John Swinney MSP

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John Swinney MSP

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  • Member for: Perthshire North
  • Region: Mid Scotland and Fife
  • Party: Scottish National Party

John is a member of the following Committees:

John is a member of the following Cross-Party Groups:

Parliamentary Activities

Search for other Speeches made by John Swinney

Devolution (Further Powers) Committee 26 February 2015 : Thursday, February 26, 2015
John Swinney

If the order is not approved by the Privy Council on 19 March, I cannot see how 16 and 17-year-olds will be able to vote in the Scottish Parliament elections in 2016. The order will not have been approved, so we will not be able to start our legislative process. If we were to wait until after the UK election for another section 30 order to be approved, that would take some time and our window to successfully legislate and undertake the process of registration would be severely curtailed. Therefore, I think that that would be utterly impractical. It would be completely impractical for us to wait for a bill.



Devolution (Further Powers) Committee 26 February 2015 : Thursday, February 26, 2015
John Swinney

I am not sufficiently familiar with the timetabling and circumstances of the interaction between the House of Lords decision and the meeting of the Privy Council. However, if the order is not passed satisfactorily and does not reach the Privy Council on 19 March, there will be no section 30 order before the United Kingdom election. In that context, I cannot see how it would be practically possible for the Scottish Parliament to legislate were a section 30 order to be passed at a later stage or, if we were to rely on the proposed Scotland bill taking its course, in time for 16 and 17-year-olds to exercise the vote in the 2016 elections. The crucial date to be reached is 19 March, when the Privy Council will meet—that is fundamental to enabling the Scottish Parliament to commence its legislative process.



Devolution (Further Powers) Committee 26 February 2015 : Thursday, February 26, 2015
John Swinney

The concerns and issues that were raised in the House of Lords report about the process that had taken place—or about anything relevant to that—did not take into account the robust process that had been carried out by the committees of the Scottish Parliament and by the Scottish Government.



Devolution (Further Powers) Committee 26 February 2015 : Thursday, February 26, 2015
John Swinney

The issue was highlighted by stakeholders, first, then exhaustively considered by a committee of the Scottish Parliament, which influenced the legislation that the Government produced for the referendum. I have not had any representations from people who are concerned about the way in which the issue was handled for the independence referendum.

It is vital that the issues of data protection, privacy and the protection of vulnerable individuals are all absolutely and comprehensively addressed by the Scottish Parliament. No concerns about those issues were expressed to me in the aftermath of the referendum, which is a tribute to the strength of the scrutiny that was undertaken by parliamentary committees in advance of the referendum. There are lessons to be learned from that process, and there will be strong foundations on which our position should be based in taking forward the order and the forthcoming bill. However, we should not take the view that, just because we got it right in the run-up to the referendum, we will automatically get it right in the run-up to the Scottish parliamentary elections.

We should test the issues concerned with as much rigour as we did previously, and I encourage the committee to do so. The Government’s interest will be the same as the Parliament’s interest, which is to ensure that there is no breach of privacy and that the interests of vulnerable individuals are properly taken into account. That will be reflected in how the Government interacts with the committee on the question. I invite the committee to be very clear in its challenge to the Government around how we progress the legislation.

09:15  

Devolution (Further Powers) Committee 26 February 2015 : Thursday, February 26, 2015
John Swinney

The focus of the draft clauses is on extending the franchise to 16 and 17-year-olds for Scottish parliamentary and local authority elections. That will also be the purpose of the legislation that the Scottish Government will produce.



Devolution (Further Powers) Committee 26 February 2015 : Thursday, February 26, 2015
John Swinney

Again, those issues will be covered by the bill process that the Scottish Parliament will go through. The point that the House of Lords committee missed completely is that the Scottish Parliament will undertake a process of legislation in which it will explore all those questions with its usual rigour. My answer to the point that you raise is, therefore, that all issues will be properly captured by the bill process that we will undertake.



Devolution (Further Powers) Committee 26 February 2015 : Thursday, February 26, 2015
John Swinney

No. On the point about translating the Smith commission recommendations into practice, the view that was settled on in the commission’s report about devolving

“the relevant powers in sufficient time to allow the Scottish Parliament to extend the franchise to 16 and 17 year olds for the 2016 Scottish Parliamentary elections”

is very clearly reflected in what is being taken forward in the order. The additional element is the devolution of responsibility for local authority elections, which the Smith commission provides for in other respects within its wider responsibilities with regard to full powers over Scottish parliamentary and local authority elections following in due course.

