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02 December 2015
IT glitch stops MSPs asking questions

IT glitch stops MSPs asking questions

If you feel the likes of Willie Rennie and Stewart Stevenson have been a bit quiet these past few months, it’s not because they’ve been nodding off in the chamber.

A technical glitch with the software used by the Scottish Parliament to select who gets to put questions to government ministers has seen 23 MSPs frequently excluded over the last seven months.

The issue has left members with surnames beginning with letters N to Z unable to ask general or portfolio questions in up to 12 weeks of the 27 parliament has sat since a software upgrade in March.

Scottish Parliament chief executive Paul Grice has written to MSPs to apologise and said a new system is being tested with a view to being rolled out next week. 

Addressing MSPs yesterday, Presiding Officer Tricia Marwick said: “The situation is clearly unacceptable and apologies are made to those members who have been disadvantaged. Please be assured that all steps have been taken to avoid this problem occurring in the future.

“I recognise that members will be disappointed by these events and I deeply regret that.

“It is important to rebuild members’ confidence so, in addition, I will be asking business managers whether they wish to send a representative to see for themselves the draw for next week’s questions.”

Thirty MSPs have surnamed beginning with letters after M, though seven of them – given their ministerial post – were unaffected. A temporary system was used this week after the IT glitch was spotted on Monday.

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