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All Speeches

  • Article: Oct 7, 2015

    I also thank Linda Fabiani for securing a debate marking 100 years of women in policing. At the time when the first female officer with full arrest powers was appointed in England, across the United Kingdom about 4,000 women were already taking on policing functions as voluntary patrols. The appointment of Edith Smith, however, started a new chapter when a lot of opportunities were opening up to women due to the human cost of the first world war.

  • Article: Oct 2, 2015

    I commend Jenny Marra for her drive and determination on human trafficking. We must not forget that her member's bill consultation laid the foundations for this Government bill. However, Christina McKelvie is right to point also to the cross-party support and determination in the chamber.

    Human trafficking is not new, but it is now the fastest-growing international crime. The Equality and Human Rights Commission report of 2011 was the catalyst for action to tackle human trafficking through a coherent legislative framework. That report exposed the grim truth about trafficking in Scotland. It shocked us all. In 2011, Kaliani Lyle, EHRC Scotland commissioner, said:

  • Article: Sep 30, 2015

    The burgeoning use of NPS coupled with a growing understanding of their dangers has led to a greater focus on how to control these substances. The UK Government's expert panel review, which was set in train by the former Minister of State for Crime Prevention, my fellow Liberal Democrat Norman Baker, highlighted that "after years of stable and declining drug use, the emergence of NPS has been a game changer."

  • Article: Sep 10, 2015

    Alison McInnes (North East Scotland) (LD): I will not be alone among my parliamentary colleagues in handling more casework about housing problems than about any other issue. A sadly familiar litany of problems crop up over and over again-inadequate housing, overcrowding, high house prices, exorbitant private rents, long waiting lists for social housing, families stuck in temporary accommodation, damp homes, neighbourhood problems and fuel poverty.

  • Article: Sep 10, 2015

    I congratulate Christina McKelvie on securing this debate on an important issue. The UK Conservative Government would have us believe that the Human Rights Act 1998 undermines the sovereignty of Parliament and the independence of our courts and that it goes far beyond the UK's obligations under the European convention on human rights. The Government talks of the European Court of Human Rights being afflicted by mission creep. It is determined to abolish the act and proposes replacing it with a British bill of rights and responsibilities. It has admitted that the new bill of rights would apply only to the most serious cases. Which of our human rights are not serious? What is a trivial breach of human rights?

  • Article: Jun 25, 2015

    Tuesday 24 June 2015


    It is important to remember that automatic early release is a management device. It was introduced as a safety valve to ease the pressure caused by escalating prison populations, not because of any compelling evidence that such a measure would improve public safety.

    A number of questions face members today. Will the reform reduce reoffending? Will offenders receive sufficient supervision and support? Will it better protect our communities? Will it make sentencing more transparent and give victims more certainty?

  • Article: Jun 19, 2015

    Scottish Elections (Reduction of Voting Age) Bill: Stage 3

    Thursday 18 June

    Alison McInnes (North East Scotland) (LD): Today, members will rightly celebrate the fact that we will finally grant 16 and 17-year-olds the right to vote in Scottish Parliament and local elections in Scotland from next May. We all agree that that is long overdue. However, with that opportunity come both moral and legal obligations. The bill will not extend the franchise to every 16 and 17-year-old: as it stands, around 100 young people held in young offender institutions will still be denied the right to vote.

  • Article: May 29, 2015

    28 May 2015


    The Scottish Liberal Democrats have long campaigned for votes at 16. We are delighted at the cross-party consensus that has emerged on the issue, and we will, of course, support the bill at decision time.

    Given the chance to vote for the first time, young people undoubtedly embraced the opportunities that the independence referendum presented, and young people on both sides spoke eloquently at public meetings and joined us all on the campaign trail. Schools throughout my North East Scotland region held hotly contested mock referendums, but thousands of pupils were also able to take part for real. I know that not all local authorities allowed such activity, so I welcome the committee's recommendation that Education Scotland should review and update its guidance to ensure that there is more participation in debate.

  • Article: May 14, 2015
    Tuesday 12 May 2015
    I start by praising Jenny Marra for resolutely pursuing the issue and for her member's bill, which was the catalyst for the Human Trafficking and Exploitation (Scotland) Bill. It was reported that almost 45,000 people responded to Ms Marra's consultation, but despite that considerable engagement, many people in Scotland would still be shocked to learn about the extent of the abhorrent crime of trafficking.
  • Article: Apr 7, 2015

    Thursday 2 April 2015


    If automatic early release for long-term prisoners is to be abolished, the alternative must pass three key tests. The first is that the risk that is posed by an individual must determine the proportion of the sentence that they serve in prison. Secondly, it must prioritise public safety. Thirdly, it must guarantee supervision and support on release.