Member of the Scottish Parliament

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Member of the Scottish Parliament (MSP) (Ball Pàrlamaid na h-Alba (BPA) in Gaelic, Memmer o the Scots Pairliament (MSP) in Scots) is the title given to any one of the 129 individuals elected to serve in the Scottish Parliament.

Methods of election[edit]

MSPs are elected in one of two ways:

Types of candidates[edit]

With the additional members system, there are 3 ways in which a person can stand to be a MSP:[2]

  • a constituency candidate
  • a candidate named on a party list at the regional election
  • an individual candidate at the regional election


All MSP positions become simultaneously vacant for elections held on a four-year cycle. If a vacancy arises at another time, due to death or resignation, then it may be filled in one of two ways, depending of whether the vacancy is for a first-past-the-post constituency MSP or for an additional-member MSP.

A constituency vacancy may be filled by a by-election. An additional-member vacancy may be filled by the next available candidate on the relevant party list. In the event there is no next available person on the list the vacancy is not filled, as in the case of Margo MacDonald.


An MSP is known as Name MSP (Name BPA in Gaelic). For instance, Alex Salmond can be entitled either Alex Salmond MSP or Ailig Salmond BPA.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "How the Scottish Parliament works". Scottish Parliament. July 2013. Retrieved 22 July 2014. 
  2. ^ "Standing for Scottish Parliamentary election". Electoral Commission (United Kingdom). February 2011. Retrieved 21 September 2014.