Scottish Greens MSP elected as new Presiding Officer

Alison Johnstone, an MSP for the Lothian region, was the only candidate for presiding officer.

Scottish Greens MSP elected as new Presiding Officer
Presiding officer: Alison Johnstone replaces Ken Macintosh.

Scottish Greens MSP Alison Johnstone has been elected as the new presiding officer of the Scottish Parliament.

Ms Johnstone replaces Ken Macintosh, who is stepping down as an MSP having held the position since 2016.

She is currently an MSP for the Lothian region and was previously the co-leader of the Scottish Greens alongside Patrick Harvie.

The presiding officer at Holyrood is responsible for ensuring the smooth running of debates and is expected to be strictly non-partisan.

It means that Ms Johnstone, who was the only candidate for the position, will have to renounce affiliation with her party for the duration of her term.

Presiding officers do not take part in debates and do not vote, except to break ties.

Conventionally, a presiding officer will use their tie-breaking vote in favour of advancing debate, but on final ballots, will vote to retain the status quo.

Following her election, Ms Johnstone becomes the sixth presiding officer in the history of the Scottish Parliament, following Mr Macintosh, Tricia Marwick (2011-2016), Alex Fergusson (2007-2011), George Reid (2003-2007) and David Steel (1999-2003).

Commenting on the election, Scottish Greens co-leaders Patrick Harvie and Lorna Slater said: “We congratulate Alison Johnstone on her election, and we are confident that she will be an even-handed moderator as Parliament addresses the pressing challenges that Scotland faces over the next five years.”