The application by Professor Ian Wilmut of the Roslin Institute, Edinburgh, for a licence to clone human embryos for use in research into motor neurone disease (see No 387) was granted by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority on 8 February 2005.  It was the second grant by the HFEA of a licence for such therapeutic human cloning research, the first having been made to Newcastle University in August 2004.  That decision is now the subject of a judicial review application in London brought by the Lawyers Christian Fellowship. 


The Gaelic Language Bill (for which see No 388) completed Stage 1 of its Parliamentary progress on 2 February 2005.  The debate featured contributions in Gaelic by the Presiding Officer, George Reid, and other MSPs such as Alasdair Morrison (Western Isles, Labour), John Farquhar Munro (Ross, Skye and Inverness West, Liberal Democrat), Jamie McGrigor (Highlands and Islands, Conservative) and Fiona Hyslop (Lothians, SNP).  See the Official Report at http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/business/officialReports/meetingsParliament/or-05/sor0202-01.htm.


The action by Sir Robert McAlpine Construction Management Ltd against the Scottish Parliament Corporate Body (No 413) in respect of the tendering procedures for the Scottish Parliament building at Holyrood (see No 413) began before Lord Clarke in the commercial court of the Court of Session on 2 February 2005.  The case was continued until 23 March, but the proceedings made clear that prescription would be an initial issue (the events in question took place more than five years ago, in 1998-99), while there was also a question about whether the tender competition was on the basis of lowest price (McAlpine’s position) or most economic advantage (the SPCB position).  That further defenders might be called was also a possibility.