September’s General Questions

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”.



Defending the Powers of the Scottish Parliament Debate

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 Debate

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.

Ministerial Question: First Annual Progress Report on Human Trafficking

Yesterday I asked the Cabinet Secretary for Justice, Michael Matheson MSP,  if the Scottish Government’s First Annual Progress Report on Human Trafficking acknowledges the influence of organised crime groups in human trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation and what the Scottish Government can do to combat this. I was encouraged to hear that the report recognises this and that this is a key focus of both the Scottish Government and Police Scotland in both enforcement and prevention actions taken forward.

Portfolio Question: Update on negotiations with the EU

Yesterday I asked the Scottish Government to  provide an update on its negotiations with the EU, following the First Minister’s recent meeting with Michel Barnier. It is clear that a ‘No Deal’ Brexit outcome would be catastrophic for Scotland. While the UK Government continues to be helplessly confused, the Scottish Government has been clear all along – Scotland and the UK must remain in the EU Single Market and Customs Union to safeguard the economy, jobs and people’s livelihoods.

#CitizenGirl Initiative

Yesterday I spoke in the #CitizenGirl Initiative debate, celebrating the partnership programme of GirlGuiding Scotland and Women 5050. I am delighted to see the Citizen Girl Initiative encouraging girls and young women to use their voices to enact change in Scotland, creating the leaders and the world changers of tomorrow.

European Union (Withdrawal) Bill Debate

Yesterday I spoke in the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill Debate, and called on the UK Government to listen to the Scottish Parliament. We cannot compromise on a fundamental premise of devolution- consent. The Scottish Parliament was unanimous- Scottish Tories alone in their opposition- in refusing consent for the Bill, and it is now time for the UK Government to reconsider its power grab on this Parliament’s powers.