9 February 2017

First Minister's Questions

Stewart Stevenson (Banffshire and Buchan Coast) (SNP): Did the First Minister note that, last night, the Labour Party signed a blank cheque to the Prime Minister to allow her, without further democratic reference, to determine the terms of leaving the European Union? Does she also note that paragraph 8.16 of the UK Government white paper says that there should be a “mutually beneficial” solution for the Spaniards and the UK in relation to fishing, clearly confirming a sell-out of our interests by the Tories once again?

The First Minister: Nobody should be surprised if the Tory Government is preparing to sell out the Scottish fishing industry, because it has done that on plenty of occasions before.

On the vote in the House of Commons last night, it is deeply regrettable that amendment after amendment was rejected by the Government. Those amendments simply asked for protection for EU nationals and asked the Government to commit to doing things like not breaching the Good Friday agreement in Northern Ireland. All those amendments were rejected—not a single concession was won through any of them—yet the Labour so-called Opposition decided to vote for the bill and hand the Conservative Government a blank cheque. That is utterly pathetic and shows the weakness of the Opposition that there is in the United Kingdom Parliament in the form of the Labour Party.

Jeremy Corbyn tweeted last night that the real fight begins now. How utterly pathetic. It is not so much closing the stable door after the horse has bolted as closing the stable door after the horse is dead and buried. The UK badly needs vigorous opposition in the House of Commons, and the SNP is providing it day in, day out. It is just a pity that the Labour Party is failing to do so.

24 January 2017

Statement: ScotRail Performance Improvement Plan (Update)

Stewart Stevenson (Banffshire and Buchan Coast) (SNP): Is the minister content with the fact that, one minute ago, the public performance measurement was 9 per cent better in Scotland than in the GB network, and that, at lunchtime today, there were two trains that were not running to schedule—both of which arrived early?

The Minister for Transport and the Islands (Humza Yousaf): I am grateful for that. The serious point is that, as I have said, there has been an improvement in performance over the past few railway periods. Performance is not where I want it to be or what it should be, and it is not enough to lift ScotRail out of performance improvement plan territory, but it is important to say that ScotRail is on the right trajectory.

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