MSPS have unanimously agreed to forego their two-month summer recess to help monitor the Scottish Government’s handling of the coronavirus crisis.

The first regular summer sittings in Holyrood’s history had been proposed by the cross-party bureau which sets parliamentary business

The formal stamp of approval means there will now be “virtual statement-led sessions” every Thursday in July and early August, with MSPs able to take part in person or online.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is due to make statements in the chamber on July 9 and 30. 

Parliament will also resume in full on August 11, the day slated for reopening scotland’s schools, instead of in September.

MSPs also voted to standardise the length of a Holyrood parliament at five years, in line with other UK legislatures, by passing the Scottish Elections (Reform) Bill.

The current term is four years, but this has twice been changed to five years since 2011 to avoid clashes with UK general elections.

The legislation enables all 14-year-olds to register ahead of attaining voting age, and bans people from voting in more than one area in council elections – mirroring the law for Scottish and UK Parliament elections.

There will also be pilots of electronic voting for the blind and disabled voters. 

Minister for Parliamentary business Graeme Dey said: "The intention is to underline the importance of ensuring a level playing-field for all voters, regardless of disability, so that they can exercise their democratic right to vote securely and in private."

Sight loss charity RNIB Scotland welcomed the move, saying it would improve the ability of blind and partially sighted people to cast their ballot without the assistance of anyone else.

RNIB Scotland director James Adams said: "We welcome the decision by the Scottish Parliament to look at alternative methods of voting in elections. It's simply not acceptable that people can leave their polling station unsure whether they've correctly voted for the candidate of their choice or feel obliged to ask someone else for help."