Back to the Scottish Parliament Business Bulletin No. 159/2007: Thursday 22 November 2007
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Conduct in the Chamber

Following discussions with Business Managers on conduct in the chamber, the Presiding Officer wishes to make the following announcement.

Rule 7.3 of Standing Orders requires all Members to conduct themselves in a courteous, respectful and orderly manner. The Rule applies to all Members and gives the Presiding Officer the authority to act if it is breached. While points of order may be raised on this issue, I would expect members to recognise the serious nature of any allegations of this kind and where possible refer the matter to me in writing.

Section 7.3 of the MSP Code of Conduct repeats Rule 7.3 of Standing Orders and adds examples of misconduct. Again, I can confirm that the Code applies to all Members and where any Member wishes to allege misconduct in the chamber they should raise it with me in writing.

Lastly, the Scottish Ministerial Code applies to all members of the Scottish Government and includes at paragraph 1.1(c) the expectation that Ministers will give accurate and truthful information to the Parliament and will correct any inadvertent error at the earliest opportunity. Any complaint in relation to this is a matter for the First Minister and not for the Presiding Officer.

I therefore expect issues concerning conduct in the chamber to come to me in writing and anyone raising an issue under the Scottish Ministerial Code to take it up with the First Minister. I would reiterate what I have said in the Chamber previously: Members are themselves responsible for what they say during proceedings. I am not responsible for establishing the veracity of what is said during those proceedings as this is not covered by either Standing Orders or the MSP Code of Conduct.

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