TWO Lothian MSPs have been elected to lead key committees in the Scottish Parliament.
Labour’s Neil Findlay is the new convener of Holyrood’s health and sport committee. And newly elected Tory MSP Gordon Lindhurst has been appointed convener of the economy, jobs and fair work committee.
Mr Findlay, a former Scottish Labour leadership candidate and seen as Jeremy Corbyn’s closest ally in Scotland, said health was one of the biggest spending areas of the Scottish Government and a matter which affected everyone.
“All of us experience ill health at some point or another,” he said. “It’s a huge subject area and there are a large number of pressing issues in relation to the NHS in Scotland and the wider health and sport agenda.
“The issues of health inequality and social care – which are two of the biggest issues bar none – are going to be prominent, as well as the whole issue of GP practices and people’s inability to access GPs due to staffing shortages.”
But Mr Findlay – an MSP since 2011 and a former Labour health spokesman – said there was a degree of consensus over Scotland’s decision to take a different approach to health from south of the Border.
“Even the Scottish Tories agree we should not be going down the path of privatisation,” he said.
Mr Lindhurst said he was pleased to take on the economy, jobs and fair work role.
He said: “I’m delighted to have been chosen as convener of this important committee ... This is obviously a key area where the government needs to be scrutinised and encouraged in the right direction.”
The economy committee in the last session of parliament left a legacy paper outlining possible topics for their successors to look at, including digital infrastructure and economic growth and tourist taxes.
Mr Lindhurst said that he had long experience of committees outside parliament, including through his professional role as an advocate, and through charity work.
Other conveners appointed so far include Conservative John Scott on the delegated powers and law reform committee; SNP MSP Graeme Dey on the environment, climate change and land reform committee, and Conservative Margaret Mitchell to lead the justice committee.