of the European Union Act 2011 that EU legislative proposals made on the basis of the catch-all article 352 of the treaty on the functioning of the European Union be approved by an Act of Parliament before the UK Government can support them in the Council of the European Union. That is presumably why the debate is so vastly oversubscribed.
Despite the clear lack of interest in the debate, as evidenced by the relatively sparse attendance in the Chamber, the usual channels have chosen not to timetable the Bill. We could speak until 7 o’clock. I could do so—I really could—and be perfectly in order, and the right hon. Member for Wokingham (John Redwood) could have spoken for far longer if he had chosen to do so. Yet we have this open-ended timing today—there is no regulation that says a Second Reading has to take even a half-day—whereas next Monday Scottish Members are expected to cram in Government amendments to the Scotland Bill and its Third Reading. The contrast between the two timetables indicates the Government’s total lack of respect for the need to prioritise the House’s business in accordance with Members’ interest in contributing. I hope that the Government will take that on board.
The SNP International Team hosted a meet and greet evening for EU ambassadors, where we made it clear that the SNP believes that Scotland's future is one that includes EU membership.
Last year, I was given the Parliamentarian of the Year award at the Spectator awards. This year, I was invited along as Guest of Honour, handing out the awards to this year's winners. Our very own Tommy Sheppard was one of the winners and much deserved too! You can listen to my speech below.
You can see pictures from the event on The Spectator's website.
Fergus Mutch has been my office manager for the last three years. However, Friday was his last day before he heads down to Edinburgh to take up the position of Head of Communications and Research at the SNP team in Holyrood. Our team is losing a fantastic colleague, but I am pleased his skills and experience will remain within the party. Good luck, Fergus!
Dennis Robertson MSP for Aberdeenshire West held his adoption meeting at the Bennachie Leisure Centre in Insch. I am looking forward to campaigning with him next year ahead of the 2016 Holyrood elections.
Me, Christian Allard MSP, John Swinney MSP, Dennis Robertson MSP, Cllr Gwyneth Petrie and Stuart Donaldson MP.
I attended the local Remembrance Sunday service in Huntly. It was one of many held in the villages and towns of Aberdeenshire and throughout Scotland. It is right and proper that we commend those who have served in conflicts past and present and remember their sacrifice. It is right and proper that this is done best locally. Lest we forget. Lest we forget.