18 January 2019
Scottish Labour has urged Nicola Sturgeon to support a full and transparent inquiry into the government’s handling of the Alex Salmond inquiry in order to rebuild trust and restore confidence.
Party leader Richard Leonard urged the First Minister, as SNP group leader at Holyrood, to commit to a series of measures to ensure public trust in the proposed parliamentary inquiry, including that the committee:
• Must be chaired by an opposition MSP
• Must meet in public
• Must not be subject to a time limit on how long it sits for
• Must not be subject to a limit on how many sittings it has
• Should be able to scrutinise internal SNP correspondence connected to the case as well as government correspondence
Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard said:
“Let’s not forget that two women have been badly failed by the system, and they are entitled to answers, which is why the parliamentary inquiry must be as thorough as possible.
“The committee must meet in public and there should be no time limit on how long it sits for, or how many sittings it has.
“According to parliamentary precedent, the position of committee chair is due to be offered to the SNP - but this is an unprecedented situation and Nicola Sturgeon must agree that this inquiry will be chaired by an opposition MSP.
“Nicola Sturgeon should do the right thing.”
Scottish government urged to bring forward a statutory right to food in law
18 January 2019
Labour has pressed the Scottish government to bring forward a statutory right to food.
Labour MSP Rhoda Grant pressed the government to outline when a proposed Good Food Nation bill would finally be brought forward.
The MSP is also writing to foodbank organisations across Scotland to ensure they take steps to make their users’ voices heard.
“We live in a developed nation in the 21st century and it is a national scandal that foodbank use is increasing year upon year upon year.
“Scottish Labour believe that there should be a statutory right to food, which brings together all of the current policies, gives them a guiding force, and has the power to measure the government’s success in feeding its people.
“In developing legislation, we believe that people who are most affected by food insecurity should have the opportunity to contribute to how the government can make things better.
“However, we accept that this is challenging, as those most affected by food insecurity tend to be the most marginalised and vulnerable people in society, who are unlikely to have their voice heard.
“I am writing to foodbank organisations in Scotland to find out whether they have any plans to make service users aware of the consultation, and how they are supporting them in submitting their views to the outcome of the consultation.
“While I understand that engaging with the government’s legislative process is not going to be the first thing on people’s minds when visiting foodbanks, I think that it is important that we listen to people who are most affected by the issues discussed, and take account of their views”
Special committee to hold inquiry into the Salmond case
15 January 2019
Commenting on the agreement to establish a special committee to hold a parliamentary inquiry into how the Scottish government handled an investigation into allegations of sexual assault against the former First Minister, Alex Salmond, Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard said:
“This is the right decision and a positive step forward. Full transparency in this matter is essential in order for the public to have confidence in the First Minister and the Scottish government. That means full public and parliamentary scrutiny.
“At all times it is essential to remember that at the centre of all of this are two courageous women who put their faith in a system that has badly let them down, and we must never lose sight of that, by safeguarding the duty of care to them and their access to justice.
“We must restore trust and confidence in the system, this committee will be an important step towards that.”
Comment on HES
13 January 2019
Commenting on reports the company lined up to replace HES has received more than £500,000 in fines, Scottish Labour's Health spokesperson Monica Lennon MSP said:
“What has happened at HES is a scandal – but SNP Health Secretary Jeane Freeman has failed to keep Parliament informed. Clinical waste is piling up and NHS porters have been injured.
“She must reassure Parliament this crisis is under control.
“Instead, a replacement company that has history of being fined for poor performance stands to benefit from a multi-million pound NHS contract.
“Too many questions remain answered and this risks pushing our NHS into further crisis.
“That is why Scottish Labour is urging the SNP government to pause the contract process and launch a full review of what went wrong at HES.
“SNP Health Secretary Jeane Freeman should leave all options on the table, including bringing the service back under NHS management.”
Comment on two child cap
12 January 2019
Commenting on the Conservative Government ditching its plans to extend a benefits cap on families of more than two children, Scottish Labour's Social Security spokesperson Mark Griffin MSP said:
"The two child cap, and the rape clause that comes with it, is abhorrent and the Conservative Government still has not gone far enough in only stopping its extension as part of Universal Credit.
"Scottish Labour want this cruel policy ended in its entirety, which is why we are calling on the Scottish Government to use the upcoming budget to protect people in Scotland from its impact.
"The Scottish Tories must urgently explain if they will continue to defend a policy their own ministers are now rowing back from."
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