25 Facts About Scottish Parliament


Scottish Parliament is the devolved, unicameral legislature of Scotland.

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The Parliament is a democratically elected body comprising 129 members known as Members of the Scottish Parliament, elected for five-year terms under the additional member system: 73 MSPs represent individual geographical constituencies elected by the plurality system, while a further 56 are returned as list members from eight additional member regions.

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The Scottish Parliament has the power to legislate in all areas that are not explicitly reserved to Westminster.

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Suggestions for a 'devolved' Scottish Parliament were made before 1914, but were shelved due to the outbreak of the First World War.

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Since September 2004, the official home of the Scottish Parliament has been a new Scottish Parliament Building, in the Holyrood area of Edinburgh.

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The Scottish Parliament building was designed by Spanish architect Enric Miralles in partnership with local Edinburgh Architecture firm RMJM which was led by Design Principal Tony Kettle.

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In May 2000, the Scottish Parliament was temporarily relocated to the former Strathclyde Regional Council debating chamber in Glasgow, and to the University of Aberdeen in May 2002.

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The largest party in the Scottish Parliament sits in the middle of the semicircle, with opposing parties on either side.

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The words There shall be a Scottish Parliament, which are the first words of the Scotland Act, are inscribed around the head of the mace, which has a ceremonial role in the meetings of Parliament, representing the authority of the Parliament to make laws.

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The principal role of committees in the Scottish Parliament is to take evidence from witnesses, conduct inquiries and scrutinise legislation.

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Mandatory Committees are committees which are set down under the Scottish Parliament's standing orders, which govern their remits and proceedings.

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The current Mandatory Committees in the fourth Session of the Scottish Parliament are: Public Audit; Equal Opportunities; European and External Relations; Finance; Public Petitions; Standards, Procedures and Public Appointments; and Delegated Powers and Law Reform.

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Since the establishment of the Scottish Parliament, there have been a number of changes to its legislative competence.

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Scottish Parliament is able to debate any issue but is unable to make laws on issues that are outside its legislative competence.

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Bills can be introduced to Parliament in a number of ways; the Scottish Government can introduce new laws or amendments to existing laws as a bill; a committee of the Parliament can present a bill in one of the areas under its remit; a member of the Scottish Parliament can introduce a bill as a private member; or a private bill can be submitted to Parliament by an outside proposer.

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The legislation undermines the freedom of action, regulatory competence and authority of the Scottish Parliament, limiting its ability to make different economic or social choices from those made in Westminster, and to focus and plan investment in infrastructure in Scotland.

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The Scotland Act 1998 enabled the Scottish Parliament to pass primary legislation on these issues, and to hold the Scottish Government to account.

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Under the Scotland Act 1998, ordinary general elections for the Scottish Parliament are held on the first Thursday in May every four years .

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Elections for the Scottish Parliament were amongst the first in Britain to use a mixed member proportional representation system.

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The 73 Scottish Parliament constituencies shared the same boundaries as the UK Parliament constituencies in Scotland, prior to the 2005 reduction in the number of Scottish MPs, with the exception of Orkney and Shetland which each return their own constituency MSP.

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Total number of seats in the Scottish Parliament is allocated to parties proportionally to the number of votes received in the second vote of the ballot using the d'Hondt method.

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However, while several members of the original Scottish Parliament held seats at Westminster, it is rare; since 2011, only one MSP has served concurrently as an MP for a significant period of time.

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Elections for the Scottish Parliament are for all 129 seats using the Additional Member System.

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In November 2015, the Scottish Government published a Scottish Elections Bill, which proposed to extend the term of the Parliament to five years.

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In 2020, the Scottish Parliament voted to extend the right to vote in Scotland to all foreign nationals with leave to remain .

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