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Last Updated: Wednesday, 9 May 2007, 12:17 GMT 13:17 UK
MSPs at their best for ceremony
Andrew Black
Political reporter
BBC Scotland news website

The new MSPs were on their best behaviour, mostly, for their first day back at the Scottish parliament following the election.
Bashir Ahmad
Bashir Ahmad was the first Asian MSP

The grand swearing-in session was held in the main Holyrood chamber, overseen by outgoing presiding officer George Reid.

Mr Reid, although known for his thoughtful speeches, got straight down to business after welcoming new and returning members.

And size matters in this parliament, with the party leaders sworn in first on the basis of their success in the election.

The event also provided a prime opportunity to find out who had the most interesting middle names.

First up, Alexander Elliot Anderson Salmond.

The SNP leader - Scotland's next probable first minister - began by making a political point, stating: "The Scottish National Party's primary loyalty is with the people of Scotland in line with the Scottish constitutional tradition of the sovereignty of the people."

Mr Salmond, who wore the white rose along with his other MSPs, followed this by taking the oath before signing the parliamentary register.

Alex Salmond
Alex Salmond swore in as his deputy Nicola Sturgeon looked on

This looked like a visitors book, but is in fact an "A3 volume of loose leaf archival quality paper", according to officials.

Scottish Labour leader Jack McConnell, the current first minister, took an affirmation wearing a fetching blue kilt, in fact the tartan of Glasgow's 2014 Commonwealth Games bid.

Scotland's diverse culture was also represented in the chamber.

The first Asian MSP, Bashir Ahmad, wearing traditional Pakistani clothing, swore in using both English and Urdu.

I depone aat I wull be leal and bear ae full alleadgance tae her majesty Queen Elizabeth her airs an ony fa come aifter her anent the law
Brian Adam MSP
Scottish National Party

Nationalist Brian Adam used traditional Scots, stating: "I depone aat I wull be leal and bear ae full alleadgance tae her majesty Queen Elizabeth her airs an ony fa come aifter her anent the law."

Other members used Gaelic.

Scottish Labour MSPs wore red roses and among those sworn in were husband and wife team Richard and Claire Baker.

There were also a few makeovers, with returning Labour MSP and current health minister Andy Kerr sporting a pair of trendy black rimmed glasses, while his party colleague Cathy Peattie showed off her new hairstyle, complete with highlights.

And for statistics fans, it can be revealed that there were 41 new MSPs, with women taking up one third of the chamber. The oldest MSP is Lib Dem John Farquhar Munro, at 73, the youngest being 26-year-old Nationalist Aileen Campbell.

Jack McConnell
Jack McConnell wore a blue kilt to the ceremony

Old faces from 1999 not present in the second session of parliament also made a comeback, including former minister Ian Gray, Labour MSP Rhoda Grant and Nationalist Mike Russell.

After the ceremony, business was suspended.

The appointment of a new presiding officer, which must be done at the first meeting of parliament, has been delayed until next week to give the parties more time to consider the candidates.

There were a few incidents, including the SNP's Roseanna Cunningham taking the affirmation "under protest".

Labour's Elaine Smith did take the oath, but not before declaring: "I believe the people of Scotland should be citizens not subjects and hold firmly that my relationship will be first and foremost to them."

And Maureen Watt, SNP MSP for North East Scotland, crossed her fingers as she took the oath.

But the event was pretty smooth compared with 2003.

On that occasion, Scottish Socialist Party MSP Colin Fox was rebuked for singing Rabbie Burns' egalitarian classic A Man's A Man For A' That, while his colleague Rosie Kane displayed the words "my oath is to the people" on the palm of her hand.


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