Parliament procedure shake-up planned to improve reaction to events

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MSPs will be asked next week to approve a major shake-up of the Scottish Parliament to allow it to respond more quickly to unfolding issues and events.

A report from Holyrood’s Procedures Committee today set out proposals for meetings of the full parliament three afternoons a week, on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, with committee meetings in the mornings and a new topical question time to quiz ministers at short notice.

At the moment, committees are scheduled for Tuesdays and Wednesday mornings, with the full parliament meeting on Wednesday afternoons and Thursdays. The changes have been instigated by presiding officer Tricia Marwick.

There would also be an extra members’ debate each week and later deadlines for submitting questions to ministers.

If approved, the reform measures and new sitting patterns will begin immediately after the summer recess.

Ms Marwick said: “These measures will represent the biggest change to our sitting patterns and procedures since 1999. My ambition is for a parliament that meets the needs of the people of Scotland by ensuring topicality and relevance in its deliberations.”