Tag Archives: The Scottish Government

Scottish Government back the Burrell

The Scottish Government has awarded £5m towards refurbishment of the Burrell Collection to help with their plans.

The ‘internationally significant’ museum has received support from the Scottish Government ahead of a major modernisation programme.

The Burrell Collection closed in October 2016 for a £66 million refurbishment of the A-listed building. The project – the Burrell Renaissance – is essential to ensuring the site can continue to house the 9,000-piece collection, enabling expanded display space while improving facilities and the visitor experience.

Announcing £5 million Scottish Government funding towards the cost of the project, Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop said: “The Burrell Collection is a world-class and internationally significant museum, with many rare and wonderful items. Not only that, but the building in Pollok Country Park is also a much-loved architectural gem.

“Currently only 20% of the collection is on public display at any one time and these substantial refurbishments will enable a much more significant part of the collection to be exhibited.

“I am pleased we can contribute £5 million towards ensuring that the building becomes a fitting 21stcentury home for the Burrell and I look forward to the museum reopening in 2020.”

Councillor David McDonald, Chair of Glasgow Life and Depute Leader of Glasgow City Council, said: “This is fantastic news and we are very grateful to the Scottish Government for what is a ringing endorsement of our ambitious plans for the refurbishment and redisplay of the Burrell Collection. Sir William’s great legacy has been described as the greatest gift a city has ever received and we have a duty to protect and promote the collection in the years ahead.

“Our plans will provide a world-class home for the 9,000 treasures, massively increasing access and enjoyment of the collection for generations to come.”

Leverndale patient missing


Yesterday 10 March 2016 Mr Lee McFadyen a restricted patient, absconded from Leverndale Hospital, 510 Crookston Road, Glasgow from a period of unescorted suspension of detention in the community.

Mr McFadyen is 29 years old and is described as being 5ft 10 in height, of medium build with a fair complexion, brown eyes and dark brown/black hair. He was last seen wearing a black parka jacket with a burgundy scarf, navy t-shirt, blue denims, royal blue Nike sweater and royal blue Adidas trainers.

Authorities are anxious to trace this man as soon as possible. If you see him you should contact Police Scotland on 101 or your local police office.

Energy Minister wants fast action from the energy companies


This is the text of a letter which Energy Minister Fergus Ewing sent earlier this week to the Big Six energy companies demanding quicker action on prices. The big six are ScottishPower, SSE, E-on, EDF, RWE/Npower, Centrica and Energy UK.

Dear Sir

The price of oil on world markets has moved substantially lower in recent weeks in response to changes in the pattern of global demand and production. The Scottish Government is working closely with the oil and gas sector to understand the implications of these changes for activity and employment in the North Sea.

Another aspect of falling oil prices is, of course, the consequent impact on energy prices more generally. Clearly, the wholesale price of energy, for both electricity and gas, is linked closely to the world price of oil and energy customers are therefore entitled to know when they can be expected to feel the benefit.

In the interests of transparency and fairness, I would be grateful to understand from you when and to what extent the lower oil price is likely to be reflected in lower energy bills for households and businesses in Scotland. I also seek your reassurance that any cost savings will be passed on to customers at the earliest opportunity and to the fullest extent possible.

I do not ask you to reveal any commercially sensitive information but I would be grateful for your high-level perspective as an industry leader on the expected scale and timing of oil price impacts on domestic and business energy bills.

I am writing in similar terms to the Chief Executives of the UK’s other leading energy suppliers and I look forward to your response.


Fergus Ewing

Ebola case confirmed in Glasgow

A confirmed case of Ebola has been diagnosed in Glasgow.

NHS Scotland infectious diseases procedures have now been put into effect and the patient has been isolated and is receiving treatment in the specialist Brownlee Unit for Infectious Diseases on the Gartnavel Hospital campus.

The patient is a health care worker who was helping to combat the disease in west Africa. They returned to Scotland from Sierra Leone late last night via Casablanca and London Heathrow, arriving into Glasgow Airport on a British Airways flight at around 11.30pm.

The patient was admitted to hospital early in the morning after feeling unwell and was placed into isolation at 7.50am. All possible contacts with the patient are now being investigated and anyone deemed to be at risk will be contacted and closely monitored. However, having been diagnosed in the very early stages of the illness, the risk to others is considered extremely low.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has chaired a meeting of the Scottish Government Resilience Committee (SGoRR) to ensure all necessary steps are being taken, and has also spoken to Prime Minister David Cameron.

