MacAskill argues Scot 21+ proposal

Scottish Justice Minister Kenny MacAskill has clashed with a senior Conservative MSP over the Scottish Executive's proposals to ban the sale of alcohol to under-21s in off-licences and supermarkets.

David McLetchie, the Tory member for Edinburgh Pentlands, said plans to allow the sale of alcohol to young people at Murrayfield during international matches were inconsistent with the Scottish Executive's alcohol strategy, which is in a period of public consultation.

During parliamentary question

time, McLetchie asked MacAskill

why "young people between the ages of 18 and 21 can now buy a drink at Murrayfield on the occasion of an international rugby match with his full blessing but, if he gets his way, will be banned from buying a few cans of lager from an off-licence to watch the game on the telly".

He added: "If even the Federation of Student Nationalists can see that is

illogical nonsense, why can the cabinet secretary not?"

MacAskill responded: "Our proposals are about tackling alcohol misuse. We are not anti-alcohol, and the core of our message has always been about sensible and responsible drinking. I am not going to prejudge the outcome of the consultation.

"Whereas [McLetchie] clearly has a fixed position, the government is listening to the communities

that have benefited from a substantial reduction in antisocial behaviour brought about by the responsible actions that have been taken by the police, licensing boards and local communities."

Calls for Scottish regulation

- page four.