Elaine Smith MSP and John Scott MSP elected as Deputy Presiding Officers


Following the election of Tricia Marwick MSP as the Scottish Parliament's Presiding Officer, a further secret ballot of Members saw Elaine Smith MSP and John Scott MSP elected as Deputy Presiding Officers.

Deputy Presiding Officer Elaine Smith MSP said:

"This is an exciting and challenging role. I am greatly looking forward to playing my part in the work of the fourth Parliament and I will work hard with my counterparts to make the next Parliament a success.”

Deputy Presiding Officer John Scott MSP commented:

"I am pleased to have received the support of my colleagues. I feel privileged to be working with Tricia and Elaine in the coming session.”


Elaine Smith MSP

MSP for Coatbridge and Chryston

Elaine Smith was born in Coatbridge in 1963 and was educated at St Patrick’s High School in the town. She graduated with an honours degree in Social Science (Economics and Politics) and undertook post-graduate teacher training. She also worked in local government departments and in the voluntary sector after teaching in various schools.

She was first elected to the Scottish Parliament in 1999 and was re-elected in 2003 and 2007. She has been a member of a wide range of committees and cross party groups in that time, and has served as a Deputy Convener of the Equal Opportunities Committee.

She lives in Coatbridge with her husband and young son.

John Scott MSP

MSP for Ayr

John Scott was born in Ayrshire in 1951 and was educated at Barrhill Primary and George Watson’s College. He has a BSc in Civil Engineering from Edinburgh University.

He farms at Balkissock near Ballantrae and established the Ayrshire Farmers Market in 1999. He is a past chairman of the National Farmers Union of Scotland Hill Farming Committee and the Scottish Association of Farmers Markets. John is also an Honorary Member of the BVA, an Associate of the Royal Agricultural Society and an Honorary Fellow of the Moredun Institute.

He was the Deputy Convener of the Public Petitions Committee and was elected to serve on the Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body (SPCB) in 2003. He was also the Scottish Conservative Spokesperson on the Environment between 2001 and 2003, and in the third session of Parliament was a Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and the Environment.

His interests include curling, geology and rugby.


The elections of the Scottish Parliament's Presiding Officer and two Deputy Presiding Officers are the only secret ballots conducted in the Scottish Parliament.

In May 2007, Alex Fergusson became the Scottish Parliament’s third Presiding Officer and Alasdair Morgan MSP and Trish Godman MSP elected as Deputy Presiding Officers.

In May 2003, George Reid became Scottish Parliament’s second Presiding Officer and Murray Tosh and Trish Godman were elected as Deputy Presiding Officers.

In May 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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