The Christmas Eve Whip
Holyrood quietly headed towards a festive conclusion this week, with only one vote taken and an unsurprising amount of boilerplate.
Indeed, the surprising thing was how few absences there were for Wednesday’s vote on Stage 1 of Hugh Henry’s Protection of Workers (Scotland) Bill. There were only 11 absentees in total – low by current standards: Rhona Brankin (Lab, Midlothian), Aileen Campbell (SNP, South of Scotland), Marlyn Glen (Lab, North East Scotland), Christopher Harvie (SNP, Mid Scotland & Fife), Robin Harper (Green, Lothians), Shadow Enterprise Minister Lewis Macdonald (Aberdeen Central), Margo MacDonald (Ind, Lothians), Jack McConnell (Lab, Motherwell & Wishaw), Irene Oldfather (Lab, Cunninghame South), Jamie Stone (LD, Caithness, Sutherland & Easter Ross) and Finance Secretary John Swinney (North Tayside).
The Bill itself fell, by 75 (SNP/Con/LD) votes to 42 (Lab/Green). Aside from that, on Wednesday, MSPs noted the Equal Opportunities Committee Report on post-legislative scrutiny: the Mental Health (Care and Treatment) (Scotland) Act 2003 , agreed to a Tory Committee reshuffle, consented to a change in the wording to the Rural Affairs & Environment Committee’s remit and waved through the Sale of Tobacco (Registration of Moveable Structures and Fixed Penalty Notices) (Scotland) Regulations 2010. On Thursday, MSPs approved an SNP Committee reshuffle.
And that was that, and it will remain that until 12 January. Before then, I’ll produce my usual term-time analysis – the penultimate one of those before the election.