Wednesday, 5 March 2008

Gnat Committee Convener becomes censor

The Gnat Convener of Holyrood's Rural Affairs & Environment Committee today turned into a censor by banning a legitimate line of questions which Lib Dem MSP Mike Rumbles was about to put to SEPA (Scottish Environment protection Agency) officials who were appearing before the Committee.

Mike was trying to ask questions as to why SEPA officials had withdrawn their objection to proposals to make major alterations to the MacDonald Highland Resort in Aviemore when Gnat MSP Roseanna Cunningham ruled the line of questioning "Out of order", leading to Mike leaving the meeting in protest. The owner of the MacDonald Highland Resort gave the Gnats a £30 000 donation last year.

Mike Rumbles has now lodged a complaint with the Conveners Committee in the Scottish Parliament.

He commented:
"I am outraged at the gagging order imposed by the SNP Convener of the Rural Affairs and Environment Committee.

Our committee is conducting an investigation into flooding. My question to SEPA officials about why they had withdrawn an objection to a planning application in Aviemore clearly fell within the remit of this investigation.

The Convener’s spurious reasoning that the Local Government Committee is examining the Aviemore planning scandal is simply untrue. No other committee is examining this issue. Regardless, that would not justify preventing SEPA officials from answering straightforward questions designed to expose potential flooding risks to this new development in Aviemore.

I am appalled that the SNP Convener has played party politics with such an important issue and I believe that she has risked bringing the Scottish Parliament’s well regarded committee system into disrepute.”


This Is Alba said...

The SEPA officials were meant to be questioned over flood management not the aviemore resort. Mike Rumbles' behaviour equates to that of a drama queen. I suspect that he's not looking forward to catching up with Danny Alexander anytime soon...

Iain Rubie Dale said...

So what you are saying is that SEPA's overnight u-turn needs no investigation?

This Is Alba said...

Allow me to rephrase that; do you understand the difference between flood management and planning applications? Mike Rumbles has no right to sideline the questioning of witnesses in committee and in doing so he breached sections 7.2 & 7.3 of Scottish Parliament standing orders.

If Mike Rumbles has a point to make he should make it properly rather than storming off in a tantrum. But given that local (Lib Dem) MP Danny Alexander was one of the Parliamentarians demanding action from the Ministers to save jobs, I would sincerely doubt that Mr. Rumbles will want to pursue this much longer before causing an even great embarrassment to his party.