Deputy Presiding Officers

– in the Scottish Parliament on 14th May 2021.

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Photo of Alison Johnstone Alison Johnstone Green

Good morning. The next item of business is the election of two Deputy Presiding Officers. The nominees are Clare Adamson, Claire Baker, Jeremy Balfour, James Dornan, Annabelle Ewing, Rhoda Grant, Bill Kidd, Liam McArthur, Stuart McMillan and Edward Mountain.

The election shall again proceed in accordance with temporary rule 1 of standing orders, with voting procedures the same as those used in the election of the Presiding Officer. If no member receives an overall majority in the first round of voting, there will be subsequent rounds.

The same procedure will be followed for the election of the second Deputy Presiding Officer. When the first Deputy Presiding Officer is elected, voting rounds will begin for the second Deputy Presiding Officer, involving all candidates who were unsuccessful in the election of the first Deputy Presiding Officer.

To ensure everyone’s safety in line with Covid-19 protocols, I ask all members to put on their face coverings now, unless they have a medical exemption.

I declare the election of the first Deputy Presiding Officer open. The clerks will begin distributing the ballot papers.

Members voted by secret ballot.

The Presiding Officer:

Voting in the first round of the election of the first Deputy Presiding Officer is now closed. The clerks will now take the ballot boxes to room P1.02

, and I invite any scrutineers appointed by the candidates to make their way to P1.02 to observe the counting of ballot papers, while observing social distancing.

All other members may now remove their face coverings.

In this round of voting in the election of the Deputy Presiding Officer, the number of votes cast for each candidate was as follows: Clare Adamson 9, Claire Baker 13, Jeremy Balfour 10, James Dornan 7, Annabelle Ewing 35, Rhoda Grant 12, Bill Kidd 4, Liam McArthur 16, Stuart McMillan 5 and Edward Mountain 13. There was one abstention and one spoiled ballot paper. Accordingly, as no candidate has received an overall majority of the votes cast and as Bill Kidd received the fewest votes, he is eliminated from the election and a further round will take place with the following candidates: Clare Adamson, Claire Baker, Jeremy Balfour, James Dornan, Annabelle Ewing, Rhoda Grant, Liam McArthur, Stuart McMillan and Edward Mountain.

There will be a short break while ballot papers are printed. I suspend the meeting for five minutes.

11:09 Meeting suspended.

11:19 On resuming—

The voting period is now open, with the same voting procedure as before. I ask members please to put on their face coverings while the clerks distribute the ballot papers and for the duration of the voting period.

Members voted by secret ballot.

Voting in this round of the Deputy Presiding Officer election is closed. I invite the scrutineers to proceed to room P1.02 for the counting of votes.

Photo of Jackie Baillie Jackie Baillie Labour

On a point of order, Presiding Officer.

Out of interest, would a member be able to voluntarily withdraw—if, for example, they had not received a significant level of support? I ask in the interests of speed and efficiency.

The Presiding Officer:

I thank Ms Baillie for that point of order. Under the rules, members can withdraw. Members should notify the clerks if they wish to do so.

In this round of voting in the election of the Deputy Presiding Officer, the number of votes cast for each candidate was as follows: Clare Adamson 5, Claire Baker 8, Jeremy Balfour 9, James Dornan 6, Annabelle Ewing 44, Rhoda Grant 11, Liam McArthur 22, Stuart McMillan 6 and Edward Mountain 15. There were no abstentions or spoiled ballot papers. The candidate eliminated is Clare Adamson. Accordingly, as no candidate has received an overall majority of the votes cast, a further round will take place with the following candidates: Claire Baker, Jeremy Balfour, James Dornan, Annabelle Ewing, Rhoda Grant, Liam McArthur, Stuart McMillan and Edward Mountain.

There will be a short break while ballot papers are printed.

Photo of Jackie Baillie Jackie Baillie Labour

Would it be appropriate to have a five-minute recess to allow candidates to consider whether they might wish to withdraw?

The Presiding Officer:

I am willing to consider such a recess. That is agreed.

For clarity, I say that members who wish to withdraw at this stage can be re-entered for the second Deputy Presiding Officer position.

I am advised that James Dornan and Stuart McMillan have withdrawn. The list of nominees is therefore Claire Baker, Jeremy Balfour, Annabelle Ewing, Rhoda Grant, Liam McArthur and Edward Mountain. There will now be a short break while ballot papers are printed.

12:05 Meeting suspended.

12:14 On resuming—

The voting period is now open, with the same voting procedure as before. I ask members please to put on their face coverings while the clerks distribute the ballot papers and for the duration of the voting period.

Members voted by secret ballot.

Voting in this round of the Deputy Presiding Officer election is now closed. I invite the scrutineers to proceed to P1.02 for the counting of votes.

In this round of voting in the election of the Deputy Presiding Officer, the number of votes cast for each candidate was: Claire Baker 9, Jeremy Balfour 6, Annabelle Ewing 58, Rhoda Grant 14, Liam McArthur 26 and Edward Mountain 13. There were no abstentions or spoiled ballot papers. Accordingly, as no candidate has received an overall majority of the votes cast and as Jeremy Balfour received the fewest votes, he is eliminated and a further round will take place with Claire Baker, Annabelle Ewing, Rhoda Grant, Liam McArthur and Edward Mountain.

However, I suggest that we break for lunch, while ballot papers are printed, and that we resume the process at 1.45.

