HOLYROOD will only sit for one day a week amid calls for MSPs to cancel their Easter break in a bid to tackle the coronavirus pandemic. 

MSPs backed proposals for the Scottish Parliament to only sit for one day for each of the next two weeks – with First Minister’s Questions and parliamentary committees scrapped for this week. 

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Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard called on First Minister Nicola Sturgeon to cancel the scheduled Easter recess in a bid to concentrate efforts on suppressing the coronavirus outbreak. 

The Easter recess is due to start on April 4.

Mr Leonard said: “At a time of a national emergency, we think this national parliament should not go into Easter recess, but that we should continue to scrutinise what is happening in the midst of this emergency. 

“We think that is our job, and we genuinely think that is what the people who sent us here would want us to do.

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"So I would ask all parties to consider whether we should go into recess or not. We do not think we should.” 

Ms Sturgeon told Mr Leonard that it was not up to her whether Holyrood’s recess took place as planned. 

She added: “It’s not up to me when parliament sits, it’s up to the business bureau when the parliament sits. 

“I’m not expecting to be having an Easter recess so in a sense it makes no difference to me whether parliament is sitting or not. But our practices must reflect the guidance that has been issued to the general public. 

“Cutting down the sittings this week does that. I’m sure that will be kept under review by the bureau."

The First Minister said it was important that scrutiny continued to take place by opposition MSPs, but she stressed that business could not go on as usual.

She added:"The way the at scrutiny happens has to change because of the guidance that is out there.

"But the facts of the scrutiny doesn’t have to change, in fact it’s more important than ever."

Holyrood’s committee on handling of harassment complaints will not meet again before the Easter recess, the Scottish Parliament has confirmed.

A Scottish Parliament spokesperson said: "Given the parliament's focus on addressing the current public health emergency which we face, members of the committee have agreed that its work will not begin immediately. 

"The committee will review its position after Easter.”