Page last updated at 17:46 GMT, Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Topical questions

Education Secretary Michael Russell was accused of trying to "bully and intimidate" college staff during topical question time on 13 November 2012.

Labour MSP Hugh Henry said he had been contacted by FE staff "who believe that the Cabinet Secretary is behaving inappropriately and that he is attempting to bully and intimidate".

It emerged at the weekend that Mr Russell called on the chairman of Glasgow's Stow College, Kirk Ramsay, to consider his position after a private conversation about controversial college reforms was recorded and distributed.

Mr Russell said "the issue is that in a meeting of chairs and principals a recording was made with a surreptitious device, which alas nobody was told it was being recorded and no permission was sought from anybody that was present.

"I think that did lead and has led to a breakdown in the relationship that should that should exist between the individual concerned and not just myself but many of their colleagues".

Mr Henry called on the minister to apologise - an invitation he declined.

Mr Russell has insisted he was right to call for Mr Ramsay to stand down

The education secretary said: "the Scottish government believes that the college sector, like any other, needs to be led and governed by people of the highest quality and standards, chief amongst their attributes must always be mutual trust and respect

He added "The Scottish government expects all those who lead and govern our colleges to conduct themselves in a way which is consistent with that approach".

SNP MSP Gordon MacDonald asked Transport Minister Keith Brown what plans were being made to introduce a high speed rail link between Edinburgh and Glasgow.

Mr Brown said "we've carried out a high level assessment demonstrating that a new high speed rail link could be built by 2024 with journey times of less than 30 minutes".

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