According to UK and Scottish protocol for anyone diagnosed with Ebola, the patient will be transferred to the high level isolation unit in the Royal Free hospital, London, as soon as possible. This is where the facilities, staff and systems are in place to ensure the best quality and safest care.

While public health experts have emphasised that the risks are negligible, a telephone helpline has been set up for anyone who was on the Heathrow to Glasgow flight last night.

The number is: 08000 858531

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said:

“Our first thoughts at this time must be with the patient diagnosed with Ebola and their friends and family. I wish them a speedy recovery.

“Scotland has been preparing for this possibility from the beginning of the outbreak in West Africa and I am confident that we are well prepared.

“We have the robust procedures in place to identify cases rapidly. Our health service also has the expertise and facilities to ensure that confirmed Ebola cases such as this are contained and isolated effectively minimising any potential spread of the disease.

“Scotland’s NHS has proved it is well able to cope with infectious diseases in the past, such as swine flu, and I am confident we will be able to respond effectively again.”

Government invokes conservation order to protect Firth of Clyde


An urgent Marine Conservation Order (MCO) is being brought in to protect fragile ecosystems in the South Arran area of the Firth of Clyde.

This is the first time these powers in the Marine (Scotland) Act 2010 have been used.

The move comes after a recent breach of the voluntary fisheries management arrangement in place at the South Arran Marine Protected Area, which was designated in July this year. Fishermen had agreed to avoid an area that is home to delicate maerl beds under the water, which are a nursery habitat for young scallops as well as other juvenile fish and shellfish.

Scottish Environment Secretary Richard Lochhead said:

“Scotland’s network of Marine Protected Areas has been put in place to safeguard our most iconic marine species and habitats. We take the responsibility for the protection of these 30 sites extremely seriously and that is why I have made this urgent MCO for South Arran.

“Maerl beds are crucial to the biodiversity of the marine environment in this area and scientific evidence shows that dredging can destroy significant proportions of these delicate habitats in just one pass of the gear. Such activity is in breach of the voluntary agreement between Marine Scotland and the fishing industry and so it is disappointing to hear about this incident.

“I’m heartened to hear that the voluntary agreements in operation in other MPA sites around Scotland are working well so far. Our swift action in this case underlines how committed the Scottish Government is to maintain and enhance our marine environment so that is remains a prized assed for future generations.”

The MCO will come into force at one second past midnight on October 1, 2014 and there will be no impact on the vessels that were following the voluntary arrangements for South Arran.

First Minister opens the 2014 Ryder Cup

Opening the 2014 Ryder Cup at Gleneagles with a crowd of spectators of around 20,000 the First Minister Alex Salmond said:

“This is only the second time that the Ryder Cup has come to Scotland, the Home of Golf.

“But in a very real sense the Ryder Cup is coming home to Gleneagles.

“For it was here in 1921 that the very first intercontinental challenge match was played which became the forerunner for tournament we have today.

“In 1921 there were two native born Scots in the British team. There were four native born Scots in the American team – allowing Scotland to claim victory regardless of the outcome!

“In 1921 the tournament was played for a prize fund of 1000 guineas.

“Four score and thirteen years later, 24 of the finest players in the world will play for no monetary reward whatsoever.

“They will play instead for love of country, continent and respect for the game of golf.

“That ladies and gentlemen is what makes the Ryder Cup special – the greatest golf tournament in the world.

“It is therefore right and proper that over these next three days these great players will compete over a course designed by Jack Nicklaus, the greatest golfer in history.

“But as he would be first to acknowledge while Mr Nicklaus designed the course, it was God who designed Gleneagles.

“So, in this special place at this special time let me say this.

“On behalf of the Government, our outstanding partners in the European tour led by George O Grady and the people of Scotland.

“To both captains and to both teams, welcome to Gleneagles. Welcome to Scotland”.

Nicola Sturgeon announces candidacy for leadership

As the membership of the SNP rises to 60,000 Nicola Sturgeon MSP made a speech today confirming her candidacy for the leadership of the party and thus to be the next First Minister. This is the text of the speech:

I am announcing today my candidacy to be the next leader of the SNP and the next First Minister of Scotland. I have also notified the SNP National Secretary of my intention to stand down as Depute Leader at the Party conference – thereby allowing a contest for that post to take place in parallel with the election for leader.

To be the First Minister of my country, especially at this exciting and optimistic time, would be both a great honour – without doubt, the greatest honour – and an immense responsibility. 

