Tricia Marwick MSP elected as the Scottish Parliament’s first female Presiding Officer

11/05/2011

Tricia Marwick MSP (Mid Fife and Glenrothes) was today elected as the Scottish Parliament’s first female Presiding Officer, promising to be "fair to all Members".

The election took place following a secret ballot of newly elected Members.

Mrs Marwick, who is the Parliament’s fourth Presiding Officer, gave the following acceptance speech from the chair:

"First, I thank all my parliamentary colleagues from all parties for their support today. May I also thank my predecessor, Alex Fergusson, for his work over the last four years. His was a most difficult period, with the potential to have to use the casting vote every day. I hope to be spared that difficulty. Alex was a class act and a difficult one to follow. I will try my very, very best.

"As Presiding Officer, I will be fair to all Members. I will always act in the interests of the Scottish Parliament. And now we have work to do. Thank you."

Outgoing Presiding Officer Alex Fergusson MSP handed over to Tricia Marwick MSP this afternoon saying:

"The electorate of Scotland seems to take great delight in delivering a Parliament with significantly different challenges at each and every election.

"The Parliament itself seems to have taken this road of firsts to heart, electing a female Member as Presiding Officer for the first time.

"Having worked with Tricia Marwick on the Corporate Body over the past four years, I can testify to her ability to put the interests of this Parliament before the interests of any party within it.

"The role of Presiding Officer is one which carries with it the cloak of great privilege, and one of even greater responsibility. It is one which I have worn to the best of my ability and I am now delighted to pass it on to my elected successor."

Biography of Tricia Marwick
MSP for Mid Fife and Glenrothes, Tricia Marwick was born on 5 November 1953 in Cowdenbeath and brought up in Fife.

She worked as a public affairs officer for Shelter Scotland from 1992 until her election to the Scottish Parliament in 1999. In June 2001 she became Shadow Minister for Local Government, a post which she held until September 2005 when she was appointed Shadow Minister for Housing.

Tricia was previously the Convener of the Scottish Parliament’s Standards Committee and was appointed to the Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body in 2007.

In her spare time Tricia enjoys listening to music and spending time with her grandchildren Róisin and Odhrán.

She is married to Frankie and has two children Louise and Steven.

Background
The elections of the Scottish Parliament’s Presiding Officer and the two Deputy Presiding Officers are the only secret ballots conducted in the Scottish Parliament. The Deputy Presiding Officers, Elaine Smith MSP and John Scott MSP, were elected subsequently.

In 2007, Alex Fergusson became the Scottish Parliament’s third Presiding Officer and Trish Godman and Alastair Morgan were elected as Deputy Presiding Officers. In 2003, George Reid became the Scottish Parliament’s second Presiding Officer and Murray Tosh and Trish Godman were elected as Deputy Presiding Officers.

In 1999, Sir David Steel became the Scottish Parliament’s first Presiding Officer, and Patricia Ferguson and George Reid were elected as Deputy Presiding Officers. Murray Tosh took over as Deputy Presiding Officer from Patricia Ferguson in November 2001.

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