The morning of the Scottish Parliament’s first meeting on Thursday 12 May has been set aside to allow MSPs to take the oath or make a solemn affirmation. This will be the first business of the fifth session of the Scottish Parliament.
There will be three time slots during which the Members will take the oath/make the affirmation:
9.30am – 10.15am
10.30am – 11.15am
11.30am – 12.15pm
The outgoing Presiding Officer, Tricia Marwick will preside over the oath-taking procedure.
Members will enter the Chamber individually from the north and south entrances. As in previous sessions, the Party Leaders will be invited to take the oath or make a solemn affirmation first at 9.30am which will be followed by Members in alphabetical order.
Exact details of the order in which members are expected to arrive will be made available to the media on the day.
After being called by the Presiding Officer, they will proceed to the well of the Chamber where they will be asked whether they wish to take the oath or the affirmation. The choice is a personal one and the effect of both is the same.
Once all MSPs are sworn in, the Presiding Officer will suspend the meeting of the Parliament until 2.30pm.
While the Act allows Members two months from the date of their election to take the oath it is anticipated that Members will wish to do so as soon as possible.
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."
Members will be handed a card with either the oath or the affirmation, according to their choice, and asked to repeat the words after the officiating Clerk. They may then repeat the oath or affirmation in a language other than English.
Members will then be asked to sign the Parliamentary Register, before either taking a seat or exiting the Chamber.
The Register is a loose leaf volume of archival quality paper which has either the text of the oath or the affirmation inscribed at the top of each page.
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).