Headlines: February 15th, 2010

The first steps are being taken to set up a twinning arrangement between Members of the Scottish Parliament and parliamentarians in Malawi. Two MSPs, Karen Gillon and Michael Matheson are in Malawi in the latest stage of cooperation between the two bodies to share ideas and ways of working.

The latest initiative is designed to strengthen the links and create a model for twinning parliamentarians that could be adopted by other Commonwealth legislatures. The Scottish scheme would involve nine members, three from each of the regions in Malawi from across the political parties.

The programme has been organised by the Scotland Branch of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, which is meeting the costs of the MSPs’ trip. As well as securing the twinning programme they will meet Malawian MPs to discuss the changing role of Parliamentarians, cross-party groups, greater understanding of constituency working and the effective use of media relations.

Karen Gillon said: “Since first going to Malawi in 2005, my links at a constituency level have gone from strength to strength with local schools, businesses and hospitals sharing their knowledge and experience.” Michael Matheson added: “For the past five years a strong relationship has grown between our two parliaments and this visit will continue to develop that.”