THE Scottish Socialist party's new MSPs yesterday lived up to their promise to bring ''madness and craziness'' to Holyrood as the Scottish Parliament's second four-year term began.

In a day of drama and high jinks, all 129 MSPs were sworn in and George Reid, the SNP MSP, was elected presiding officer, replacing Sir David Steel, who retired from Holyrood.

Also yesterday, Jim Wallace, the Liberal Democrat leader, accused Labour of throwing coalition talks into disarray by leaking details of the secret negotiations to the press. Mr Wallace condemned ''Labour spinning'' and dismissed reports that his party had made major concessions on education during the first day of talks on Tuesday.

It had been hoped that the formal swearing-in of the 129 MSPs would be an incident-free process.

However, Tommy Sheridan and his five new SSP colleagues used their moment to voice their anger at having to swear allegiance to the Queen.

Mr Sheridan set the tone by pledging to fight for ''an independent socialist republic'' before being sworn in.

With his left fist clenched and held aloft - duplicating his swearing-in in 1999 - he said: ''I and my party colleagues were elected on the clear, honest commitment to an independent socialist Scotland - a socialist republic, a Scotland of citizens, not a Scotland of


However, his new colleague, Rosie Kane, Glasgow list SSP MSP, who had already shocked seasoned politicians by wearing jeans to parliament, stole the show when she held up her right arm and opened the palm of her hand to reveal the message: ''My oath is to the people.''

She added: ''Like my comrades before me and increasing numbers of MSPs in this parliament, I take this oath under very strong protest. A government that asks firefighters to modernise should really think about modernising itself.''

Colin Fox, the SSP's MSP for the Lothians region, was rebuked after he began singing Robert Burns's egalitarian classic A Man's A Man For A' That as he took the oath. Sheena Wellington, the singer, sang it officially four years ago at the opening ceremony.

Sir David, on his final day before retirement, told him: ''If you are not prepared to take the oath, you will have to wait until the end of the queue.''

A number of Nationalists, Greens, Labour's Elaine Smith, and the independent Dennis Canavan also made clear that they were pledging allegiance to the monarch under protest.

John Swinney, the SNP leader, recorded his dissent about the affirmation of loyalty to the Queen on behalf of his party, and 12 other SNP members made their own individual protests.

Two of the seven Greens protested - Robin Harper against the royalist principle and Eleanor Scott against the requirement that an oath in Gaelic had to be repeated in English. Five members repeated the oath in Gaelic.

First to be sworn in was Jack McConnell, the first minister, who made the declaration of allegiance by affirmation rather than by oath.

He ''solemnly, sincerely, and truly'' declared and affirmed he would be faithful and bear ''true allegiance'' to the Queen and her successors according to law. A total of 72 members swore the oath and 57 chose to affirm.

After the swearing-in ceremony was complete, Mr Reid, a veteran Nationalist, was elected as the new presiding officer.

Mr Reid, who was Sir David's deputy in the last parliament, was unopposed and received the backing of 113 MSPs in a secret ballot.

A clearly emotional Sir David paid tribute to Mr Reid before handing him the reins.

Mr McConnell led the tributes for Mr Reid, saying he would have the full backing of the Scottish Executive and Labour MSPs.

Labour back bencher Trish Godman and Tory MSP Murray Tosh were elected as Mr Reid's two deputies.