Thursday, 9 October 2014

Justice Secretary survives no confidence motion

[The Cabinet Secretary for Justice, Kenny MacAskill MSP, yesterday survived a motion of no confidence after a debate in the Scottish Parliament. A report in today’s edition of The Herald contains the following:]

MSPs rejected a call for him to resign by 62 votes to 54, with a single abstention. (...)

MSPs voted on a motion tabled by Graeme Pearson, Scottish Labour's justice spokesman, which accused Mr MacAskill of a "failure to provide effective governance of Police Scotland". (...)

Speaking after the vote, Mr Pearson, a former senior police officer, said: "I'm disappointed the SNP have decided to fall in line and failed to put the integrity of the justice system before party politics.” (...)

He added: "While Nicola Sturgeon backed Kenny MacAskill during the vote, it is widely expected she will sack him in a matter of weeks. She is only delaying the inevitable."

Labour, Conservative, LibDem and Green MSPs supported the call for Mr MacAskill to quit. (...)

In a debate before the vote, Mr Pearson said Mr MacAskill had "abandoned his responsibilities in relation to police reform".

He said: "He's tired, lacking ideas and gracelessly refuses to listen, leaving it to a private power struggle between officials to deliver."

He added: "His incompetent handling of the Megrahi affair, corroboration, stop and search, office and control-room closures have all been characterised by his view that everything is now someone else's responsibility.

"His absence in the armed police debate was, in my view, the final straw."

[While there are many valid criticisms of Kenny MacAskill’s tenure of the Justice portfolio, his release of Abdelbaset Megrahi is not one of them, though the manner in which he tackled the issue -- particularly his insistence that the prisoner transfer and compassionate release applications should be dealt with together -- may well be open to criticism.]

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