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Scotland Act 1998

Details of Provisions

Subsection (1) requires the Parliament at its first meeting following a general election to elect from amongst its membership a Presiding Officer and two deputies. The elections have to take place after members take their oath of allegiance because the members cannot take part in any proceedings until they have done so under section 84(2). The Standing Orders of the Scottish Parliament further detail the procedure for the election of the Presiding Officer and deputies.

Subsection (2) provides for a Presiding Officer or deputy to hold office until:

  • a new Presiding Officer is elected;

  • he resigns;

  • he ceases to be a member otherwise than by virtue of a dissolution; or

  • he is removed from office by resolution of the Parliament.

In other words, the Presiding Officer and the deputies will not cease to hold office merely because of the dissolution of the Parliament before a general election. They will continue to hold office until such time as the new Parliament elects a Presiding Officer (and the deputies) under subsection (1).

Subsection (3) requires the Parliament to elect a replacement for the Presiding Officer or a deputy who ceases to hold office for any reason before dissolution of the Parliament. The Standing Orders of the Parliament make further provision in this regard.

Subsection (4) provides that the Presiding Officer’s functions may be exercised by a deputy if the office is vacant or if the Presiding Officer is for any reason unable to act.

Subsection (5) empowers the Presiding Officer, subject to standing orders, to authorise any deputy to exercise functions on his behalf.

Subsection (6) enables standing orders to regulate the participation of the Presiding Officer and deputies in proceedings of the Parliament. In particular they may cover any constraints on the way in which the Presiding Officer and deputies may vote in proceedings which they chair.

Subsection (7) provides that the validity of any act of the Presiding Officer or a deputy is not affected by any defect in his election.

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