Scottish Parliament to return from recess using technology and social distancing
Chamber business will be conducted online, with in person meetings of a maximum 79 MSPs taking place once a week. Committees will also switch to using video link, subject to a vote on Tuesday.
The Scottish Parliament will return from recess on Tuesday with MSPs using a combination of technology and social distancing to carry out business.
Chamber business will be conducted online, with in person meetings of a maximum 79 MSPs taking place once a week. The parliament has removed 50 seats to keep parliamentarians a safe distance apart.
Committees will also switch to using video link, subject to a vote on Tuesday to change the standing orders to allow meetings to be held online.
Virtual First Minister’s Questions (FMQs) and members’ questions will continue as in previous weeks.
Presiding Officer Ken Macintosh told BBC Scotland that MSPs were "adjusting to new ways of working" along with everyone around the country, and would continue the "crucial" job of scrutinising the government.
The parliament building will remain open only to essential workers, with the public and press galleries closed.
Macintosh said that most parliamentary staff are now working from home and has asked parties to ensure that MSPs stagger their arrival and departure from the chamber and stay in the same seats for hygiene reasons.
The parliament has been in recess for the past two weeks apart from online trial sessions of FMQs and members’ questions.
But Macintosh also said that it was still unclear how voting votes could be held remotely.
He said: "This parliament has always been innovative, from the very start, and I've made it the focus of my time as presiding officer to refocus on reform.
“But this crisis has really given that a sense of urgency, and people have adapted in record time to new ways of working. I think that will continue for some time to come."
A Scottish Parliament spokesperson said: “Social distancing is absolutely vital. We have put in place a range of measures so that parliamentary business follows public health advice.”