Rumbles calls for rule change to close Lochhead loophole

The newly appointed Business Manager for the Scottish Liberal Democrats, Mike Rumbles MSP, will today (Tuesday) seek cross-party agreement at the Parliament’s Business Bureau to allow the whole Parliament to have an early vote on the future of Richard Lochhead as a minister.

Mr Rumbles will ask the Bureau to suspend the procedural rule which restricts debate to the approval of brand new ministers.

Mike Rumbles said:

“The present rules mean it is possible for the First Minister to smuggle the reappointment of Richard Lochhead through Parliament with no debate or any possibility of veto.

“Given the huge failures over CAP it is wrong for this to happen. Farmers across the country are still waiting to receive farm payments that should have been in their bank accounts in December. The £178m IT system that was supposed to deliver them is still not working.

“Parliament automatically gets a vote on the appointment of brand new ministers. It is right to extend this to allow a vote on the continuing ministers.

“On Thursday the First Minister will propose only the names of additional ministers, beyond those already in post. My suggestion will be to open up the debate to consider whether Parliament wishes to endorse Richard Lochhead’s continuation as a minister.

“This is a loophole that allows a minister to be smuggled through Parliament without any scrutiny or approval. It needs to be closed.

“Without this change in the rules, the First Minister can keep failing ministers in place against the wishes of the majority of MSPs and the wider public.”

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