John has served on the Justice Committee since 2011, drawing on his experience as a former Northern Constabulary police officer. Most notably, he used Justice Committee hearings to hold Police Scotland to account over officers carrying firearms while on routine duties – a campaign for which he received the title of Community MSP of the Year at the 2014 Herald Scottish Politician of the Year Awards.
His appointment to the Rural Economy and Connectivity Committee – which is also responsible for transport, agriculture and the Islands – reflects John’s new role as the Scottish Greens’ spokesperson on Transport, Tourism and Rural & Island Communities, as well as remaining the party’s spokesperson on Justice.
“I’m delighted to be appointed for a second term on the Justice Committee, where my priorities will include restoring the community ethos to Scottish policing, and defending our hard-won human rights.
“Joining the Rural Economy and Connectivity Committee is an exciting opportunity to push for the investment the Highlands and Islands needs to make the most of our huge potential in sustainable industries like food, forestry and clean energy.”
The Committees are a vital part of the Scottish Parliament. Holyrood only has one chamber – it has no equivalent of the House of Lords – so the Committees are responsible for making sure proposed new laws, and the work of the government, are scrutinised in detail. Committees can also conduct inquiries into issues within their policy area, calling witnesses including government ministers and officials, outside experts, and people who are directly affected.
The six Green MSPs were appointed to a total of 11 Committee places. The other Green assignments are:
- Ross Greer (West Scotland) — European and External Relations Committee; Education and Skills Committee
- Patrick Harvie (Glasgow) — Finance Committee; Standards, Procedures and Public Appointments Committee
- Alison Johnstone (Lothian) — Health and Sport Committee; Social Security Committee
- Mark Ruskell (Mid Scotland and Fife) — Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Committee
- Andy Wightman (Lothian) — Economy, Jobs and Fair Work Committee; Local Government and Communities Committee
You can see the full line-up for all of the new committees in the Scottish Parliament Official Report.