Two Greens and three Independents join forces for representation on Parliamentary Bureau
Five pro-independence MSPs are to form a ‘technical working group’ to secure a greater say over the work agenda within the chamber, it has been announced.
Scottish Green MSPs Patrick Harvie and Alison Johnstone have reached an agreement with Independents Margo MacDonald, Jean Urquhart and John Finnie that secures them a seat on the Parliamentary Bureau.
The moves comes almost a month to the day since Highland MSPs Finnie and Urquhart resigned from the SNP over the party’s decision to end its opposition to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (Nato).
Under Rule 5.2 of the Standing Orders of the Scottish Parliament, members who either represent a political party with fewer than five MSPs or sit as Independents may join together to form a group of at least five for the purposes of nominating a representative to the Bureau.
Lothians MSP MacDonald will act as group representative on the Bureau, which, among other things, proposes the Parliament’s programme of business and the establishment, remit, membership and duration of any committee or sub-committee.
A statement issued by the group this morning said: “The five of us have discussed ways in which we can work together, and after taking advice from colleagues on our options, have decided to form a grouping to enhance our ability to represent our constituents.
“Although every member of our grouping is pro-independence and believes strongly in a more equal, sustainable Scotland, it is by no means a formal, party-based arrangement; no MSP has changed, or plans on changing, their party affiliation or on taking positions different to those they have taken in the past.
“We all look forward to pushing for an independent, fair and peaceful Scotland both inside and outside of Parliament, and to working with MSPs across the Chamber to achieve these goals.”
A change in format in terms of First Ministers Questions each week will be a matter decided upon by Presiding Officer Tricia Marwick.
A Scottish Parliament spokeswoman said: “Matters such as the allocation of questions and speaking times are for the Presiding Officer; and she will consider these issues in due course.”