Holyrood Highlights: The normal folk’s guide to Thursday in parliament


All this has happened before, and all this will happen again…

SOME HAVE SAID there is nothing new under the sun. There is certainly little new happening in Holyrood today, where Thursday’s schedule will be dominated by some very long-running debates.

In the chamber, the repeal of the little-lamented Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications (Scotland) Act, commonly known as OBFA, is expected to successfully pass the final stage of its parliamentary process.

Meanwhile, in the netherworld of the committees, the Scottish Government’s Continuity Bill continues its long march towards the unknown. Catch up on all the details below.

Parliamentary business

First Minister’s Questions today will provide Nicola Sturgeon with an opportunity to discuss what progress, or lack thereof, was made during her negotiations with Prime Minister Theresa May on the EU Withdrawal Bill. This will no doubt delight the Scottish Tories, who hate it when the First Minister points out the difficulties presented by the UK Government, and who also hate it when the Scottish Government tries to get around those difficulties.

Following a ministerial update on the South of Scotland Partnership, the OBFA repeal will reach the third and final stage of its repeal, which is expected to be successful, given that the four opposition parties are united in their condemnation of the original, controversial legislation.

Once OBFA is finally no more, all those MSPs who proclaimed that the problems of abuse and sectarianism surrounding Scottish football require a more considered solution will no doubt devote themselves to coming up with one.  

Committee business

Today, Mike Russell will appear before what feels like the 420th committee examining aspects of the Scottish Government’s emergency alternative Brexit legislation, in order to assist in yet more of that scrutiny that Tory and Labour MSPs have insisted was impossible. Following parliament’s marathon session of considering several hundred amendments – all of which were no doubt offered in complete good faith – Russell can at least comfort himself that all concerned are now as grumpy and impatient as he is.

Visits and events

Today in the parliament’s Garden Lobby, Liberal Democrat MSP Alex Cole-Hamilton will host a celebration of the charity Cruse Scotland’s 50 years of helping bereaved adults and children across Scotland. Cruse Scotland’s work includes counselling for the bereaved, especially those who live in areas of multiple deprivation, and identifying when individuals are at risk of self-harm.

Picture courtesy of UncleBucko

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