The only point of any substance that the House of Lords committee has made relates to the issue of consultation, which will be remedied by the legislation that we introduce. It is not as though this is the last word on the matter. A bill will have to go through the usual channels of analysis and scrutiny that any bill in the Scottish Parliament has to go through, and that will provide the opportunity for a range of stakeholders to make their contributions.

The practical, democratic point at the heart of all this is the Scottish Parliament’s intention to ensure that 16 and 17-year-olds can participate in elections for which we have responsibility. We have form on that, because we have legislated for it on previous occasions for the independence referendum and the pilot exercises for health board elections. I am happy with the agreement that we have reached with the UK Government, and the order will enable us to take forward the proposal in a practical form to reflect the Scottish Parliament’s democratic intentions.



Devolution (Further Powers) Committee 26 February 2015 : Thursday, February 26, 2015
John Swinney

I have seen the report of what used to be called the Subordinate Legislation Committee—one day I will remember what that committee is now called. The powers in article 5 are to deal with something that is certainly not an issue from our perspective. There must be an understanding in the draft order that certain powers over registration, particularly individual electoral registration, will continue to be exercised by UK Government ministers. Article 5 contains a recognition that how we act on that issue must be compatible with the steps that UK ministers take. We have no issue with that and understand the requirement. As I have said, the article is focused on activities regarding individual electoral registration and the digital implications of all that.



Devolution (Further Powers) Committee 26 February 2015 : Thursday, February 26, 2015
The Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Constitution and Economy (John Swinney)

Yes, if I can, convener.

I welcome the committee’s invitation to attend the meeting and to present the draft order, which will transfer competence to the Scottish Parliament to extend the franchise to 16 and 17-year-olds in Scottish Parliament and local government elections.

The terms of the draft order that you are considering this morning have been agreed by the Scottish and United Kingdom Governments to give effect to the recommendation at paragraph 25 of the Smith commission report, which calls on the UK Parliament

“to devolve the relevant powers in sufficient time to allow the Scottish Parliament to extend the franchise to 16 and 17 year olds for the 2016 Scottish Parliamentary elections”.

The powers that are to be devolved through the section 30 order, subject to agreement in this Parliament and at Westminster, are narrowly focused on enfranchising 16 and 17-year-olds. Full powers over Scottish Parliament and local government elections will follow later, through the proposed Scotland bill.

The Scottish Government is satisfied that the draft order that is before the committee will enable the Scottish Government to introduce legislation to lower the voting age for future elections for the Scottish Parliament and for local government elections in Scotland. The draft order also transfers the power to legislate to make provision about registration in order to give effect to any reduction in the minimum voting age. That will allow us to build on one of the key democratic triumphs of the referendum campaign.

As I indicated in the chamber on Tuesday, those of us who witnessed the engagement and enthusiasm of young people as they exercised their democratic rights saw the value of their participation in and their impact on the process. Since the referendum, I have been delighted to see unanimous support across the Parliament for lowering the voting age to 16, and I hope that that support will be demonstrated by agreement to this section 30 order in time for it to be considered by the Privy Council on 19 March.

At the start of the week, the House of Lords Select Committee on the Constitution published a report on the order. Prompted by your question on Tuesday about the report, convener, Parliament was given the opportunity to make its views known on the points that were raised by the House of Lords committee. The views that were expressed on Tuesday were clear and unambiguous: the decision on whether—and if so, how—to lower the voting age is one for the Scottish Parliament to make. Subject to parliamentary approval of the draft order, the Scottish Government will shortly produce legislation setting out detailed proposals to achieve that aim, and the parliamentary stages that the legislation will go through will provide Parliament with the usual opportunity to consider the details, to seek public views and to debate our proposals.

I look forward to discussing those issues with the committee.



Meeting of the Parliament 26 February 2015 : Thursday, February 26, 2015
John Swinney

As I shared with Parliament during the budget process, the total repayment on PFI contracts in 2014-15, for the whole of Scotland, is £952 million. It will breach the £1 billion level in 2017-18.

What I cannot understand is why my predecessors in office decided to saddle the country with PFI debts when they were leaving budgets unspent in the possession of Her Majesty’s Treasury at exactly the same time. When we came to office, £1.5 billion of expenditure was unspent by our predecessors. That demonstrates a lack of financial competence by our predecessors, and it shows their lack of interest in investing sustainably in the interests of our country.

