Page last updated at 14:41 GMT, Wednesday, 16 June 2010 15:41 UK

Public Petitions Committee

The convener of the Public Petitions Committee has resigned after talking about a member of the audience in a conversation with the committee clerk, on 15 June 2010.

Labour MSP Frank McAveety made comments about a woman during a gap in committee proceedings after 28 minutes, following the consideration of a new petition on Parkinson's disease.

He was heard to say into an open microphone: "There's a very attractive girl in the second row, dark . . . and dusky. We'll maybe put a wee word out for her."

Mr McAveety went on: "She's very attractive looking, nice, very nice, very slim," before adding: "The heat's getting to me."

The MSP also said: "She looks kinda . . . she's got that Filipino look.

"You know . . . the kind you'd see in a Gauguin painting. There's a wee bit of culture."

The Glasgow Shettleston MSP said in a letter to Scottish Labour leader Iain Gray, he would be quitting his role as committee convener and as Labour's sports spokesman.

Mr McAveety had already apologised for any offence caused by his comments.

During the committee campaigners, asked for the MSPs to help force health boards to ensure sufferers of Parkinson's are given their medication on time.

If those with the disease are not given drugs on time their symptoms can become uncontrolled.

Tanith Muller, from Parkinson's UK, told MSPs over 7,500 people had signed her petition which highlighted the "fear" sufferers of the disease have of not getting their medication when they needed it.

The petition calls on all Scotland's health boards to support the 10,000 people with Parkinson's to get their drugs punctually both in hospitals and at home.

Gary Hattie, who also represents the charity, said education was the most important measure that could improve the health provision for sufferers of the disease.

Conservative MSP Nanette Milne said the committee should ask the Scottish government what measures health boards were taking on the issue.

The committee agreed to write to all the Scottish health boards and invite a cross section of them to appear before the committee, at the suggestion of Green MSP Robin Harper.

MSPs then considered new petitions on wind farms being built too close to residential properties and a call for the Scottish government to put in place a review of the Adults with Incapacity (Scotland) Act 2000.

Both petitions were kept open.

Finally, MSPs considered a number of current petitions on a variety of topics including school bus safety, Scottish Water bonuses and honest politicians.

Public Petitions Committee membership

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