As the long summer recess draws to a close, MSPs are getting ready to return to work for the traditionally busy autumn session next Tuesday. The Scottish Government’s proposed programme for the coming year (2018/19) will be announced by the First Minister as soon as Holyrood resumes. This will be followed by responses from the opposition parties and then two days of debate.
The week drew to a close with a further twist in the Alex Salmond story with news that the former SNP leader Alex Salmond has resigned from the party amid allegations of sexual misconduct. In a statement issued late on Wednesday night, he said he wanted to avoid internal division within the SNP, which has faced calls to suspend him. He has denied any wrongdoing, and said he intended to apply to re-join once he had an opportunity to clear his name. Latest on this story: BBC latest Salmond
Brexit is never far away, of course, and warnings about the impact of a Brexit no-deal increased this week and risks to household energy costs were in the spotlight. A report in the Financial Times warns that suppliers are likely to factor Brexit uncertainty into their pricing forecasts, with consumers left to pay the difference. Firms may have to mitigate against the risk of a ‘no deal’ Brexit, with the UK crashing out of the EU and ending its participation in Europe’s internal energy market. An increasingly connected pan-European energy market has allowed companies to better balance supply and demand across the continent, helping to keep down bills.
This news compounds existing warnings over rising food prices, stagnating wages and severe damage to Scotland’s economy – with the SNP reiterating calls for the UK to remain within the Single Market and Customs Union to protect households against the damage of Brexit.
A rare Scottish Government back track emerged this week when they confirmed putting its plans to merge British Transport Police and Police Scotland on hold. Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf MSP said a review would be carried out “to explore further options” on how to deliver the devolution of railway policing. The Scottish Government had already delayed the introduction of the merger, which was due to take place in April, amidst opposition protests. The decision follows fresh warnings from Police Scotland about safety and the practicalities of a merger.
Party Conference Dates:
As the Autumn sessions at Holyrood and Westminster get under way next week, the familiar party conference cycle will start again. First up is the Lib Dems in Brighton, which our political guru Devin Scobie is attending. The full line up is as follows. If you would like more information or agendas, please get in touch:
- 15-18 September – Liberal Democrat autumn conference in Brighton
- 21-22 September – UKIP annual conference in Birmingham
- 23-26 September – Labour Party annual conference in Liverpool
- 30 September – 3 October – Conservative Party annual conference in Birmingham
- 5-7 October – Green Party autumn conference in Bristol
- 7-9 October – SNP annual conference in Glasgow
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