SNP members have passed a topical resolution asking Holyrood not to restrict protests outside of the Parliament building.

We told earlier this week how the Scottish Parliament Corporate Body (SPCB) are set to change Holyrood’s legal status in order to make it easier for police to remove protesters.

The Home Office has been asked to designate the building and its grounds as a “protected site” in the interests of national security, as Westminster in London and the Senedd in Wales are currently.

However, on Sunday, SNP members passed a resolution which rejected the plan and called for the parliament to find an alternative.

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The motion passed substantially with 352 votes in favour, and 152 against.

Members agreed with the resolution that Scotland has a “long tradition of protest and access to parliament”.

It reads: “Conference acknowledges that part of the reasoning given for the order is to be able to prevent any further encampments within the grounds.

“Conference encourages SPCB to seek a less confrontational approach to address any concerns they have of overnight occupation of the grounds of parliament, without inhibiting legitimate protest.

“Conference is concerned that the actions taken by SPCB seek to limit peaceful protest and urges Parliamentarians to call on SPCB that this order should be withdrawn in order that Scotland’s Parliament can continue to be seen to be a fully accessible part of Scottish representative democracy, and accommodate visitors, tourists from around the world, as as well as protestors who wish to make their point directly to the political leaders.”

The National:

Andy Oliver, (pictured) of the Stonehaven SNP branch, introduced the resolution and said he was “bewildered” by press reports that the parliament aims to restrict protest on Holyrood grounds on national security reasons.

He said simply: “The people’s parliament is to be protected from the people of Scotland.”

Oliver added: “There’s a long history of protest and demonstration in Scotland and we should celebrate the access we enjoy, to speak directly to our politicians.

“We should be alarmed at any attempt to restrict that access. Protest should be responsible of course, and we should rely on the police to keep order, but the order being sought could give them the right to arrest anyone simply for being on the grounds.

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“That’s not in line with the vision of Morales, and it’s not what we should countenance in an action by the body charged with running the parliament building.”

Ending with a call for members to support the motion, he said it would send a message to the SPCB that they should “reflect and think again” and find other ways to deal with any temporary encampments.

Carol Drew, who spoke against the motion, pointed out that the SPCB is made up of MSPs who want to bring in the legislation to protect parliamentarians not “to keep peaceful protestors out.”