Holyrood expected to set up Covid-19 scrutiny committee

A new Holyrood committee to scrutinise the Scottish Government’s response to Covid-19 is expected to be established.

Presiding Officer Ken Macintosh has written to all MSPs to inform them that the overseeing panel will be set up, subject to approval from the Scottish Parliament, and last throughout the duration of emergency legislation.

It would be made up of nine members – four SNP, two Scottish Conservative, one Scottish Labour, one Scottish Green and one Scottish Lib Dem.

The committee’s convener would be a Tory and the deputy would be Labour.

Mr Macintosh said: “As you would expect, we have given this proposal detailed consideration and consulted with the Conveners Group to ensure that this committee complements rather than overlaps with the work of existing committees and we are confident that the remit and structure we are proposing does just that.

“The fine details, including membership, are still to be confirmed and will be included in a motion on committee establishment to be published early next week.”

The remit would be to consider and report on the Scottish Government’s response to Covid-19, including the operation of powers under legislation designed to tackle the crisis.

Parliament is due to resume on Tuesday and MSPs will also be asked to allow committees to hold formal meetings online.

Mr Macintosh added: “Building on and learning from our earlier experiences, the Parliamentary Bureau is continuing to look at other options for remote plenary sessions as well as arrangements for meeting safely at Holyrood, including social distancing measures and proxy voting, for when we do need to come together in person.

“Committees have also been meeting informally online over the past two weeks and there are plans for a number of committees to hold formal meetings virtually from next week to discuss the impact of the Covid-19 outbreak on key priority areas within their remits.”

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