Page last updated at 01:24 GMT, Friday, 18 January 2013

MSPs unanimously back a motion on biodiversity

MSPs voted unanimously to back a motion on biodiversity from the Rural Affairs, Climate Change and Environment Committee on 17 January 2013.

Prior to decision time Labour MSP Margaret McDougal raised a point of order saying that a 10,000 signature petition calling for a "for decisive action" to save a scientific research centre on the Isle of Cumbrae, had not been handed to the first minister, but insteatd to an outside body.

The University Marine Biological Station Millport could close by the end of the year following the loss of £400,000 annual funding.

The University of London, which owns the station, will decide at the end of the month whether to keep it open.

Campaigners have attracted support from residents, academics and students.

Ms McDougal said the petition, which had been handed to Education Secretary Michael Russell and was addressed to First Minister Alex Salmond, was handed to a representative of the University of London by Mr Russell.

The Labour MSP asked the Presiding Officer to confirm whether Mr Russell's action were acceptable.

Deputy Presiding Officer Elaine Smith said she would reflect on this.

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