Humza Yousaf’s maiden First Minister’s Questions in the Scottish Parliament were interrupted by environmental demonstrators.
In recent months, protests have often disrupted the Holyrood session, alarming elected politicians and prompting parliamentary staff to start collecting mobile phones of the audience.
Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar brought up the recently appointed SNP leader’s record while overseeing the NHS during the session, alleging 11,000 youngsters had to wait longer than the planned 18-week period before receiving mental health care and 14,000 had their referrals turned down.
“I am the first, and have been when I was health secretary, to accept that of course there are issues, and there were challenges prior to the pandemic,” the First Minister responded.
“Anybody… will acknowledge that the impact of the global pandemic has been felt, of course, in our health service here in Scotland and in health services right across the UK, and I would say right across the world.”
The interruptions occurred before Douglas Ross finished interrogating the new SNP leader, delaying the conversation.
After the fifth interruption, only schoolchildren who were visiting Holyrood were permitted to remain in the public gallery.
“I don’t think I can adequately express my deep regret that such action is required in our national parliament,” the presiding officer said in a statement to the MSPs.
“I’m extremely sorry for the overwhelming majority of those who have travelled to the parliament today to watch their elected representatives at work.”
Business was again suspended when SNP MSP Stuart McMillan raised a point of order and asked that a different school from his district that had been taken from the gallery be brought back.