The Sunday Whip
This was an unexpectedly quiet week, with only one vote taken. Unusually, this was on the Wednesday, which is usually the consensus day, rather than the Thursday, which is generally used for partisan ding-dong.
And indeed, there were only eight absentees: Ted Brocklebank (Con, Mid Scotland & Fife, standing down), Shadow Rural Development Minister Karen Gillon (Clydesdale), LibDem Environment Spokesman Liam McArthur (Orkney), Mike Pringle (LD, Edinburgh South), LibDem Leader Tavish Scott (Shetland), Nicol Stephen (LD, Aberdeen South, standing down), Jamie Stone (LD, Caithness, Sutherland & Easter Ross, standing down) and Maureen Watt (SNP, North East Scotland).
They missed the passage of Stage 1 of the Budget (No. 5) (Scotland) Bill, by 62 (SNP/Con/Margo) to two (the Greens) with 56 Labour and LibDem abstentions.
Thursday, as I said, was consensual: Stage 1 of the Reservoirs (Scotland) Bill and its Financial Resolution were waved through, as was Stage 1 of the Private Rented Housing (Scotland) Bill, and a Government motion on the dementia strategy, along with its Labour amendment:
That the Parliament welcomes the progress being made by the NHS, local government, scrutiny bodies and partners in the voluntary and private sectors, including Alzheimer Scotland and the Scottish Dementia Working Group, in delivering the commitments set out in Scotland’s first dementia strategy, building on the Scottish Government’s establishment of dementia as a national priority and on the Parliament’s Cross-Party Group on Alzheimer’s Charter of Rights for People with Dementia and their Carers in Scotland; recognises the crucial role played by carers both paid and unpaid; notes also the challenge of ensuring good quality palliative care for people with dementia, and further welcomes the Big Lottery Fund’s investment in support for people with dementia and their carers after their diagnosis.
So that was that. Next week, we have four Bills at Stage 1 (why is it that when I look at all these Bills being proposed I hear the Countdown theme in my head?), and the Budget Bill gets to Stage 3 the week after next.