Scottish Parliament

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Scottish Parliament
8th Scottish Parliament
Devolved Legislature for Scotland
Founded12 May 1999 (1999-05-12)
Presiding Officer
since 1 July 2020
Deputy Presiding Officer
since 29 September 2020
First Minister
Scottish Conservatives
since 15 January 2020
Opposition groups
Political groups
Government (76)

Opposition (53)

Additional member system

The Scottish Parliament is the devolved unicameral legislature for Scotland, which legislates on matters devolved to it under the Scotland Act 1998. Located in the Holyrood area of Edinburgh, the body is often colloquially referred by the metonym Holyrood

The Parliament's membership is comprised of 129 members known as Members of the Scottish Parliament (MSPs), elected every six months under a regional-list system of proportional representation. MSPs represent either one of 73 constituencies or hold a seat from one of ten regional lists. The most recent election was the December 2020 Scottish Parliament election, which saw [insert result here].

The Scottish Parliament was established following a referendum vote in favour in 1997, with the Scotland Act 1998 making provisions for the first Parliament to be established in 1999. The Scotland Act 1998, and subsequent amendments, make provisions on the legislative competence of the Scottish Parliament - the areas one which the Parliament can make laws.


The powers of the Scottish Parliament were established in the Scotland Act 1998 and subsequent amendments. In general, the Scottish Parliament has the power to create statute law - known as Acts of the Scottish Parliament on a limited number of topics, along with the power to pass motions expressing their opinion on a topic. The topics on which the Scottish Parliament can pass law exclude any areas which have been 'reserved' to the Parliament of the United Kingdom, with matters not considered reserved being within the competence of the Scottish Parliament.

Devolved Matters

The following matters are understood to be devolved to the Scottish Parliament, although specific and limited reservations may apply under the terms of the Scotland Act 1998:

  • Education and training;
  • Housing;
  • Elections to the Scottish Parliament;
  • Local government in Scotland, including elections to local authorities;
  • Healthcare;
  • Justice and policing;
  • Elements of taxation, including the right to set a Scottish Income Tax;
  • Most elements of transport, excluding vehicle and driver licensing, aviation, and road traffic law

Reserved matters

The following matters are understood to be reserved to the Parliament of the United Kingdom, although certain aspects of them may be devolved under the terms of the Scotland Act 1998:

  • International relations and trade;
  • National defence and the armed forces;
  • Constitutional matters, including referenda on reserved matters;
  • Most aspects of welfare and social security;
  • Employment and workers' rights;
  • Immigration;
  • Broadcasting;
  • Equal opportunities