What happens in the Debating Chamber?

Use our interactive resource to find out more information about the Debating Chamber.

Picture of Debating Chamber

Meetings of the full Parliament take place in the Debating Chamber. Members of the Scottish Parliament (MSPs) come together to debate topical issues, question members of the Scottish Government and decide on new laws.

The Presiding Officer decides who will speak during a debate in the Chamber. The time allocated to each speaker depends on the length of the debate and the number of MSPs who want to contribute.

Who attends meetings of the Scottish Parliament?

What can Chamber business include?

The Parliamentary Bureau draws up a proposed agenda or business programme for meetings of the Parliament. The proposed business programme has to be agreed at a meeting of the Parliament, along with any changes to it.  

  • Time for Reflection, which is a short address from an invited speaker
  • Debates on a variety of issues, normally based on a motion
  • Decisions on bills
  • Ministerial statements and follow-up questions
  • Different types of Question Time

You can find out what’s happening this week in the Scottish Parliament by signing up to our free weekly eBulletin

The Scottish Parliament sits for around 35 weeks a year. Meetings normally take place in the Chamber on Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons and from late mornings on Thursdays. The Scottish Parliament does not meet during recess.

First Minister's Questions (English)

Click below to watch our short animation and learn what happens at First Minister’s Questions.

Ceistean a’ Phrìomh Mhinisteir (Gaelic / Gàidhlig)

Briog gu h-ìosal gus faighinn a-mach mu na bhios a’ tachairt aig Ceistean a’ Phrìomh Mhinisteir.


Decision time

Watch our short animation to find out what happens at decision time in the Chamber and how you can discover what has been decided.


Did you know?


You can visit the Debating Chamber on one of our guided tours

Tickets for Chamber business including First Minister's Questions are open to members of the public subject to ticket availability and prior booking. Contact Visitor Services on 0131 348 5200.

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Find out more

Your Parliament at Work
An audio version is also available
The Debating Chamber  

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