John Swinney to face FMQs after Michael Matheson handed record ban

First Minister John Swinney will face questions following a record ban being handed to the SNP's former health minister Michael Matheson.

John Swinney is answering FMQs just a day after the Scottish Parliament handed Michael Matheson the longest-ever suspension from Holyrood.

The former health secretary will be barred from the Parliament for 27 sitting days and will lose his salary for 57 days after MSPs voted in favour of the ban over an £11,000 bill he racked up on his parliamentary iPad.

The First Minister had previously voiced his opposition to the sanctions and called for an independent review into the complaints process, arguing the probe into Matheson ran the risk of being “prejudged”.

The suspension takes effect from Thursday, after 64 MSPs voted to back the recommendations of the Standards Procedures and Public Appointments Committee, while none voted against and 63 abstained.

An SNP amendment which chided Tory member of the committee Annie Wells for comments she made about Matheson before she voted on the issue was passed by 68 votes to 56 with two abstentions.

The Scottish Tories later failed to pass a motion calling for Matheson to resign.

MSPs voted by 68 votes to 55 against the move, instead passing a Green amendment which removed the majority of the Tory motion and called for reform of the process for considering sanctions for MSPs as well as another from Scottish Labour calling for a process to recall MSPs.

Swinney is also facing questions from Scottish Labour on whether he backs a presumption against oil and gas.

The policy – which was included in the Scottish Government’s draft energy strategy – would see Edinburgh oppose new exploration in the North Sea unless strict tests are met.

But the First Minister has so far not committed to keeping the policy when the final document is published.

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