The glossary provides definitions for parliamentary terms to help you understand the Parliament and how it works. The terms are arranged alphabetically so select a letter to find the term you would like to have explained.
A colloquial term for an amendment to a motion — particularly a motion to agree the general principles of a bill at Stage 1 or to pass it at Stage 3 — which sets out reasons for or against supporting the motion, or which amends the motion so as to indicate – whilst agreeing that the bill should proceed – that some issues to do with the bill arouse concern.
A period when the Parliament is not dissolved, but is not meeting for a particular length of time.
For a public bill, the member in charge of a bill may, after the bill is passed, by motion propose that the Parliament reconsiders the bill (rule 9.9). In the procedure for a private bill, any member may, after the bill is passed, by motion propose that the Parliament reconsiders the bill (rule 9A.11). The purpose of the Reconsideration Stage is to resolve concerns over the competency of a bill.
Referendum (Scotland) Bill Committee
An ad-hoc committee of the Parliament, of 11 members, the remit of which is to consider matters relating to The Scotland Act 1998 (Modification of Schedule 5) Order 2013, the Referendum (Scotland) Bill, its implementation and any associated legislation.
An electoral area which contains a number of Scottish parliamentary constituencies.
An MSP returned for 1 of the 8 electoral regions in Scotland.
register of cross-party groups
The official record of cross-party groups recognised by the Standards, Procedures and Public Appointments Committee.
register of members interests
A register listing details of MSPs’ interests under categories such as remuneration, sponsorship and gifts.
registered political party
A political party registered under the Registration of Political Parties Act 1998.
An interest which must be registered to comply with the Code of Conduct for MSPs.
registration of interests
A scheme to ensure that registrable interests of MSPs are entered in the register of members’ interests.
A colloquial term to describe the 5 key principles set out by George Reid in the Presiding Officer’s Guidance on Relationships between MSPs.
rejection (of a bill)
Under the Standing Orders, a bill is rejected if the vote at Stage 3 is not valid. This applies even if a majority of those who voted backed the bill. A Stage 3 vote is valid only if the number of members who voted is more than one quarter of the total number of MSPs.
A member of a parliamentary committee appointed by that committee to report to it on any matter within its remit. Sometimes know as a rapporteur.
Matters on which the UK Parliament at Westminster alone can pass valid legislation.
resignation of member
When an MSP gives up their seat in the Parliament by notifying the Presiding Officer in writing.
A motion that has been agreed to by the Parliament.
A form of voting at a meeting of the Parliament or in a committee, where the roll is called alphabetically and the members are asked to declare orally their vote (‘Yes’, ‘No’ or ‘Abstain’).
When the approval of the sovereign turns a bill passed by the Parliament into an Act of the Scottish Parliament.
Rural Affairs, Climate Change and Environment Committee
A subject committee of the Parliament, of 9 members, the remit of which is to consider and report on agriculture, fisheries, rural development, climate change, the environment and other matters falling within the responsibility of the Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs & the Environment.