I am putting myself forward for two simple reasons: I want to serve my Party and my country. And I believe I am the best person for the job. 

I also hope that my candidacy, should it succeed, will send a strong message to every girl and young woman in Scotland – no matter your background or what you want to achieve in life, in Scotland in 2014 there is no glass ceiling on ambition. 

When I joined the SNP back in the mid 1980s, there was no Scottish Parliament. 

Our standing in the polls was barely in double figures.

An SNP membership card back then was no passport to high political office – in fact it was often a basis for severe criticism

Listening to the No campaign over the last few weeks, it seemed that some things never change!

But what has changed is that today we are Scotland’s largest political party – we have doubled in size in the last week alone.

We hold a majority in the Scottish Parliament

We are – and for the last 7 years have been – Scotland’s government.

This is a party, and we are a nation, on the rise.

That I stand here today seeking to be the second SNP incumbent of the office of First Minister is testament to how far we have come and a tribute to the extraordinary achievements and leadership of the man I aim to succeed.

Alex Salmond transformed the SNP and as First Minister he has made Scotland a better place. He also helped to make me the person and politician I am today. 

The personal debt I owe him is immeasurable. 

I will be proud – if given the opportunity – to build on his remarkable legacy. 

However, at risk of stating the obvious, I am not Alex Salmond. 

His are big boots to fill, but if given the opportunity to lead, I will wear my own shoes – and they will certainly have higher heels! 

I will be my own person and set my own course.

We would not have come so far as a nation without Alex’ vision, tenacity and statesmanship.

But the challenges and opportunities of tomorrow require a different approach. They will demand the ability, not just to argue a case with determination and conviction, but also to reach out, to work with others and seek common cause on the issues that unite us.

I believe as strongly today as I did last week that independence is the best future for Scotland. And I am more convinced than ever that we will became an independent country. But that will happen only when the people of Scotland choose that course in the polling booth.

I accept that last week the majority did not choose that future at this time. 1.6 million people is a remarkable number – but it wasn’t enough.

So my task will be to lead Scotland into an exciting new chapter in our national story. To unite our nation around a common purpose so that we can write that story together – and do so in a way that lives up to the hopes, aspirations and expectations of a country that is, on both sides, engaged, inspired and empowered by the referendum experience. 

As a candidate for First Minister of all of Scotland – not just for those who voted Yes – my responsibility is to look at the result of the referendum and find, not the dividing line, but the interests that unite us.

To reach out and make common cause, not just with those in the Yes coalition of which I was so proud to be part, but with all those who want progressive change in our country, even if they are not yet persuaded of the case for independence.

The fact is that those who voted Yes, combined with those who voted No on the promise of substantial extra powers, form a powerful majority for real and meaningful change in this country. 

It is that change that must now be defined and then delivered.

If I am elected to lead, I pledge today that the SNP and the Scottish Government will be full, active, genuine and constructive participants in that process of change, wherever it happens – in Holyrood, in meeting rooms and, most importantly of all, in discussions across Scotland.

There will be no sitting on the sidelines. 

But let me be equally clear what I believe Scotland expects of that process in return. 

First, that it is open and participative – in short, that it lives up to the democratic example of the referendum. It cannot be left to the Westminster establishment. The role of the Scottish Parliament must be respected and the voice of the Scottish people listened to. The days of back room deals are over.

An early statement of good faith would be a commitment to immediately pass control of its own elections to the Scottish Parliament – so that we can ensure that 16/17 year olds, whose participation so enhanced our referendum, retain their right to vote in all subsequent elections. I will today write to the Prime Minister asking him to agree this change.

Second, that it delivers new powers for Scotland capable of making a real difference to people’s lives. We must seize the opportunity to design a comprehensive and coherent package that will allow us to create jobs, ensure proper fiscal accountability, protect our public services, deliver fair social security and tackle the inequality that scars our nation.

It must be a package that maximises devolution in substance not just in rhetoric. That is what I believe the majority of people of this country now want. 

Through Gordon Brown – speaking we were told with the authority of each of the parties in the Better Together campaign – the promise was clear and unmistakable.

This package would be ‘home rule’ and ‘something near to federalism’.

Well let me say this to Westminster on behalf of Scotland – it had better be. 

If the UK parties move forward in that spirit, they will have, in me, a willing partner for progress.

If not, they will pay a heavy political price – not because I say so but because the people of Scotland will make it so.

So the process of strengthening and empowering the Scottish Parliament must now get underway in earnest.

