Parliament gallery cleared as Humza Yousaf's debut FMQ's disrupted FIVE times

One of the protesters from activist group This is Rigged is escorted out of FMQs <i>(Image: PA)</i>
One of the protesters from activist group This is Rigged is escorted out of FMQs (Image: PA)

HUMZA Yousaf's debut First Minister's Questions was disrupted FIVE times in the first fifteen minutes - leading to the public gallery being cleared. 

Presiding Officer, Alison Johnstone, expressed her regret at having to take this "regrettable" action.

After applause from MSPs, she added: "I'm extremely sorry for the overwhelming majority of those who have travelled to the Parliament today to watch their elected representatives at work.

"It's essential we do all we can to protect the wellbeing and safety of those who expect to come to this Parliament."

READ MORE: This is Rigged: The climate activists who keep disrupting FMQs

The climate activist group responsible, This is Rigged, describes itself as a community taking “Scottish-specific direct action” to demand that “the Scottish Government oppose all new oil and gas projects and ensure a just transition for our oil workers”.

The group has disrupted FMQs eight times since January 12 and has no plans to stop.

The group released a video on Instagram after bringing FMQs to a standstill. They said: "New First Minister, same demands. Humza Yousaf @humzayousaf will you commit to ending all new oil and gas projects including: Rosebank, Jackdaw, Abigail & Peterhead?

"As the new First Minister you must ensure a fully funded, fair, transition for Scotland’s oil and gas workers.

"Scotland can rapidly transition to renewables while ensuring that our people reap the benefits and that workers are able to retrain without damage to their lives and communities.

"If you do not do this you are choosing violence. You are choosing profit over life and you are complicit in the suffering of the Scottish people and people across the world."

This week, the Scottish Parliament banned mobile phones from the chamber viewing gallery.

In an email to MSPs, Presiding Officer Alison Johnstone set out additional new security measures to address the ongoing disruptions which have been leading to the suspension of parliament.

The Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body (SPCB) has also formally requested that Police Scotland’s protest liaison team and the Parliament’s security team engage with This is Rigged.

The first interruption of FMQs came just before Douglas Ross had the chance to ask his first question of the new First Minister.

The Scottish Tory leader said something had to be done to stop the disruptions happening every week.

Johnstone reaffirmed that work is underway on a range of measures to protect parliamentary business from "consistent disruption".

She added: "This parliament rightly prides itself on being open and accessible, and we want to maintain that.

"Visitors are welcomed into the gallery to watch their elected representatives at work, but far too regularly disruption is causing members to lose the opportunity to ask questions and represent their constituents' interests."