Ken takes the hot seat

Ken Macintosh has pledged to bring about reforms at Holyrood
Ken Macintosh has pledged to bring about reforms at Holyrood

Former Eastwood MSP Ken Macintosh has been elected as the Scottish Parliament’s new Presiding Officer.

And he immediately pledged to bring about reforms at Holyrood.

The West of Scotland list MSP will now resign as a member of the Labour Party after beating off competition from his former colleagues Johann Lamont and Elaine Smith, as well as Tories John Scott and Murdo Fraser, in a vote at Holyrood last week.

The contest went to a third vote which saw Mr Macintosh prevail with 71 votes, while Mr Fraser took 31 and Ms Lamont got 26 votes. Ms Smith and Mr Scott had been eliminated in earlier rounds.

Mr Macintosh was congratulated by Nicola Sturgeon and the other party leaders as he made his way to the Presiding Officer’s chair following the vote to replace the outgoing post holder, Tricia Marwick.

Labour’s party leader in Scotland, Kezia Dugdale, welcomed her former colleague’s appointment.

She said: “As someone who was elected in 1999, Ken has the experience and skill to guide us through a parliamentary session that will be dominated by cross-party co-operation. I know Ken will perform his role in an even-handed, impartial way. He will be a strong advocate for reform and for ensuring the Scottish Parliament is effective in holding the government to account.”

Eastwood MSP Jackson Carlaw said: “The Presiding Officer plays an important role in the running of our Scottish Parliament and there is much reform required to ensure the parliament performs as well as it should for the people of Eastwood.

“I congratulate Ken Macintosh on his election and will work with him to deliver the reform our Scottish Parliament needs.

“Ken Macintosh is a decent man who has demonstrated support from across the party divide.”