POLITICAL DIGEST

TALK THREAT: THE Scottish parliament’s presiding officer threatened to evict a politician from the chamber for the first time yesterday - after she refused to stop talking.

Sir David Steel rose to his feet and warned the back-bench Labour MSP, Johann Lamont, that she would be ordered to leave after she failed to obey his instruction to end a question and sit down.

The rebuke led to a protracted row which dragged in speakers from almost every party and included a suggestion from Labour’s Helen Eadie that Sir David was being sexist by treating men and women differently.

The row blew up during First Minister’s Question Time when Ms Lamont was questioning the deputy first minister, Jim Wallace.

The Presiding Officer stopped Ms Lamont in her tracks while the MSP for Glasgow Pollok was asking a supplementary question on youth disorder.

As her questions dragged on, Sir David interrupted saying: "No, no, no" and "Enough".

He added: "The member must resume her seat or I will ask her to leave the chamber. Order - Can I say if a member does that again they will be the first person asked to leave the chamber. That is not allowed."

Ms Lamont was reluctantly forced to sit while a number of MSPs rallied to her support, making a series of points of order to object to Sir David’s ruling.

DENTISTS’ ‘GOLDEN HELLO’: A 1 million package to tackle difficulties in recruiting and retaining NHS dentists in remote and rural parts of Scotland was unveiled yesterday.

The deputy health minister, Mary Mulligan, said the aim was to improve access to dental services in sparsely populated areas which are suffering from a shortage of dentists.

The extra funding will help to fund 3,000 "golden hellos" for all newly qualified dentists taking up substantive posts in rural Scotland.

It will also provide grants of up to 10,000 to existing dentists who establish a new vocational training practice and offer a place to those qualifying this summer.

Ms Mulligan said: "We have been aware for some time that there are difficulties in some parts of Scotland in recruiting and retaining practitioners."