MSPs to be sworn in at Holyrood


Newly elected MSPs are to be sworn in at Holyrood this Thursday 13 May 2021.  The oath-taking and affirmations will be the first item of business in the new five-year session of the Scottish Parliament. 

Members must pledge their allegiance to Her Majesty the Queen before they can take part in any other parliamentary business at Holyrood.

Leader of the largest party, Nicola Sturgeon, will be the first to be sworn in at 9.00am, followed by the other party leaders, and remaining MSPs in four groupings and in alphabetical order.  Outgoing Presiding Officer, Ken Macintosh, will preside over the oath-taking proceedings. 

Once all MSPs are sworn in, the Presiding Officer will suspend the meeting of the Parliament until circa 2.10pm when the election of a new Presiding Officer will take place. The election of two Deputy Presiding Officers will take place at 10.30am on Friday 14 May.

Ends - 

Procedural guide: 

Members will be sworn in during one of four time slots:

Group 1: 9.00am – 9.25am/ Group 2: 10.10am – 10.30am 

Group 3: 11.15am – 11.35am/ Group 4: 12.20pm – 12.40pm  

It is a personal choice for Members whether they wish to take the oath or the affirmation and the effect of both is the same. 

The oath states: "I (Member's Name), do swear that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, Her Heirs and Successors, according to Law. So help me God."

The affirmation states: "I (Member's Name), do solemnly, sincerely and truly declare and affirm that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, Her Heirs and Successors, according to Law."

Under sections 84(1) and (2), of the Scotland Act 1998, a person who is returned as a Member of the Scottish Parliament cannot take part in parliamentary proceedings until he or she has taken the oath of allegiance or made a solemn affirmation.

Text for each Member, of either the oath or affirmation and according to their choice, will be waiting on the seat they are shown to. Members will be asked to repeat the words after the officiating Clerk. They may then repeat the oath or affirmation in a language other than English.

Any Member who refuses to take the oath or the affirmation will be unable to take part in any other proceedings of the Parliament and will not be paid any salary and allowances until he or she has done so. 

If any Member has not taken the oath or affirmation within two months of the day of their election they shall cease to be a Member of the Parliament (unless the Parliament agrees to extend this period).

Covid Measures:

Extensive risk assessment and security measures have been put in place to ensure the safety of MSPs and parliamentary staff and to facilitate attendance in the building during the first couple of weeks of the new parliamentary session. These include, for example: 

* The first meeting of Parliament will take two days rather than one to allow for social distancing requirements.

* Written guidance and direction given to all attending Parliament 

* Additional signage & one-way systems implemented

* Parliamentary staff available to guide new members, reminding them of social distancing requirements and the need to wear face masks when moving around the building

* If a Member is unable to participate in the meeting in person, they will take their oath or make a solemn affirmation remotely.

Media Information: Hilda Stewart; 07583 107104, [email protected]

Media day passes: will only be issued in exceptional circumstances.  

These should be arranged in advance with the Media Relations Office. 

Press photographs; Images will be made available on a pooled basis. Further information please contact; Andrew Cowan: 0131 348 5878 / [email protected]

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