Vote DetailMSP VoteResult

S4M-12423.1 Alex Rowley: Commission on Local Tax Reform—As an amendment to motion S4M-12423 in the n
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Not VotedCarried

S4M-12423 Marco Biagi: Commission on Local Tax Reform—That the Parliament supports the establishment
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Not VotedCarried

S4M-12385 Liz Smith: STEM Education in Scottish Schools—That the Parliament agrees that a solid grou
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Not VotedCarried

S4M-12395.1 Fergus Ewing: An Energy Strategy for Scotland—As an amendment to motion S4M-12395 in the
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Not VotedCarried

S4M-12395.2 Patrick Harvie: An Energy Strategy for Scotland—As an amendment to motion S4M-12395 in t
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Not VotedDefeated

S4M-12395 Murdo Fraser: An Energy Strategy for Scotland—That the Parliament notes with concern the l
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Not VotedCarried

S4M-12385.3 Alasdair Allan: STEM Education in Scottish Schools—As an amendment to motion S4M-12385 i
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Not VotedCarried

S4M-12382.3 Mary Fee: Building Scotland’s Infrastructure for the Future—As an amendment to motion S4
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NoDefeated

S4M-12382.1 Gavin Brown: Building Scotland’s Infrastructure for the Future—As an amendment to motion
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NoDefeated

S4M-12382.2 Willie Rennie: Building Scotland’s Infrastructure for the Future—As an amendment to moti
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NoDefeated

Search for other Motions lodged by John Swinney
EventIdTypeSub TypeMSP NameParty NameConstituencyRegionTitleItemTextFormattedAnswer DateAnswerStatusIdExpectedAnswerDateAnsweredByMspApprovedDateSubmissionDateMeetingDateProductionStatusIdRecordStatusIdStatus DateOnBehalfOfConsideredForMembersBusinessCrossPartySupportRegisteredInterestSupportCountSupportDateIsEventLinkCurrentMinister
Motion S4M-12469: John Swinney, Perthshire North, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 26/02/2015 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-12468: John Swinney, Perthshire North, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 26/02/2015 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-12467: John Swinney, Perthshire North, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 26/02/2015 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-12466: John Swinney, Perthshire North, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 26/02/2015 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-12465: John Swinney, Perthshire North, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 26/02/2015 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-12464: John Swinney, Perthshire North, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 26/02/2015 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-12439: John Swinney, Perthshire North, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 25/02/2015 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-12438: John Swinney, Perthshire North, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 25/02/2015 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-12437: John Swinney, Perthshire North, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 25/02/2015 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-12366: John Swinney, Perthshire North, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 19/02/2015 Show Full Motion >>
This Member currently holds a ministerial post. First Minister and Ministers cannot ask the Government questions which is why no recent questions are displaying here. Please use the full search to find details of previous questions by this Member.
EventIdTypeSub TypeMSP NameParty NameConstituencyRegionTitleItemTextFormattedAnswer DateAnswerStatusIdExpectedAnswerDateAnsweredByMspApprovedDateSubmissionDateMeetingDateProductionStatusIdRecordStatusIdStatus DateOnBehalfOfConsideredForMembersBusinessCrossPartySupportRegisteredInterestSupportCountSupportDateIsEventLinkCurrentMinister
Question S2O-12498: John Swinney, North Tayside, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 21/03/2007 Show Full Question >>
Question S2W-31491: John Swinney, North Tayside, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 29/01/2007 Show Full Question >>
Question S2W-31492: John Swinney, North Tayside, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 29/01/2007 Show Full Question >>
Question S2W-31428: John Swinney, North Tayside, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 26/01/2007 Show Full Question >>
Question S2W-31427: John Swinney, North Tayside, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 26/01/2007 Show Full Question >>
Question S2W-31403: John Swinney, North Tayside, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 25/01/2007 Show Full Question >>
Question S2W-31400: John Swinney, North Tayside, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 25/01/2007 Show Full Question >>
Question S2W-31399: John Swinney, North Tayside, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 25/01/2007 Show Full Question >>
Question S2W-31401: John Swinney, North Tayside, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 25/01/2007 Show Full Question >>
Question S2W-31402: John Swinney, North Tayside, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 25/01/2007 Show Full Question >>

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