Page last updated at 10:47 GMT, Monday, 26 November 2012

First minister's questions - 29 November 2012

Alex Salmond called for cross party talks and the setting up of an independent implementation group to take the recommendations in Lord Leveson's report into press regulation, during first minister's questions on 29 November 2012.

Mr Salmond proposed, if agreed to, the group should be chaired by a current or recent Court of Session judge with five non politician members to look at putting into practice the Leveson proposals in the context of Scots law.

He said: "I believe it is important to achieve cross party agreement in Scotland on the best way forward."

The first minister said MSPs would have the opportunity to debate the result of the Leveson inquiry next week.

Scottish Labour leader Johann Lamont said: "The first minister is the only leader of a mainstream political party to host Rupert Murdoch after the stomach turning revelation that one of his newspapers hacked (murdered schoolgirl) Millie Dowler's phone.

"Does he understand that his relationship with Murdoch undermines any confidence we can have in him to set up a regulatory system for a free press?"

The first minister replied: "I was hoping that Johann Lamont would kind of rise to the occasion of the issues which are before us."

"We could debate this in terms of Gordon Brown's 17 meetings when he was prime minister with Rupert Murdoch over a period of three years, against my five over a period of five years.

"We could talk about going in the back door of Downing Street as opposed to releasing a press statement immediately after the meeting.

"We could do all of that, but isn't it rather better we address the big issue facing the country."

Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson said there were 2,000 fewer nurses now than when Mr Salmond came to power and asked how much the government was spending on agency and bank nurses, going later to say the sum was £94.5m up £4m or "about eight Ryder cup visits".

Mr Salmond hit back saying there were 4,000 more staff in the NHS now than when five years ago praised the staff for their "extraordinary performance" in the health service annual report.

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Will Rennie said it appeared the chief constable of the Scotland's new police force and chair of the police board were in direct conflict about who should be running the new force which he said was in "disarray".

Mr Salmond conceded there was "creative tensions" between Chief Constable Stephen House and Vic Emery, but said they would be fully resolved in time for the establishment on the new force.

The first minister later announced the government would pilot a confidential alert line for NHS staff, following a BBC Scotland investigation into hospital safety.

The BBC Scotland investigation revealed 300 previously unpublished health board reports into adverse events including the deaths of 105 patients.

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