Holyrood must not “rest on its laurels” after Scots elected the most diverse parliament ever, the new presiding officer has said.
Alison Johnstone said she was “so excited and pleased” to see a more diverse group of MSPs in the Scottish Parliament than ever before.
The May elections saw a record number of women elected, with the proportion of MSPs that are female increasing to 45%.
That includes women of colour being elected for the first time ever, while Holyrood also has its first MSP who is a permanent wheelchair user.
Despite those achievements, Johnstone said Holyrood must still “continue to strive to have a parliament that even better represents the people”.
Johnstone, together with former Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale, co-founded the Women 50:50 group – which campaigns for women to make up at least half of all MSPs and councillors in Scotland.
While she welcomed the record 58 female MSPs that Holyrood now has, the new presiding officer said: “I think what we need to do now though is not rest on our laurels, continue to strive to have a parliament that even better represents the people of Scotland.”
She also said she wanted work to be done to help understand “to what extent that more diverse parliament is engaged in parliamentary business”.
Johnstone explained this could involve looking at “are we hearing 45% of contributions coming from women, are 45% of interventions made by women, or on women”.
She added: “I am not sure to what extent my predecessors looked at this, but I am really keen to make sure that that more diverse parliament has an opportunity to impact on the decisions we take for the people of Scotland.”
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