Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Labour MSP Hugh Henry throws his hat into the ring for Presiding Officer at Holyrood, but it might be an idea to look at Tavish Scott

Dear All

Labour's Hugh Henry has become the second MSP to declare he is running for election as the Scottish Parliament's presiding officer.

The position was previously held by Tory Alex Fergusson who has returned to the Tory MSP Group.

As part of his campaign, Hugh Henry has declared he would not stand in the way of an independence referendum if successful.

Another MSP has also thrown her hat into the ring; SNP's Christine Grahame has also put her name forward.

A possible third is Tricia Marwick who also may stand.

Of the class of 1999, a total of 36 members are returning, 2011 saw many of the 1999 class wiped out.

First Minister Alex Salmond has indicated he would not attempt to influence his MSPs to elect an SNP presiding officer.

This might see in Hugh Henry.

I think that Hugh Henry will attract cross party support.

Henry said on the referendum:

"We have to respect the mandate that the SNP has been given by the people of Scotland to hold an independence referendum, and that is something that both parliament and the political parties should acknowledge."

He added:

"I am very clear that the people voted for a manifesto that promised a referendum in the last years of the new Scottish Parliament, so it is absurd for politicians to start demanding an early referendum."

One thing which might work against him is that Labour MSP Patricia Ferguson will stand to become one of Holyrood's two deputy presiding officers, a post she has previously held.

I can’t see the SNP wanting two Labour MSPs in these positions.

Who it will be, we will have to wait and see.

But one thing is certain, the SNP have 69 seats and should be putting up more than one candidate for these positions.

I would like to see a balance of a Tory, SNP and Labour as to reflect Alex Salmond’s vision of consensual politics.

As an outsider, perhaps Tavish Scott as Presiding Officer.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

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