The usual sitting days of the Parliament are Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.
The highest profile event in the chamber is First Minister’s Questions, when MSPs ask questions to Nicola Sturgeon. There are also opportunities for General and Themed Questions, when MSPs can directly question Cabinet Secretaries and Ministers.
Debates and votes in the chamber are normally based on motions tabled by the Scottish Government, but opposition parties can also raise issues for decision.
MSPs raise issues, initiate debates and propose courses of action by using motions, usually in the form of a short paragraph and other MSPs are able to indicate their support by requesting that their names be added after the text. Some motions by an individual MSP may lead to a debate in the chamber. However, MSPs can also lodge a motion to offer congratulations to an organisation or to highlight an event or issue with no need for a debate. For motions I have tabled, see this page.
Decision Time, which usually takes place at 5 o’clock, is when MSPs vote on the motions discussed that day and any amendments that have been considered during debates.
All Parliamentary debates and committee are streamed live on the Scottish Parliament Website and First Minister’s Questions are shown live on BBC 2 on Thursdays at 12 noon.
Parliamentary committees conduct inquiries into matters within their remit and produce reports that may be debated in the chamber. They scrutinise the Government’s proposals for new laws and regulations. Committees can also put forward their own proposals for new legislation in the form of committee bills. In the course of their inquiries, committee members consider evidence submitted by a wide range of organisations and individuals, commission research or undertake fact-finding visits.
As well as questioning members of the Scottish Government in the chamber, MSPs can submit written questions for answer by Cabinet Secretaries and Ministers on any matter that falls within the responsibilities of the Scottish Government. For questions I have tabled, see this page.