WHEN Christian Allard is sworn in as an SNP MSP for the North East today, he will do so in his native French, bringing to eight the number of languages in which new members have taken the oath or affirmation at Holyrood over the years.

All new MSPs are obliged to take the oath in English but they can also opt to take it in another language. In the first intake in 1999, MSP Nick Johnston did so in his wife's Catalan tongue.

At the start of the current session, no fewer than six languages in addition to English were deployed – Gaelic, Scots, Doric, Italian, Arabic and Urdu.

Today, Mr Allard, replacing Mark McDonald, will say: "Moi, Christian Allard, déclare et affirme solennellement, sincèrement et en vérité, que je serai fidèle à mon sermon d'allégeance porté à sa Majesté la Reine Elizabeth, Ses héritiers et successeurs, de par la Loi."

He will already have said: "I do solemnly, sincerely and truly declare and affirm, that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, Her heirs and successors, according to Law."

Mr Allard was born in Dijon in 1964 and came to Scotland more than 25 years ago to open an office in Glasgow for a seafood transport and logistics company. He married a Scot and moved to the North East.

He said: "I've raised three daughters here, and I'm proud to call Scotland my home. It's a wonderfully welcoming country, with such huge potential"