I’m delighted to say that I have just dropped in to the Presiding Officer’s office with a letter bearing the signatures of 5 MSPs, indicating that we wish to form a new Parliamentary group.
Along with my Green colleague Alison Johnstone, I’ll be working with independent MSPs Margo MacDonald, Jean Urquhart and John Finnie to establish a working group under the Parliament’s Standing Orders. It will be a “technical group”, in some ways similar to the working arrangement the Greens have with the EFA group in the European Parliament; we won’t always agree on policies and we won’t vote as a block, but we’ll work togther to make sure we’re better able to represent our voters and the principles on which we were elected.
This grouping will give us representation on the Parliamentary Bureau which decides what business will be brought to Parliament, and as a group equal in size to the Liberal Democrats, we hope it will also providing us with further opportunities to contribute to debates in the Chamber.
As an example, the LibDems have been given a guaranteed slot in FMQs two weeks our of every three since the last election, while Alison and I have very rarely been permitted such opportunities.
The new Independent/Green Group agreed this statement:
“The five of us have discussed ways in which we can work together, and after taking advice from colleagues on our options, have decided to form a grouping to enhance our ability to represent our constituents.
“Although every member of our grouping is pro-independence and believes strongly in a more equal, sustainable Scotland, it is by no means a formal, party-based arrangement; no MSP has changed, or plans on changing, their party affiliation or on taking positions different to those they have taken in the past.
“We all look forward to pushing for an independent, fair and peaceful Scotland both inside and outside of Parliament, and to working with MSPs across the Chamber to achieve these goals.”