Scottish Parliament writes the rules–and advises how to circumvent them!

 

ESS Chair, Colin Emerson, has received the following reply from the Presiding Officer of the Scottish Parliament in response to the ESS complaint that a meeting by a religious organisation in the Parliament appeared to break the Parliament’s own rules.

Thank you for your email and attached letter bringing to my attention a perceived breach of the Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body’s (SPCB) guidance on Member-sponsored events.Your complaint refers to the Member-sponsored event Scotland What Kind of Nation which was held on Wednesday 23 April.

Whilst the SPCB’s agreed guidance clearly states that no books, reports, leaflets etc. can be launched at the Scottish Parliament, it is acceptable for organisations to launch outwith the Parliament and then host an awareness raising event at the Parliament for Members.  Our understanding from the Evangelical Alliance was that the report Scotland What kind of Nation was launched over the weekend of Saturday 19 and Sunday 20 April – covered by some of the Sunday papers.  We were informed that this would be prior to the awareness raising event at the Scottish Parliament on Wednesday 23 April.

Other organisations have taken this course of action, launching their publications elsewhere and then holding awareness raising events for Members and stakeholders at the Parliament as part of our programme of Member-sponsored events.  In allowing such events to take place the SPCB is not endorsing the views of the host organisations, individual speakers or guests.

I can reassure you that all the Scottish Parliament policies are kept under review and we will, of course, reflect on the nature of our policy in relation to the matters you raise.  I hope that this clarifies the position and thank you once again for bringing this to my attention.

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