Douglas Lumsden, Scottish Conservative MSP for the north-east region, reflects on his first week at Holyrood as part of our series on the experiences of some of Scotland’s newest MSPs.
Monday May 10
“So, after all the excitement of the election and count it was an early start to get to my first day at Holyrood.
“I had been at Holyrood on a number of occasions before but today was different; I was going as a newly elected member of the Scottish Parliament.
“The first day was a training day for half of the ”newbies” with the other half attending on Tuesday.
“We were all in small groups, mixed between parties and it was a bit like the first day at school!
“A tour of the building, official photograph, laptop collected and security pass all done, it was time for a security briefing in the main chamber before day one was complete.
Tuesday May 11
“Back in the Aberdeen City Council chamber to chair my last city growth and resources committee; my last but probably the most important with decisions taken on the city centre masterplan, BHS building and freeports.
Wednesday May 12
“Early start again to get to Edinburgh for 9am. This time all the new MSPs had to attend.
“Today was sessions in the chamber on how to take part in chamber business and how to vote.
“It is clear that a huge amount of work has taken place to allow the parliament to operate during the pandemic but, like most people, I cannot wait for it to be safe to have a full debating chamber once again.
“The afternoon session was information on standards, employment, equalities and diversity responsibilities.
“As an MSP, you are also an employer of staff and there is help at parliament to make sure you get this right.
Thursday May 13
“Today is the first day that MSPs (new and old) are back to Holyrood so it was another chance to meet your new colleagues.
“Today was the day that all 129 MSPs are sworn in. I was in the third batch of four and the more I watched others and the more I waited, the more nervous I got.
So today I was officialy sworn in as a Member of Scottish Parliament at @ScotParl and also I stepped down as co-leader at @AberdeenCC. It has been an absolute honour to be leader at a time when we became @TheMJAwards UK council of the year 2020. #ProudDay pic.twitter.com/4PY6FZAe3K
— Douglas Lumsden MSP (@dlumsden) May 13, 2021
“The oath or affirmation is a simple thing to say but, for me, the enormity of the whole process and the fact that you were now officially about to represent your constituents and country was huge.
“It is treated as a special day and it should be.
“It is a great honour and privilege being a member of the Scottish Parliament and one I will never take for granted.
“Afternoon was the election of a new presiding officer, the equivalent of the speaker in the House of Commons. Only one candidate, so Alison Johnstone was therefore elected and take up this neutral role.
Friday May 14
“Last item of parliament business for week one was the election of two deputy presiding officers.
“This was a long, drawn-out paper process that took up most of the day with plenty of breaks when votes were being counted to catch up on emails.
“The journey home, to catch up on my thoughts and also to draw up my “to do” list. Formalities are over, and next week the first minister will be confirmed and new cabinet will be revealed.
“Our focus must be our recovery from this pandemic and I look forward to playing my part in the region and Scotland’s success.”