But let me also make this clear – as that process unfolds, as First Minister it will also be my job to govern wisely and creatively using the powers we already have.

The people of Scotland have made clear that the need for new powers is urgent and irresistible.

But as First Minister, my responsibility will also be to use those powers we already have to make life better – now – for those we serve. 

Any Government I lead will always take seriously its responsibility to make the very best of the limited powers at Holyrood, whilst also arguing Scotland’s case for greater authority and the tools capable of transforming our nation. Those positions are not mutually exclusive – rather they are the essence of responsible national leadership.

My guiding ethos is a social democratic one and that will be the ethos of any government I lead. I believe that a strong, sustainable economy with a vibrant business community, and a fair society with strong public services are two sides of the same coin. We cannot succeed and flourish as a society without advancing both. 

My Scottish nationalism is one of aspiration and hope. If elected, I will see it as my job to help Scottish business grow, to champion Scotland as a place to invest and to support well paid sustainable employment as the central plank of our future prosperity. 

Only with a strong economy can we tackle, effectively and for the long term, the deep rooted social ills which drove me into politics in the first place and which came to light so starkly in the recent campaign.

I have emerged from that campaign with a sense of two over-riding priorities.

First, we must find new ways to harness the democratic energy unleashed by the referendum, not just in our big constitutional debates, but in our day to day decision-making as a nation. It was clear to me on my travels around the country that for many people – particularly those in our island and rural communities – the decisions that shape their lives feel too distant. We must find ways of bringing them closer and handing them back.

It is time to make genuine participative democracy a reality.

And secondly, with whatever powers and resources we have, we must renew and recharge our efforts to tackle the poverty and inequality that blights the lives of too many of our people. So many people who have been so let down by society voted Yes last week because for the first time in their lives it gave them hope of something better. Yes didn’t win but their hope must not die. 

They need to know that there remains a purpose in politics, a point in voting – that it can and will lead to a better future for them and their children.

If the SNP chooses me as its leader and the Scottish Parliament then elects me as First Minister of our country, these priorities of democracy and equality will be at the heart of all that I do.

It is hard to overstate the sense of opportunity that I feel as I contemplate what will be – if my Party and Parliament so decides – the biggest challenge and greatest privilege of my life. If elected, I will bring to this job seven years of experience in government but also a real sense of new and different possibilities. I can’t wait to get to work. 

For now, though, I look forward to subjecting myself to the democratic process of my Party – a process enhanced by the more than 30,000 new members who have joined us in the last few days – and asking them to do me the honour of electing me to be their leader. 

Call for bike hubs for Scotland

FREE PIC- Bike Hubs Demand 01

Activists from Scottish transport campaigning group Transform Scotland this morning called for a nationwide network of interchange bike hubs across Scotland.  

Transform Scotland has today launched a new report, ‘Interchange’, which sets out how cycling can both increase the reach of Scotland’s public transport networks and help meet the government’s ambitions for increased levels of cycle use.

The ‘Interchange’ project analysed 19 bus stations, rail stations and ferry terminals in ten towns and cities across Scotland, from Aberdeen to Mallaig, and from Inverness to Glasgow. The final report sets out three key recommendations:

* Firstly, that ‘Active Travel Hubs’ — centres that would provide a variety of services to bike users (e.g. bike hire, bike repair, or advice on cycle routes) — be established at key transport interchanges.

* Secondly, the establishment of an ‘Active Travel Friendly’ Standard, an award given to consistent and well thought-out facilities.

* Thirdly, the appointment of an ‘Active Travel Architect’ for the design of new or redeveloped major public transport facilities to ensure best practice is met.

In the report, which has been published in partnership with Sustrans Scotland, Transform Scotland encourages groups, individuals and transport operators themselves to carry out audits of stations and terminals using the ‘Interchange Toolkit’. These results can be used to make the case for improving integration between cyclist journeys and public transport.

Scotland already features two successful Cycle Hub projects, the Stirling Cycle Hub and the facility at Pollokshaws West station in Glasgow.  The Scottish Government has highlighted ‘Active Travel Hubs’ as a potential future area for investment and Transform Scotland thinks this should now form a key area of investment. In July, the UK Department for Transport announced a £15m fund for improving rail-cycle integration and Transform Scotland thinks that a similar fund should be established in Scotland in order to provide for better integration between public transport services and cycling.

