Presiding Officer meets counterparts from Wales and Northern Ireland

12/07/2007

The Presiding Officers of the Scottish Parliament, Northern Ireland Assembly and National Assembly for Wales have held their first formal meeting since taking up their offices.

Alex Fergusson, William Hay and Lord Dafydd Elis-Thomas met in Belfast on Wednesday to discuss the challenges faced within their roles and share good practice. Topics included corporate governance, communicating with the wider world and representing legislatures at home and abroad.

Speaking after the meeting, Presiding Officer Alex Fergusson MSP said:

"As the Presiding Officers of the three devolved legislatures within the UK, we face many similar issues and it has been incredibly useful to discuss them. We shall continue to have a dialogue and learn from each others experiences.”

Background

The meeting follows on from an informal meeting on 30 June when the Scottish Parliament marked the start of its third parliamentary session.

Since taking up his post, Alex Fergusson met with the Speaker of the House of Commons Michael Martin and Lord Speaker Baroness Hayman on 12 June.

Mr Alex Fergusson MSP (Presiding Officer of the Scottish Parliament)

Alex Fergusson was born on 08 April 1949 in Leswalt, Scotland.

Mr Fergusson was first elected Member of the Scottish Parliament for the South of Scotland region in 1999. In the 2003 Scottish Parliamentary elections, he was elected Member for the Galloway and Upper Nithsdale constituency. In 2007 he was re-elected Member for Galloway and Upper Nithsdale with an increased majority. On 14 May, Mr Fergusson was elected Presiding Officer for the Scottish Parliament’s third session.

Mr William Hay MLA (Presiding Officer of the Northern Ireland Assembly)

William Hay was born in 1959 in County Donegal in the Republic of Ireland.

Following the Belfast Agreement in May 1998, he was elected to the newly established Northern Ireland Assembly as a Democratic Unionist MLA for Foyle. He was subsequently re-elected in 2003 and 2007. William Hay was elected Speaker of the Northern Ireland Assembly on 8 May 2007.

Lord Dafydd Elis-Thomas (Presiding Officer of the National Assembly for Wales )

Dafydd Elis-Thomas, was born on 18 October 1946 in Carmarthen and brought up in the Llandysul area of Ceredigion, and, later, in Llanrwst in the Conwy Valley.

In 1999 he was elected as an AM to the first National Assembly of Wales for the constituency Meirionnydd Nant Conwy, and was re-elected to that seat in 2003.

In 2007 he was elected to represent Dwyfor Meirionnydd in the Assembly. He has been Presiding Officer of the National Assembly since 1999. As such he is currently the longest serving Presiding Officer/Speaker still in office in the UK.

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