Fourth Session: A guide to the taking of the Oath of Allegiance or Solemn Affirmation


Under the terms of the Scotland Act 1998, Sections 84(1) and 84(2), a person who is returned as a member of the Scottish Parliament cannot take part in parliamentary proceedings until he or she has taken the oath of allegiance or made a solemn affirmation.

While the Act allows members two months from the date of their election to take the oath it is anticipated that members will wish to do so as soon as possible.

The morning of the Parliament’s first meeting on Wednesday 11 May, has therefore been set aside to allow MSPs to take the oath or make a solemn affirmation. This will be the first business of the fourth session of the Scottish Parliament.

The outgoing Presiding Officer Alex Fergusson will preside over the oath-taking procedure.

Members will arrive for the oath-taking throughout the morning, at times agreed in advance, from 09.30 onwards. Details of the order in which members are expected to arrive will be made available to the media on the day.

Members will enter the Chamber individually from the north and south entrances. After being called by the Presiding Officer, they will proceed to the well of the Chamber where they will be asked whether they wish to take the oath or the affirmation. The choice is a personal one and the effect of both is the same.

The oath states: “I (Member’s Name), do swear that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, Her Heirs and Successors, according to Law. So help me God.”

The affirmation states: “I (Member’s Name), do solemnly, sincerely and truly declare and affirm that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, Her Heirs and Successors, according to Law.”

Members will be handed a card with either the oath or affirmation, according to their choice, and asked to repeat the words after the officiating Clerk. They may then repeat the oath or affirmation in a language other than English.

Members will then be asked to sign the Parliamentary Register, before either taking a seat or exiting the Chamber.

The Register is an A3 volume of loose leaf archival quality paper which has either the text of the oath or the affirmation inscribed at the top of each page.

Any member who refuses to take the oath or the affirmation will be unable to take part in any other proceedings of the Parliament and will not be paid any salary and allowances until he or she has done so. If any member has not taken the oath or affirmation within two months of the day of their election they shall cease to be a Member of the Parliament (unless the Parliament agrees to extend this period).

The oath taking ceremony is expected to last from 09.30am until around 12.30pm.

Members of the media should contact:
Ann Donald: 0131 348 6085 RNID TypeTalk calls welcome

For public information enquiries, contact:
Telephone: 0131 348 5000 / 0800 092 7500 (Public Enquiries) / 0131 348 5395 (Gàidhlig)
Textphone users can contact us on 0800 092 7100. We also welcome calls using the RNID Typetalk service. Email:

You can now get in touch with the Parliament by text message. Our interactive service enables you to get the name of your MSP by sending your postcode, lets you ask questions about the Parliament and its work, and enables you to request a selection of free leaflets. The number to take advantage of is 07786 209888. Texts are charged at standard network rates. More details can be found on our Text Service page.

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