Transform Scotland head of research Jolin Warren said: “Our project conducted audits of major transport interchanges across the country. This revealed the need to ensure consistent high standards across Scotland and to develop a network of Active Travel Hubs. These hubs would serve cyclists and pedestrians, providing routes, repairs, parking, and other amenities.

“Our Interchange Toolkit is available for public use, and we are urging local groups to audit their local stations or terminals, and push for improvements around the country.”

John Lauder, National Director of Sustrans Scotland, welcomed the publication of the new Interchange report saying: “The Cycling Action Plan for Scotland sets a vision for 10% of trips to be by bike by 2020. In order to achieve this it is essential that we do as much as possible to encourage and enable people to cycle for more of their everyday journeys.

“One way to do this is to get more people cycling as part of longer journeys that involve another form of sustainable transport – trains, buses and ferries.  Facilities for cyclists at rail stations, bus stations and ferry terminals must be convenient, safe and secure in order to encourage people to cycle to them.

“The audits conducted by Transform Scotland show that while there is a lot of good practice in terms of cycling provisions at various interchange points, there are also a number of key issues that need to be addressed.”

A number of transport operators assisted with the Interchange project. Transform Scotland was pleased to have the assistance of ScotRail, who have long been working to improve the passenger experience at its stations across Scotland through its ‘Adopt A Station’ programme. Commenting on the ‘Interchange’ report, ScotRail External Relations Manager, John Yellowlees said:

“By investing in cycle facilities at stations, ScotRail would aim to become a more cyclist friendly organisation. These facilities can range from providing better or more space on trains, limiting conflicts with other passengers, to investing in secure parking facilities.”

Transform Scotland have also launched a video illustrating the project:

Pictured at Pollokshaws West rail station – the site of an up-an-running highly successful bike station and cycle cafe.

Transform Scotland activists (from left) Morgan Reilly, Janice Fenny (correct) and Lotti Lancaster.



Colin Hattersley Photography 

Public Relations  –  Press  –  Corporate  –  Charities  –  Arts & Entertainment

07974 957 388

Prime Minister in Glasgow tonight


The Prime Minister David Cameron has been in Scotland all day today, visiting Scottish business ahead of attending the CBI dinner tonight.

In CBI President Sir Mike Rake’s speech this evening, he said that he firmly believes that the UK is and always has been greater than the sum of its parts and warned that the risk of a yes vote for Scotland and the UK is enormous.
On the Scottish referendum, Sir Mike said:

• “Undoubtedly, the decision on Scotland’s future is ultimately one for the voters here in Scotland.
• “In three weeks’ time, a yes vote based on so many substantive questions unanswered, will be a binary decision – a one way ticket to uncertainty with no return.
• “Currency union is an example. The liability, exposure and lack of control such a union would levy on the UK taxpayer makes it an obvious non-negotiable position for the UK Government. It’s why we wanted to see what the Scottish Government’s alternative plan would be.
• “The goods and services from key sectors in Scotland like finance, energy, and defence thrive by virtue of being part of our internal market of 60 million consumers, as well as being linked to a network of regulation, investments, and support. We should have no fear of drawing strength from what is achievable as one state. Scotland also benefits from the gifts of our shared institutions: the NHS, the BBC, the Royal Mint, the Armed Forces …200 bodies in all. But there is a profound difference between how we share them now, and the sharing of them with a neighbouring but separate nation state. Nothing can be taken for granted, and there are no guarantees.
• “As a new state, Scotland would have to leave and reapply to join and negotiate the terms of its EU membership. And to achieve this may well mean signing up to the Euro and Schengen. So, the question is whether all this negotiation would match the favourable terms established by the UK? Nothing can be taken for granted, and there are no guarantees.”

Sir Mike also raised the UK’s global future and made clear that open markets are an essential part of an open economy. He went on to highlight his concerns about the impact a possible EU referendum has on investment.

On Europe, Sir Mike said:

• “We accept that calling a referendum on EU membership is a constitutional issue for government, but the ambiguity has already, and is increasingly, causing real concern for business regarding their future investment. Business is in no doubt that we must retain and secure our country’s global future. If we’re isolated, we cannot be our best.
• “The growth and jobs we need depend on our external relationships, and it’s our membership of the European Single Market which is crucial. The EU isn’t perfect. The CBI’s Global Future report looked at other options and concluded that we are best served by remaining in the EU and seeking reform. We don’t want a special deal to satisfy narrow measures for the UK alone, but we do want Europe to become a more efficient place to do business – Lisbon Agenda, not Lisbon Treaty; for Europe to be more adventurous, open and competitive, and for its activities to be rooted in the priorities of member states.
• “With a new Commission and Parliament there is a window of opportunity to establish the building blocks of reform. We need our MPs and MEPs of all colours building helpful alliances in the European corridors of power.”

