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All Speeches

  • 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.

  • Article: Jan 29, 2015

    Wednesday 28 January


    Alison McInnes (North East Scotland) (LD): I am so pleased that the Cabinet Secretary for Justice has reflected on the plan for HMP Inverclyde and listened to the progressive voices that were raised against it. The Howard League for Penal Reform, Families Outside and many others across civic Scotland played an important role in securing that outcome. His decision has presented us with another opportunity to do things differently and to redefine the experiences of women who come into contact with our justice system.

  • Article: Jan 19, 2015

    Tuesday 13 January 2015


    Alison McInnes (North East Scotland) (LD): The Justice Committee's report on the SSI is laden with provisos and caveats-in my view, far too many for comfort. Regular rigorous independent scrutiny of our prisons is essential in order to ensure that proper standards of care and decency are maintained. The proposals do not ensure that monitors will be truly independent; instead, independent prison monitors will sit in a hierarchy and their work will be directed by salaried co-ordinators who will, in turn, be overseen by Her Majesty's chief inspector of prisons for Scotland.

  • Article: Jan 19, 2015

    Thursday 15 January 2015


    Alison McInnes (North East Scotland) (LD): I gladly join members across the chamber in commending all those who work in many different ways to keep us safe.

    My Liberal Democrat colleagues and I are incredibly grateful for the work that the emergency services do for all our constituents around Scotland. Police officers, ambulance crews, firefighters, doctors, nurses and many more routinely put the needs of the public before their own. Each time that they start a shift, they are prepared to deal with unexpected, distressing and traumatic situations; incidents that the rest of us might never encounter at all-we certainly hope that we do not.