Scottish Parliament

The Scottish Parliament

Creation and Governance

  • Established by the Scotland Act 1998, a key piece of constitutional legislation passed by the UK Parliament.
  • The Scottish Parliament is a devolved legislature, meaning it has power to make laws for Scotland on a range of issues.
  • It is unicameral, comprising only one chamber of 129 elected Members of the Scottish Parliament (MSPs).
  • The Parliament is governed in accordance with the Scotland Act and its own standing orders, which set out rules for its procedures and operations.

Powers and Responsibilities

  • Reserved matters, which include defense, foreign policy, and immigration, remain under the control of the UK Parliament and are not devolved.
  • Devolved matters, including health, education, and transport, are within the legislative competence of the Scottish Parliament.
  • The Scotland Act 2016 further increased the Parliament’s powers, particularly in areas like taxation and welfare.

Political Impact

  • The establishment of the Scottish Parliament has had a significant impact on Scottish politics, creating a distinct policy environment.
  • Scottish National Party (SNP) has frequently dominated elections, reflecting its major influence in Scottish politics.

Devolution Debates

  • The Scottish Parliament is a central factor in discussions about Scotland’s constitutional status, including possible independence from the UK.
  • The Brexit vote, which saw Scotland vote in favour of remain, has reignited questions about the future of devolution and Scotland’s relationship with the rest of the UK.