In his concluding remarks, Sir Mike focused on the great lessons of our Unions, national or international; that they reinforce our determination to drive forward towards prosperity and a better future for all our citizens. He shined a light on just how much there is still to achieve, the importance of minimising uncertainty and maximising our collective strength and the need to balance the challenges we face with a vision of the sort of country we all want to live in. He also stressed that this demands strong and pragmatic leadership from politicians and support from the business community.

Sir Mike ended by stressing his personal belief that we will remain a United Kingdom, within a reformed European Union, focusing on what’s important; growth, jobs and prosperity for all.

Commenting on these remarks Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said:

“This is a humiliation for the Prime Minister on the same day one of his MPs has defected to UKIP, exposing the deep Eurosceptic seam running through the Tory Party which is dragging the UK ever closer to the exit door of Europe.

“For David Cameron to be lectured by one of the UK’s most senior business figures about the dangers of his in-out referendum on EU membership shows just how worried companies are about the prospect of the UK being taken out of Europe.

“For Scotland, the choice is clear – a Yes vote which will protect our place in the EU as an independent member, or a No vote which could see us dragged out of Europe against our will, shutting us off from a single market of more than 500 million people with potentially devastating consequences for jobs and investment.”

Meanwhile the Prime Minister said that if there is a No vote then the UK will devolve more powers to The Scottish Government ‘soon’. See Nick Robinson’s interview with David Cameron by clicking here.

Photo of David Cameron courtesy of Number 10

Human rights under the spotlight ahead of the Games

Human rights experts will join athletes, media and spectators in Glasgow today in advance of the Commonwealth Games.

Five days before start of the competition, and on the eve of Glasgow Pride, activists from around the world are joining with academics attending the ‘LGBTI Human Rights in the Commonwealth’ conference, which opens today at the University of Glasgow.

Currently, 42 out of 53 states in the Commonwealth criminalise same-sex sexual behaviour between adults. The recent Anti-Homosexuality Act in Uganda has extended and intensified such criminalisation, and a Supreme Court ruling in India has dashed hopes of decriminalisation.

The one-day event will discuss the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people in the Commonwealth.

The conference aims to create a focus for lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex (LGBTI) human rights discussions in the run up to the Commonwealth Games and provide a space to share ideas, practice and campaigns, engaging participants in global human rights issues and ensuring the visibility of Commonwealth LGBTI people and culture.

The conference will feature three keynote speakers:

  • Fiona Hyslop MSP – Scottish Government Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs.
  • Frank Mugisha – Executive Director, Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG).
  • Purna Sen – Former Head of Human Rights at the Commonwealth Secretariat and current Chair of Kaleidoscope Trust.

Dr Matthew Waites, Senior Lecturer in the Glasgow Human Rights Network at the University of Glasgow, said: “The primary reason for the criminalisation that we see in Commonwealth nations today is the British Empire, which historically outlawed same-sex sexual acts around the world.

“We are interested in promoting self-conscious recognition of the historical responsibility of British imperialism for the criminalisation of relationships that exists today.  From that starting point we can then discuss our revulsion at recent renewals and extensions of colonial criminalisation and how to address these inequalities.

Dr Purna Sen, Chair of Kaleidoscope and former Head of Human Rights at the Commonwealth Secretariat, who is one of the opening keynote speakers at the conference, said: “Across the Commonwealth lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people are denied equal access to rights, education, employment, housing and healthcare, often on the basis of laws that date back to the British Empire. While it is important to note the colonial origins of much homophobic legislation, Commonwealth nations and the Commonwealth itself must do much more to uphold the values of anti-discrimination set out in the Commonwealth Charter.”

The conference has been initiated and led by Equality Network, Scotland’s LGBTI organisation for equality and human rights, in partnership with Glasgow Human Rights Network at University of Glasgow, and with Kaleidoscope Trust and Pride Glasgow.

Fiona Hyslop MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs, will be representing the Scottish Government as the opening speaker. Professor Anton Muscatelli, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Glasgow, will be greeting her with other speakers including Frank Mugisha and Purna Sen, Chair of Kaleidoscope.   Further speakers will include Patrick Harvie MSP, and Monica Tabengwa of Human Rights Watch.