“Pick a side,” urged the Green members of the Scottish Parliament, Patrick Harvie and Alison Johnstone, as they voted against parliament’s regular business motion. The motion, put forward this afternoon by the government whip, plans for debates on November 30th, the day of the multi-union strike against pension cuts.

Patrick urged fellow MSPs to join him on the picket lines instead of scheduling business in the chamber.

He said:

Public sector staff at Holyrood and across Scotland are facing an unjustified attack on their pay and pension arrangements, and it’s time for the Scottish Parliament to pick a side. Are MSPs here to do a Tory government’s dirty work, or are we here to protect staff and front line services from this ideological assault? George Osborne’s austerity agenda doesn’t stop at the border, and Holyrood could still decide to take a different path.

MSPs must accept the legitimacy of the vote for strike action, and recognise the seriousness of the situation which has led to this vote. It would be entirely unacceptable for Parliament to bring in strike-breaking staff or for the Chamber to sit in private in these circumstances. I will be out with the unions, supporting the Parliament’s hard-working staff, and this vote will give all MSPs an opportunity to do the right thing and join them too.