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Last Updated: Monday, 14 May 2007, 16:14 GMT 17:14 UK
Alex Fergusson's acceptance speech
Alex Fergusson, Conservative MSP for Galloway and Upper Nithsdale, has been elected as the third presiding officer of the Scottish Parliament

Here is the acceptance speech he made in the Holyrood chamber.

George (Reid's) exit, as dignified as ever, seems a particularly harsh way to leave both this chamber and indeed the office of presiding officer.

He has served that office with great dignity, but also with honesty, compassion, wit, intelligence, patience and statesmanship.

He has been a great servant of Scotland.

I do not see his act as one to try and somehow blindly follow, but he has set an impeccably high standard and has been a shining example for all who follow in his footsteps.

Some of you will have read that I was initially very reluctant to do that, and I was.

I had not pursued this position before or during the election and it's come as something of a shock to the electorate of Galloway and Upper Nithsdale, who returned me less than two weeks ago with such a resounding majority.

My initial reluctance to put my name forward for this post was borne out of a concern that I would not be able to fulfil my commitments to that electorate as their constituency MSP.

And it was only at the end of last week that I fully persuaded myself that I would, and indeed that I could, undertake this vitally important role and simultaneously support and promote my constituents and my constituency.

I know that I can and I will.

It hasn't been an easy decision and sleep was a stranger to me for much of last week and this, I'm told, I will probably have to get used to.

I'm hugely bolstered and affected by the large number of MSPs who contacted me, both last week and this, to offer me their support.

And as I begin to take on this great responsibility and enormous honour that goes with it on representing our parliament, I thank you for that support wholeheartedly.

Everyone I ask agrees that we're in for an 'interesting time'. To make them slightly less interesting, for which I sometimes read contentious, at this stage I will, like my predecessors, reluctantly suspend my party allegiance for as long as I serve in this office.

Let us all remember that our electorate, the people of Scotland, want this new politics to work for them, and that we have a duty to deliver what the electorate expects.

I thank you for putting your faith in me and I look forward to working with each and every one of you as we seek to take this third session of the Scottish Parliament forward for the benefit of all our people.

Thank you.

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