Page last updated at 18:04 GMT, Thursday, 22 November 2012

Colleges debate 2

Scottish Liberal Democrat education spokesman Liam McArthur said the actions of the education secretary Mike Russell had undermined the Scottish government's efforts to deal with the issues facing colleges.

Mr McArthur was closing the second part of the debate on colleges for his party on 22 November 2012.

On 20 November 2012 Mr Russell offered a "full and unreserved" apology for using the wrong budget figure, which came after an apology from the first minister the preceding week.

Mr McArthur told the chamber Mr Russell had done damage to himself and his government and said the education secretary was "weakened and compromised".

Scottish Conservative MSP Gavin Brown said it was an SNP political choice to reduce the college budget, as the Scottish budget was facing a cash terms cut of 0.5% but the college budget was being cut by just over 6%.

Labour Education spokesperson Hugh Henry said Mike Russell reminded him of Sean Penn, who starred in the film "Dead Man Walking" saying if the education secretary had any integrity he would step down.

Closing the debate Education Secretary Mike Russell said the debate had been "unpleasant" not just for him, but for the Scottish Parliament, the college sector and country.

Mr Russell accused the opposition parties of engaging in a "political bun fight" with substantial misrepresentations made for political reasons.

He added the debate had "dishonoured" the political progress, echoing Mr Salmond's point that their apologies would have been accepted in any other chamber in the world.

Mr Russell finished by insisting he was "going on" as was the government and the process of college reform.

The parliament passed the Scottish government motion with 62 MSPs backing it and 53 voting against it.

The first part of the debate can be viewed below:

Colleges debate 1


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