Presiding Officer of the Scottish Parliament

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Presiding Officer of Scottish Parliament
Ken Macintosh

since 12 May 2016
Style Presiding Officer
(Within Parliament)
The Right Honourable
Member of Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body
Term length Elected by the Scottish Parliament at the start of each session, and upon a vacancy
Inaugural holder David Steel
Formation 1999
Deputy Deputy Presiding Officers
Salary £106,290
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The Presiding Officer of the Scottish Parliament (Scottish Gaelic: Oifigear-Riaghlaidh, Scots: Preses o the Scots Pairlament) is the speaker of the Scottish Parliament. The current Presiding Officer is Ken Macintosh, who was elected on 12 May 2016, following the 2016 Scottish Parliament election.

The Presiding Officer is elected by the Members of the Scottish Parliament, by means of an exhaustive ballot, and also heads the Corporate Body of the Scottish Parliament. He or she is considered a figurehead of the institution.

The Presiding Officer presides over the Parliament's debates, determining which members may speak. The Presiding Officer is also responsible for maintaining order during debate.[1]

The Presiding Officer is expected to be strictly non-partisan, with some similarities in this respect to the tradition of the Speaker of the British House of Commons. For this reason, he or she renounces all affiliation with his or her former political party for the duration of his or her term.[2] He or she does not take part in debate, or vote except to break ties. Even then, the convention is that when the Presiding Officer uses his or her tie-breaking vote, he or she does so in favour of the status quo. The Presiding Officer also remains a Member of the Scottish Parliament (MSP). In 2006 the St Andrews Fund for Scots Heraldry commemorated the hosting of the Heraldic & Genealogical Congress in Scotland by commissioning a ceremonial robe for the Presiding Officer to wear, however as of May 2017, it appears no Presiding Officer has worn the robe.[3]

In the event of independence, the Scottish National Party proposes that the Presiding Officer's post be replaced with that of Chancellor of Scotland. In addition to presiding over the Scottish Parliament, the Chancellor would possess additional constitutional powers during the absence of the Monarch from Scotland; chiefly, the Chancellor should act in a role similar to a Governor-General in the other Commonwealth realms.[4]

The office of the Presiding Officer is located in Queensberry House.

List of Presiding Officers[edit]

Name Entered office Left office Former party Constituency / Region
1. Sir David Steel[a] 12 May 1999 7 May 2003 Liberal Democrats Lothians
2. Sir George Reid 7 May 2003 14 May 2007 Scottish National Party Ochil
3. Sir Alex Fergusson 14 May 2007 11 May 2011 Conservative Galloway and Upper Nithsdale
4. Tricia Marwick 11 May 2011 12 May 2016 Scottish National Party Mid Fife and Glenrothes
5. Ken Macintosh 12 May 2016 Incumbent Labour West Scotland
  1. ^ Officially styled as The Lord Steel of Aikwood, but he was known as Sir David Steel in the Scottish Parliament.

List of Deputy Presiding Officers[edit]

Name Party Constituency / Region Name Party Constituency / Region
Patricia Ferguson 12 May 1999-27 November 2001 Labour Glasgow Maryhill Sir George Reid
12 May 1999-7 May2003
SNP Mid Scotland and Fife
Murray Tosh 29 November 2001-2 April 2007 Conservative South of Scotland (1999-2003)
West of Scotland (2003-2007)
Trish Godman
7 May2003-22 March 2011
Labour West Renfrewshire
Alasdair Morgan 10 May 2007-22 March 2011 SNP South of Scotland
John Scott 11 May 2011-12 May 2016 Conservative Ayr Elaine Smith 11 May 2011-12 May 2016 Coatbridge and Chryston
Linda Fabiani 12 May 2016- SNP East Kilbride Christine Grahame 12 May 2016- SNP Midlothian South, Tweeddale and Lauderdale

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Black, Andrew (14 May 2007). "Q&A: Holyrood presiding officer". BBC News. BBC. 
  2. ^ "Former Scottish Parliament Presiding Officers on the devolution years". Holyrood. 13 July 2016. Retrieved 26 February 2017. 
  3. ^ Cusack, Andrew (3 June 2010). "The Presiding Officer's Gown |". Retrieved 12 May 2017. 
  4. ^ Principles of the Constitution, at (.pdf file)

External links[edit]