Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Christine Grahame fails in bid to become Presiding Officer

[The following is from a report published this afternoon on the BBC News website:]

SNP backbencher Tricia Marwick has been elected as the new presiding officer of the Scottish Parliament, in the wake of her party's election win.

The Mid Fife and Glenrothes MSP won the five-year job in a ballot of Holyrood's 129 members.

Ms Marwick pledged to do her "very, very best" in the role.

Out-going presiding officer Alex Fergusson said the election of a member of the likely party of government to the post presented "fresh challenges".

Labour criticised the appointment, saying it gave "cause for concern".

Ms Marwick, 57, saw off a challenge from party colleague Christine Grahame and former Labour minister Hugh Henry.

The elections were held as Holyrood sat for the first time since the SNP's landslide win at the polls, last week.

[This blog was today accessed from within Libya.]


  1. I'm not entirely happy with an SNP PO to be honest. I'm not sure its democratic but that's just my view. The other thing is the SNP have made valuable in-roads in Fife and I would have thought Marwick (and Salmond) would have wanted to build on that in order to retain the seat next time around. Rolfe I know you said the PO will still do constituency business but is there not a lot of PO related business to be done too?

  2. "This blog was today accessed from within Libya."


  3. What interested me last night was the utter impotent fury of the opposition parties (and Labour in particular) over Marwick's appointment. A bit hypocritical on the day that Labour engineeded a Labour PO in Cardiff when they are the governing party there, but when did that stop them.

    Also hypocritical in the light of Steele's appointment in 1999, when the LibDems were in government. Brewer tried to handwave this away by saying that was OK because it was a coalition government and that provided its own checks and balances. Nobody actually fell down laughing, waving limply in the direction of Westminster, which was surprising.

    In Westminster, it's not at all unusual for the Speaker to come from the governing party, either. Are the opposition parties implying that the PO will not be fair, and is that opinion based on experience?

    My initial thought had been that it was a disadvantage to have to give up a member to become PO. Far better to force one of the other parties to weaken itself in that way. But the furiously negative reaction shows that this simply isn't so.

    Also, the day before, McTiernan had been saying loudly that there would be no referendum because it was unconstitutional for the Holyrood government to call one under the terms of the Scotland Act. He specifically stated that the PO would strike out any attempt to bring one forward. There was no chance the SNP would agree to a Labour PO after a statement like that.