Page last updated at 10:53 GMT, Thursday, 1 July 2010 11:53 UK

Crofting Reform Bill debate part 1

The Crofting Reform Bill was passed at decision time.

Earlier MSPs voted to back plans for the creation of a new register of crofts, during the final parliamentary scrutiny of the Crofting Reform Bill , on 1 July 2010.

The legislation is designed to address absenteeism and the neglect of croft land. Crofting is a form of regulated land tenure, unique to the Highlands and Islands of Scotland, which is subject to the Crofting Acts.

There are almost 18,000 crofts in Scotland, home to 33,000 people.

The Conservatives and Liberal Democrats expressed concerns that the new register would be expensive and bureaucratic, but Environment Minister Roseanna Cunningham won the vote by 66 votes to 59 after telling Holyrood the benefits of the register outweighed the costs

Debate on the bill was briefly suspended after a row broke out in the chamber between the deputy presiding officer and some MSPs.

Trish Godman waved through an amendment to the bill, which the Scottish government had wanted a vote to be taken on.

Environment Minister Roseanna Cunningham insisted she had said no, when Ms Godman asked if the chamber agreed on the amendment.

There followed angry exchanges and finally a call for business to be suspended.

Ms Godman eventually agreed to a five minute break but insisted she made her decision in good faith and had not heard the minister.

She did not allow the vote to take place and carried on with further amendments to the bill.


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