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by Jack Thomson
02 April 2021
Scottish Labour to create 'Clean up Holyrood' commission to 'restore faith in parliament'

Anita Gould

Scottish Labour to create 'Clean up Holyrood' commission to 'restore faith in parliament'

Scottish Labour will launch a 'Clean up Holyrood' commission to consult on ideas intended to improve the Scottish Parliament's ability to hold the government to account.

The party is to create the commission as part of a plan "to restore faith and trust" in a parliament, which has been surrounded by controversy in relation to the Salmond inquiry.

The consultation will explore a range of matters, including the establishment of an independent ethics commission to oversee the Scottish Government and reforming freedom of information legislation to increase transparency in government by creating a presumption in favour of proactive publication of the public information held by authorities.

It would also discuss introducing a parliamentary privilege at Holyrood to give MSPs raising issues the same protection as MPs, the election of committee conveners by the whole Scottish Parliament, strengthening the power of committees to compel witnesses to provide evidence, introducing a right to recall MSPs in exceptional circumstances and splitting the dual role of the Lord Advocate.

Anas Sarwar, leader of Scottish Labour, said: "We are rightly proud of our role in establishing a devolved parliament, but we have to accept that trust and faith in parliament has been lost in recent years.

"We need to rebuild that because only when people believe that Holyrood works for them will we be able to unite Scotland.

"We cannot allow the circus that has defined the start of this campaign or the institutional failures that defined the Salmond inquiry to run over into the parliament of the next five years.

"The pandemic doesn't end when lockdown ends - and Scotland's recovery requires a government focused on solutions - and MSPs who have the tools to make sure they are getting it right."

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