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All Speeches

  • 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.

  • Article: Apr 7, 2015

    Thursday 26 March


    I am grateful to Hugh Henry for securing the debate.

    Members will know that the Scottish Liberal Democrats were the only party to consistently oppose the abolition of valued local police services in favour of the creation of one national force. Our opposition was based on reasoned, principled concerns. For a start, the centralised force would be unaccountable. Moreover, it could never be as responsive to the needs of our communities; the numbers did not stack up and the savings claims were unrealistic; and it would lead to a further and disproportionate loss of civilian staff and backfilling by front-line officers. It gives me no pleasure whatsoever to see those concerns-and more-realised.

  • Article: Mar 5, 2015

    4 March 2015


    Alison McInnes (North East Scotland) (LD): As Liberal Democrats we are pleased to have used our time in the chamber to debate privacy and the state. We welcome whole-heartedly the support of other opposition parties and hope that the SNP will reflect on the strength of feeling expressed. Willie Rennie, Richard Simpson, Liz Smith and Patrick Harvie have clearly and coherently set out the risks and what is at stake, which is more than can be said for Christian Allard in his contribution.

  • Article: Mar 5, 2015

    Thursday 26 February


    I, too, congratulate Mary Fee on securing the debate, which follows on from yesterday's joint meeting of the cross-party group on children and young people and the cross-party group on families affected by imprisonment.

    I thank the NSPCC and Barnardo's for their valuable contribution. Although their report builds on earlier work, including the Corston and Angiolini reports, the statistics and analysis still make stark reading, as other members have highlighted. Up to 4,600 children under the age of two are affected by parental imprisonment each year in Scotland, and two thirds of female prisoners and half of male prisoners report that they have children. Those children are at at least double the risk of developing mental health problems and are three times more likely to be involved in antisocial or delinquent behaviour.

  • Article: Feb 11, 2015

    Thursday 5 February


    Alison McInnes (North East Scotland) (LD): It is a crying shame that, in 2015, girls around the world are subjected to such brutal abuse. It is all the more shaming that it is happening to girls who were born in our country.

    It is hard to bear and to hear that young girls are in pain, isolated and frightened, and that women are living with the daily consequences of FGM, including difficulties with menstruation, pelvic and urinary tract infections, and painful intercourse. For some, there is infertility, and for others, there are difficulties with childbirth and an increased risk of stillbirth or haemorrhage, not to mention the psychological consequences of such a trauma.

  • Article: Feb 11, 2015

    Thursday 5 February 2015


    Alison McInnes (North East Scotland) (LD): I will be brief. On Tuesday, I asked Fergus Ewing why Aberdeen City Council's funding allocation was below the funding floor. He just recited the script that the finance minister has used for the past three years-that the Government made an adjustment three years ago and nothing more needs to happen. I have had to listen to John Swinney say for the past three years that it is important to him not to look again at the settlement.