Lothian Tory MSP Jeremy Balfour bids to be Holyrood deputy presiding officer

Newly re-elected Lothian Tory MSP Jeremy Balfour is bidding to be elected as one of the Scottish Parliament’s deputy presiding officers.

Tuesday, 11th May 2021, 4:45 pm

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Mr Balfour, who was the only disabled member of the last parliament, said he his election to the post would reinforce the inclusive nature of the new parliament, which has a more diverse make-up than any previous one with a bigger proportion of women, six ethnic minority MSPs including the first two women of colour to be elected to Holyrood and the first permanent wheelchair user.

The election of the presiding officer takes place on Thursday, with Lothian Green MSP Alison Johnstone among those tipped for the job, and the election of two deputy presiding officers is on Friday.

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Jeremy Balfour was re-elected as Lothian list MSP at last week's elections

Mr Balfour said: “I’m going to put my hat in the ring for deputy presiding officer. Now we’ve got a very inclusive parliament – more women, people from ethnic minorties – but there has never been a disabled deputy presiding officer. I think it would be a very positive sign for Scotland if that could change. It would be the next step for parliament to recognise where society is.”

The elections are by secret ballot and several MSPs are understood to be putting themselves forward for the deputy roles.

Mr Balfour said: “I would hope to get good backing from my colleagues, but I hope cross-party too – I always try to work cross-party on issues and hopefully that is recognised.”

The former city councillor has been an MSP since 2016.

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