Deputy promotion for Midlothian MSP

Colin Beattie MSP is sworn in at the Scottish Parliament. Photo: Andrew Cowan/Scottish Parliament
Colin Beattie MSP is sworn in at the Scottish Parliament. Photo: Andrew Cowan/Scottish Parliament

Midlothian South MSP Christine Grahame has spoken of her “delight” at becoming one of the deputy presiding officers at Holyrood.

Ms Grahame (SNP) was voted to the post in a secret ballot by fellow MSPs at the Scottish Parliament.

The presiding officer for the parliament’s fifth term will be Ken McIntosh, who renounced his affiliation to Labour as part of the role.

Mr Graham will share the deputy role alongside fellow SNP MSP Linda Fabiani.

She said: “I am delighted to be elected as a deputy presiding officer of the Scottish Parliament.

“This does not affect my job as SNP MSP for Midlothian South Tweeddale & Lauderdale.

“I will be taking up cases and causes as per usual and surgeries will be up and running once my office premises have been sorted.

“May I take this opportunity to thank all who voted for me and if you did not, I hope to represent all my constituents which I am privileged to do for the next five years.”

Ms Grahame will no longer be able to chair the Justice Committee in her newly-promoted roll. As a deputy she will chair debates and takes over from the presiding officer in some debates and other public duties.

Meanwhile, Midlothian MP Owen Thompson (SNP) has become a founding member of new All- Party Parliamentary group on State Pension Inequality.

Mr Thompson has joined MPs from across the House to form a new Parliamentary group on the State Pension Age. The group will support those women hit by the acceleration of the equalisation of the State Pension Age, first in 1995 and then in 2011.

The group will seek to work with the new Work and Pensions Secretary Stephen Crabb to introduce transitional arrangements.

Mr Thompson said: “We are not seeking to apportion blame to anybody. We simply want to get the best outcome for these women, many of whom have worked hard for decades without taking a penny out of the system.

“I am therefore proud to be a founding member of this new Parliamentary campaign group. I hope that the new Work and Pensions Secretary will be receptive to our concerns, and that we will soon have the equitable outcome that the women deserve.”

In Midlothian, around 4020 women are directly affected by the 2011 Pensions Act alone. More than 300 local residents signed the e-petition calling for transitional arrangements, which received almost 200,000 signatures nationwide.