Patrick Harvie calls Holyrood security entry system a ‘dystopian nightmare’

Patrick Harvie has compared new security entrance requirements at Holyrood to “something out of a dystopian nightmare”.

At the end of last year, two-factor authentication was installed at Holyrood to boost security.

It means MSPs and parliamentary staff are required to provide a fingerprint scan along with a biometric card to get inside the building.

Speaking in the chamber on Thursday, Scottish Greens co-convener Mr Harvie called for the system to be scrapped, claiming it was making access to the building more complicated.

“My natural instinct is to feel that the expectation of having my fingerprints taken and having to present biometrics to go into my place of work is something out of a dystopian nightmare,” he said.

“It doesn’t work, it takes ages … I’m all in favour of technology if it’s going to make things easier but this is technology that’s making getting in and out of the building worse, more difficult and more time consuming.

“If it doesn’t work, can we just rip it out?”

Speaking on behalf of the Scottish Parliament’s Corporate Body (SPCB), Scottish Conservative interim leader Jackson Carlaw said that queues had been forming at entry gates for reasons including a software issue, but also because some card holders had not yet “perfected their technique” in using the new system.

Mr Carlaw highlighted the flaws of the previous system, and said: “Quite inappropriately, many people were handing back their pass to allow other people into the building who didn’t have a pass and that presented serious security risks.

“The two-factor authentication is designed to make access into the building more secure.

“The biometrics are exclusively contained within the card and not held anywhere else so there is no breach of personal data that Mr Harvie needs to be concerned about.

“Yes, it may take some time for us to perfect the system for it to work efficiently, but it is there to ensure that all of the public access points are as secure as they have to be to ensure we can all operate safely within the building at all times”.