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Pa 3rd Sept
UK News

Scotland's ex-First Minister Alex Salmond prefers "people of faith"

by Hannah Tooley

Mr Salmond, now the SNP Foreign Affairs spokesperson created the special video for the Church of Scotland.

In it he speaks about how the late Labour First Minister, Donald Dewar, had opposed one of his proposals for a space for religious speakers to debate issues, because he "was skeptical of religion and he wanted to avoid having the same parody of prayers that they have in the House of Commons".

The video was made with the Revd Stuart MacQuarrie, Church of Scotland Chaplain to the University of Glasgow, and it was shown just as parliament opened a new session, Time for Reflection, this week. 

Mr Salmond said: "I am biased, of course, because I am a Church of Scotland adherent and I prefer people of faith to people of no faith or people who have lost their faith.

"All denominations have a key role to play in society and we are very fortunate in Scotland because we have a tremendous ability, among religions and denominations, to come together and support good causes."

He told the Church one of his greatest victories was providing a weekly platform, a space to debate, for religious speakers at Holyrood, the Scottish parliament, against the wishes of then Labour First Minister Donald Dewar.

He stressed that: "A long time ago I had a hand in establishing Time for Reflection in the Scottish Parliament, back in 1999.

"Indeed, it was the only vote I won against the late Donald Dewar because he was somewhat sceptical of religion - a great man incidentally - but sceptical of religion and he wanted to avoid having the same parody of prayers that they have in the House of Commons.

"So, we came up with Time for Reflection where all religions and the humanists get a shot.

"It provides a good way to start the parliamentary week or, in this case, the parliamentary session."

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