Ken Macintosh MSP (West of Scotland) has been elected as the Scottish Parliament’s next Presiding Officer, promising to work across the party divide for the common good.
The election took place following a secret ballot of newly elected Members. Mr Macintosh, who is the Parliament’s fifth Presiding Officer and the first Labour MSP to hold the post, gave the following acceptance speech from the chair:
“Thank you all my fellow MSPs. I’m very grateful indeed for the honour and the privilege that you have granted me to be your next Presiding Officer and I want to thank also my fellow candidates. Before I go any further can I pay particular tribute to my predecessor as Presiding Officer, Tricia Marwick, who I think will be going up to join her family in the gallery.
“I imagine that Tricia will be full of many and mixed emotions today but could I suggest to her that she finds room for at least a small feeling of pride – pride that she has served her constituency, her region and her country with distinction over 17 years, and pride too that she had the courage as Presiding Officer to begin the process of Parliamentary reform, a process I’d be honoured to follow in her footsteps.
“And proud I think that she has left the Parliament more mature, more established and more confident than ever before, ready for our new powers, ready for the new challenges that undoubtedly lie ahead. And as Tricia and many of her former colleagues step down, it gives me great pleasure to welcome and thank all of you, the class of 2016.
“I can see around me many familiar faces and friends - and I welcome you back – but I see too, a huge number of new members, freshly elected, and can I just say on a personal level, the energy, the infectious enthusiasm and the optimism with which you have filled this building already in the few days you have been here has invigorated me. It has refreshed this place and reminded us all of the opportunity the Scottish Parliament offers all of us to make a better Scotland.
“And as we look ahead together over the next five years I hope we can work together. I do however wish to apologise now with a record number of new faces I am sure I am going to make some mistakes in the next few days. I’m bound to misidentify you. I’ll probably relocate your region or constituency to another part of Scotland.
“In the last few days I have warmly congratulated on their election to this Parliament two members of our catering staff, a BBC journalist and a Special Branch Officer working for Prince Charles last night.
“But the revitalising of this Parliament reminds me of the promise offered by devolution, which is to work together across the party divide for the common good.
“I imagine that all of you and all your families are filled with pride that you serve as MSPs in the Scottish Parliament. I know mine does. I know my late father would have enjoyed this moment. My father was never elected, never stood for office actually, he was a head teacher but was asked to be a candidate on three different occasions.
“Now the most revealing aspect about my father is that he was asked by three, different political parties. I - for the first time perhaps in my life - I hope that I’ve inherited that quality from him.
“I’m very conscious that each one of us, each one of you, has a tremendous responsibility and a duty to the people of Scotland. I see it as my responsibility and my duty to help you with that task.”
Biography of Ken Macintosh
MSP on the West of Scotland list, Ken Macintosh was born on 15 January 1962 in Inverness. Educated at Portree and Oban Primary schools and then at the Royal High School, Edinburgh, he graduated from the University of Edinburgh in 1984 with an MA (Hons) in History.
Before entering the Scottish Parliament, Mr Macintosh was a television producer for BBC News. He was first elected to the Scottish Parliament in 1999. Previously a Ministerial Parliamentary Aide to former First Minister Jack McConnell, in opposition he served as Shadow Minister for Schools and Skills, Shadow Minister for Culture and External Affairs, Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Education and Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Finance.
He lives with his wife, Claire, and their six children in Busby.
The elections of the Scottish Parliament’s Presiding Officer and the two Deputy Presiding Officers are the only secret ballots conducted in the Scottish Parliament.
In 2011, Tricia Marwick became the Scottish Parliament’s fourth Presiding Officer and Elaine Smith and John Scott were elected as Deputy Presiding Officers. In 2007, Alex Fergusson became the Scottish Parliament’s third Presiding Officer and Trish Godman and Alastair Morgan were elected as Deputy Presiding Officers. In 2003, George Reid became the Scottish Parliament’s second Presiding Officer and Murray Tosh and Trish Godman were elected as Deputy Presiding Officers.
In 1999, Sir David Steel became the Scottish Parliament’s first Presiding Officer, and Patricia Ferguson and George Reid were elected as Deputy Presiding Officers. Murray Tosh took over as Deputy Presiding Officer from Patricia Ferguson in November 2001.