Photo of Edward Mountain Edward Mountain Conservative

On a point of order, Presiding Officer. I am sorry to add confusion to the process that is under way. Given my position, I will withdraw from the next round, to allow for a more focused vote. I hope that that is acceptable. I will notify the business team accordingly.

The Presiding Officer:

Thank you very much, Mr Mountain.

12:49 Meeting suspended.

13:46 On resuming—

The remaining nominees for the election of the Deputy Presiding Officer are Annabelle Ewing, Rhoda Grant and Liam McArthur. The voting period is now open, with the same voting procedure as before. I ask members to put on their face coverings while the clerks distribute the ballot papers and for the duration of the voting period, please.

Members voted by secret ballot.

In this round of voting in the election of the Deputy Presiding Officer, the number of votes cast for each candidate was as follows: Annabelle Ewing 64, Rhoda Grant 16 and Liam McArthur 44. There was one abstention and no spoiled ballots. Accordingly, as Annabelle Ewing received more votes than the total number of votes received by the other candidates, and as more than 25 per cent of members voted, she is elected as Deputy Presiding Officer. Congratulations, Ms Ewing. I look forward to working with you. [

Applause.

]

As members may know, I have selected three urgent questions to be answered this afternoon. That will follow a brief suspension at the end of the election of the Deputy Presiding Officers. When we get to that item, if a member wishes to ask a supplementary question and they are in either the main hall or the public gallery, they should raise their hand when the relevant question is asked. The clerk will then convey their request to me and will direct them to a part of their location from where they will be able to ask their question, if called.

I believe that Daniel Johnson would like to make a point of order.

Photo of Daniel Johnson Daniel Johnson Labour

On a point of order, Presiding Officer.

I am grateful to you for taking my point of order.

We all recognise the huge importance of the election of the Deputy Presiding Officers, but the process has taken a considerable amount of time—probably twice as much as any of us might have expected it to take. I therefore ask you to consider bringing forward a motion under rule 17.2, in consultation with the Parliamentary Bureau, to vary the standing orders—in particular, paragraphs 9 and 10 of rule 11.9—so that we can substitute the mechanisms that are currently in place with the use of the single transferable vote, which is a method far more suited to an election of this sort and would be far more efficient. I would be grateful if you and the Bureau could give that consideration.

The Presiding Officer:

I thank Mr Johnson for his point of order. I will not bring forward such a motion today. I am sure that he would agree that it would be potentially unfair and inappropriate to change the election method halfway through proceedings, but I certainly agree that the issue can be considered ahead of the next such election.

We will have a five-minute period during which candidates may notify clerks if they wish to withdraw. After that, we will move on to the election of the second Deputy Presiding Officer.

The candidates for the election of the second Deputy Presiding Officer are Clare Adamson, Claire Baker, Jeremy Balfour, James Dornan, Rhoda Grant, Liam McArthur, Stuart McMillan and Edward Mountain. Bill Kidd has withdrawn from this election.

Voting rounds will now begin, involving all candidates who were unsuccessful in the election of the first Deputy Presiding Officer, as I have just described. There will now be a five-minute suspension while ballot papers are printed.

14:24 Meeting suspended.

14:30 On resuming—

The voting period is now open, with the same voting procedure as before. I ask members to put on their face coverings while the clerks distribute the ballot papers and for the duration of the voting period, please.

Members voted by secret ballot.

Voting in this round of the second Deputy Presiding Officer election is now closed. The clerks will now take the ballot boxes to P1.02, and I invite any scrutineers appointed by the candidates to make their way to P1.02 to observe the counting of ballot papers, while observing social distancing.

In this round of voting in the election of the second Deputy Presiding Officer, the number of votes cast for each candidate was as follows: Clare Adamson 10, Claire Baker 13, Jeremy Balfour 5, James Dornan 9, Rhoda Grant 10, Liam McArthur 45, Stuart McMillan 20 and Edward Mountain 12. I have been notified that Mr Mountain intends to withdraw from the next round of voting. There were no abstentions and no spoiled ballots. The candidate eliminated from this round is Jeremy Balfour.

A further voting round will now begin for the election of the second Deputy Presiding Officer. There will be a short break while ballot papers are printed.

15:00 Meeting suspended.

15:10 On resuming—

The voting period is now open, with the same voting procedure as before. I ask members to put on their face coverings while the clerks distribute the ballot papers and for the duration of the voting period, please.

Members voted by secret ballot.

Voting in this round of the second Deputy Presiding Officer election is now closed. The clerks will now take the ballot boxes to P1.02, and I invite any scrutineers appointed by the candidates to make their way to P1.02 to observe the counting of ballot papers, while observing social distancing.

In this round of voting in the election of the second Deputy Presiding Officer, the number of votes cast for each candidate was as follows: Clare Adamson 7, Claire Baker 9, James Dornan 5, Rhoda Grant 9, Liam McArthur 74 and Stuart McMillan 19. There were no abstentions and no spoiled ballots. Accordingly, as Liam McArthur received more than the total number of votes received by the other candidates, and as more than 25 per cent of members voted, he is elected as the second Deputy Presiding Officer of the Scottish Parliament. I very much look forward to working with him. [

Applause.

]

I thank each and every candidate who took part in the election.

As members may be aware, we will have an urgent question session this afternoon, and I suspend the meeting until 4 pm, when we will move to that session.

15:39 Meeting suspended.

16:01 On resuming—