I closed a Members’ Business debate on Emergency Service workers on behalf of the Scottish Government. The text of the motion is below:
Emergency Service Workers
That the Parliament commends the bravery and dedication of emergency service workers in the north east and across the country; recognises what it sees as their extraordinary efforts to keep everyone safe, working long hours in often difficult circumstances; acknowledges that this can include heading towards danger when others are running away; understands that, in 2016-17, over 3,000 offences were committed against these workers, with attacks often carried out by the very people that they were trying to help; condemns such assaults; regards an attack on any emergency worker as an attack on society itself, and thanks all emergency workers with the police, fire, ambulance, search and rescue, prison and other services for all the work that they do.
During topical questions, I was asked what action the Scottish Government is taking to protect emergency workers during the firework season, in light of the reported increase in levels of violence and intimidation that they face at this time of year.
The Justice Committee held a debate on remand. I spoke to open and also close the debate for the Scottish Government.
I responded on behalf of the Scottish Government to the Members’ Business Debate: The Cycle to Syracuse to Mark the 30th Anniversary of the Lockerbie Disaster.
I answered a General Question as Minister for Community Safety.
Dean Lockhart asked what assessment the Scottish Government has made of the impact of staff shortages on local fire services.
It was a pleasure to open my first debate as Minister for Community Safety and to be able to highlight the significant progress that has been made in reducing violence in Scotland and talk about our future priorities in the area. The Scottish Violence Reduction Unit takes a health approach to justice. Due to its success in Scotland, the Mayor of London recently announced that it will now be implemented in London.
I answered two Justice and the Law Portfolio Questions.
Jamie Halcro Johnston asked what action the Scottish Government is taking in response to the reported increase in incidents of antisocial behaviour.
Margaret Mitchell asked when the Scottish Government last met the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission.
I answered two General Questions in September as Minister for Community Safety.
Jenny Gilruth asked me asked me to provide an update on the implementation plan in the national missing persons framework for Scotland.
Gordon Lindhurst asked me what the Scottish Government’s response is to the conclusions of the independent review “Rethinking Legal Aid”.
Devolution is approaching its 20th anniversary. Yet, instead of preparing to celebrate all of its achievements, we are instead forced to defend the devolution settlement and the powers of our Scottish Parliament from a UK Government power grab. Devolution is extremely popular in Scotland, with the overwhelming majority of Scots wanting decisions impacting Scotland to be made here. For the UK Government to try to take powers away from Scotland is disrespectful of the devolution settlement, the Scottish Parliament and the people of Scotland. The SNP is committed to defending these powers so that Scotland continues to have a say over its future.
Access to vital medicines for rare diseases is of pressing concern to many of my constituents and to many patients across Scotland. I am pleased that the Scottish Government has recognised this and has taken significant steps to widen access to medicines so that patients can access new medicines faster.