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About the Scottish Parliament

Presiding Officer and Deputy Presiding Officers

Alison Johnstone MSP is the elected Presiding Officer (PO) of the Scottish Parliament.

The PO is impartial in their role.  Their responsibilities include:

  • chairing meetings attended by all MSPs in the Debating Chamber
  • selecting the questions asked at the weekly First Minister’s Question Time
  • chairing Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body meetings
  • chairing Parliamentary Bureau meetings

The PO also represents the Scottish Parliament at home and abroad.

For the latest updates from the PO, follow @POScotParl on Twitter.

Video: the role of the Presiding Officer

BSL video: the role of the Presiding Officer

Listen to a podcast recorded with the PO in June 2021:


The PO is supported by 2 deputy Presiding Officers (DPOs).

Annabelle Ewing and Liam McArthur have been elected as Deputy Presiding Officers for Session 6.

Presiding Officer Alison Johnstone with Deputy Presiding Officers Liam McArthur and Annabelle Ewing on the floor of the Debating Chamber

The DPOs have the same duties when acting in place of the PO but they also:

  • continue to support their party (if they belong to a political party)
  • take part in business, including speaking in debates and voting, unless chairing proceedings in the Chamber

The DPOs also support the PO to represent the Scottish Parliament at home and abroad.


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