Presiding Officer sets by-election date for Ettrick, Roxburgh and Berwickshire


The by-election for Ettrick, Roxburgh and Berwickshire will be held on Thursday 8 June 2017, it has been announced.

Under Section 9 of the Scotland Act 1998, the date of the poll is fixed by the Presiding Officer of the Scottish Parliament.  

The Presiding Officer, the Rt Hon Ken Macintosh MSP has today written to Tracey Logan, Chief Executive of Scottish Borders Council, as Returning Officer, to confirm his choice of date and ask for arrangements for the by-election to be put in place.

MSPs have been informed of the date of the poll to fill the constituency vacancy which follows the resignation of John Lamont MSP, which takes effect from 1.00pm today (27 April).

Section 9 of the Scotland Act 1998 refers:  

9 Constituency vacancies

(1)Where the seat of a constituency member is vacant, an election shall be held to fill the vacancy (subject to subsection (4)). 

(2)The date of the poll shall be fixed by the Presiding Officer. 

(3)The date shall fall within the period of three months— 

(a)beginning with the occurrence of the vacancy, or  (b)if the vacancy does not come to the notice of the Presiding Officer within the period of one month beginning with its occurrence, beginning when it does come to his notice. 

(4)The election shall not be held if the latest date for holding the poll would fall within the period of three months ending with the day on which the poll at the next ordinary general election would be held (disregarding section 2(5)). 

(5)For the purposes of this section, the date on which a vacancy is to be treated as occurring shall be determined under standing orders. 

(6)A person may not be a candidate at such an election if he is a member of the Parliament or a candidate in another election to fill a vacancy.


When fixing the date, the Presiding Officer (PO) does the following:

  • consults the Returning Officer (RO) – the RO will highlight any difficulties foreseen in terms of timing or fulfilling other legal requirements; 
  • takes soundings from each of the main parties on the possible date of the poll starting with the party which held the seat; the PO will recognise the protocol that that party’s view has greater weight in the PO’s decision-making process, but he will be free to exercise his discretion as he sees fit;   
  • takes a final decision on the date and communicates that to the RO and to Parliament. 

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