FMQs: Recap as Shona Robison steps up for first minister's questions
Recap on what happened at today’s FMQs.
FMQs: Follow along live as Shona Robison faces questioning
Hello and welcome to our live blog for first minister’s questions!
I’m Rachel Amery and I’m The Scotsman’s political correspondent - I’m here at the Scottish Parliament to bring you all the latest as it happens at FMQ this afternoon.
This week will be a bit different - Humza Yousaf is still in New York for Climate Week 2023, so Deputy First Minister Shona Robison will be leading FMQs today.
What to expect today
As well as questioning from the Scottish Conservatives and Scottish Labour, we are expecting to see questions today on carer support payments, net zero funding for councils, and school meal debts.
Quick recap on what’s happened this week so far
The Scottish Government’s legal challenge against the UK Government’s use of a section 35 order to block its gender reforms is being heard at the Court of Session in Edinburgh. It’s now on day three, and you can catch up on what’s happened so far this week here: https://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/gender-court-case-scotland-red-herring-argument-by-uk-government-as-judge-says-verdict-will-take-some-time-4343178
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has announced a number of delays to key green policies, including delaying the ban on new petrol and diesel cars until 2035. This now puts the UK Government at odds with the Scottish Government, as they have a target of 2030: https://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/scotland-will-have-to-delay-ban-on-new-petrol-car-sales-after-pms-move-snp-4343610
We finally got the damning report into the Edinburgh Tram Inquiry - and it was pretty scathing of Scottish ministers, as well as City of Edinburgh Council and Tie, the council group set up to run the tram building: https://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/edinburgh-trams-inquiry-john-swinney-urged-to-make-public-statement-in-scottish-parliament-after-integrity-questioned-by-lord-hardie-4342900
This morning we had an exclusive from Ilona Amos - major repair works are needed at Edinburgh’s new Sick Kids Hospital amid concerns for children’s health: https://www.scotsman.com/health/major-repair-works-needed-at-edinburghs-new-sick-kids-hospital-amid-concern-for-childrens-health-4343096
And of course we can’t forget about the revelations around Russell Brand revealed over the weekend after an investigation by The Times, The Sunday Times and Channel 4: https://www.scotsman.com/news/crime/russell-brand-youtube-stops-comedian-from-making-money-off-platform-as-bbc-removes-russell-brand-content-from-iplayer-and-sounds-apps-4341240
Douglas Ross goes on North Sea oil and gas
Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross is up first, and he has gone on the oil and gas industry.
He asks why the SNP has “turned sour on oil and gas” after First Minister Humza Yousaf said Scotland would no longer be the oil and gas capital of Europe while out at New York Climate Week.
Deputy First Minister Shona Robison said: “We of course are committed to a just transition for the oil workers in the north-east and I pay tribute to the sector for the over £400 billion they have generated for the UK coffers, much of it squandered.
“We are committee to a just transition and we know the unlimited extraction is not consistent with our climate obligations.”
Shona Robison says Douglas Ross is “very brave” to pick this subject today after the Prime Minister “essentially pulled the rug from under our net zero ambitions, potentially damaging the net zero ambitions of Scotland and the environment”.
She added: “He should be ashamed to stand by Rishi Sunak on that matter.”
I really should start having bingo cards for FMQs. We are only five minutes in and already we have the SNP having a go at Douglas Ross for supporting former prime minister Liz Truss, and for the Conservatives’ mismanagement of the economy, and the Conservatives retorting about the “predictable response”.
Maybe next week I’ll get some made up, I think we’d have a lot of fun.
Shona Robison is making sure she is not pushed over in her turn leading FMQs.
After Presiding Officer Alison Johnstone stopped the proceedings for getting unruly, Ms Robison said: “I’ve never let a man shout me down in my life before, and I’m not going to let Douglas Ross start now.”
Having a chuckle to myself as Angus Robertson is told off for interrupting FMQs.
Douglas Ross just replied to say: “Angus Robertson didn’t put me off when I beat him in 2017, and he doesn’t put me off now.”
Anas Sarwar up for Scottish Labour
Anas Sarwar from Scottish Labour is up now and is going on the SNP wasting money, mismanagement of public services, and specifically delayed discharges in hospital.
Anas Sarwar is now going in on income tax and council tax, saying families are being let down by Tory and SNP incompetence which is making it harder for working people.
Shona Robison said: “Anas Sarwar is now getting his orders from Keir Starmer and his turn back on additional funds.
“If we had followed what he has suggested - the Tory tax policy - we would have £1 billion less for public services.”
This has gone down well with the SNP who are applauded. Anas Sarwar is laughing at the response.
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