LAST week the Scottish Parliament held a debate on the Chilcot Inquiry into the Iraq war, the publication of which has been delayed yet again.


This has become a matter of public trust, not just in politicians but the entire establishment.

The more the report's publication is delayed, the more citizens across the UK believe they were misled in the months leading up to the decision to go to war in 2003.

We all remember the 'sexed-up' dossier the Labour government released several months prior and was used to justify the war.

Millions across the UK, including in Glasgow marched against the invasion of Iraq, and I, along with my SNP colleagues, marched with them.

As more and more innocent civilians were killed in Iraq, the SNP led calls for an inquiry into the illegal invasion. The same Labour government which led us to war on the basis of these lies blocked the investigation for years, until Sir John Chilcot was allowed to begin work on his independent inquiry in 2009.

It has now been three and a half years since it stopped hearing evidence, and still we are waiting for the truth.

In the debating chamber on Thursday we heard from SNP MSPs who demanded for the inquiry to be published as soon as possible.

However, debates and discussions such as these are not for the mere vanity of politicians.

We speak out for the most important people, those who lost loved ones as a result of this conflict.

The families of the 179 UK Servicemen and women and the 150,000 Iraqi civilians who perished due to the Labour Government's decision to go to war - every single one of them deserve to know the truth.

Earlier this month I was proud to announce the Scottish Government was to give £150,000 in immediate aid to Malawi to help them rebuild after the floods which have devastated the south of the country, displacing 170,000 people and killing dozens of others.

As a Scottish Government we will never shy away from helping the poorest in the world.

Glasgow has strong links with Malawi, 'the warm heart of Africa', through schools, churches and charities, and last year we were proud to welcome many Malawians to our city for the Commonwealth Games.

However, it remains one of the poorest countries in the world, which is why last week I announced the Scottish Government's pledge to make more than £9 million in funding available to Scottish organisations working in Malawi over the next three years.

Many fantastic projects with bases in Glasgow will benefit from this funding, including Mary's Meals, which provides vital resources to Malawian schools and children's homes and Glasgow City Council's Malawi Leaders of Learning, which provides support to Malawian schools and teachers.

The recent floods are unfortunately just one in a series of natural disasters Malawians have endured in recent years, and in doing so revealing an astounding strength of spirit.

Giving aid to countries and communities in need is part of a government's humanitarian duty, and this announcement proves that we will not be kowtowed by those who refuse to empathise with those suffering overseas.