Mary Mulligan, Labour's convener, replied: "I take it, Mike, that you are the only member who has circulated his report."
Labour's Karen Gillon put a different interpretationon it. "Mike must have had a very sad Christmas." Russell's colleague, Nicola Sturgeon, tried vainly to come to his rescue. "Please, miss, I have been a good boy."
"I suppose there is a first time for everything," Mulligan replied.
Liberal Democrat Ian Jenkins, a former principal teacher of English, tapped his vast experience of great excuses and confessed: "My dog ate my report."
Including the e-mail? He'll have to do better than that.