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Last Updated: Tuesday, 8 May 2007, 11:39 GMT 12:39 UK
MSP will not seek Holyrood role
Alex Fergusson
Alex Fergusson said he would not stand as presiding officer
Alex Fergusson has ended speculation that he will stand for the role of presiding officer in the new Scottish Parliament on Wednesday.

The Conservative MSP for Galloway and Upper Nithsdale said he intended to focus on his constituents rather than pursue the post or the deputy position.

Mr Fergusson was returned to Holyrood after Thursday's elections with an increased majority of 3,333.

Scotland's current presiding officer George Reid is due to stand down.

Mr Fergusson said: "I have decided not to put my name forward for the position of presiding officer on Wednesday.

My first obligation is to my constituents, who gave me such a vote of confidence on Thursday. They are and remain my utmost priority.
Alex Fergusson

"My first obligation is to my constituents, who gave me such a vote of confidence on Thursday. They are and remain my utmost priority."

Scottish Conservative leader Annabel Goldie has indicated that she thinks the position of presiding officer should be taken by either a member of the SNP or Labour.

The slender size of any conceivable coalition majority has made filling the position of presiding officer problematic for both parties.

Among the other possible contenders for the role are Holyrood's sole independent MSP Margot MacDonald.

Helpful

Ms MacDonald said that for her to take on the role would be a "neat solution" as none of the four main parties would lose an MSP as a result.

She said: "The whole idea was I was trying to be helpful as I could.

"Because I am in a single position in the parliament, in many ways I have no restrictions."

As a result of Thursday's election the Nationalists emerged as the largest party with 47 seats while Labour emerged with 46.

Parliament will meet for the first time since the election on Wednesday to swear in MSPs and appoint a new presiding officer.


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