VOTING has started in the contest to elect Holyrood’s two deputy presiding officers, with a record ten candidates putting themselves forward.

The field includes five SNP MSPs, two Labour, two Tory and one Liberal Democrat.

Until now, the largest number of applicants has been four at the start of a parliamentary term.

The 10 will be whittled down by a series of elimination ballots, with the winners receiving a £30,351 office holder’s salary on top of their MSP’s basic of £64,470. 

The names of the candidates was read out at the Scottish Parliament by the new Presiding Officer, former Green Alison Johnstone, who was the sole nominee yesterday.

The SNP MSP candidates are Clare Adamson, James Dornan, Annabelle Ewing, Bill Kidd and Stuart McMillan.

The Tory MSP candidates are Jeremy Balfour and Edward Mountain, Labour’s are Claire Baker and Rhoda Grant, and the Liberal Democrat is Liam McArthur.

In the first round of voting, the SNP's Bill Kidd was eliminated after getting just four votes.

Ms Ewing received the most votes, 35, making her a clear favourite, with Mr McArthur second on 16 votes, and Ms Baker and Mr Mountain joint third on 13 votes.

In the second round, the SNP's Clare Adamson was eliminated with five votes, while Ms Ewing and Mr McArthur consolidated their positions with 44 and 22 votes respectively.

At the suggestion of Labour's Jackie Baillie, the parliament took a five minute recess to let candidates  with low tallies consider whether to withdraw.

Ms Baker, Mr Balfour, Mr Dornan and Mr McMillan all had fewer than 10 votes.

Mr Dornan and Mr McMillan then withdrew.

Once the first deputy PO is elected with more than half the votes, they can re-enter the race for the second DPO.

After the third round of voting, Mr Balfour was eliminated with six votes, and Mr Mountain withdrew temporarily.

Ms Ewing was again the clear favourite, with 58 votes, one short of a majority given 126 votes were cast, while Mr McArthur had 26 votes.

Ms Johnstone then suspended the contest for an hour for lunch.

After the fourth round of voting, Ms Ewing cross the 50 per cent line with 64 votes and was elected deputy PO.

Mr McArthuer was second on 44 votes.

After Labour's Daniel Johnson asked in vain for the voting procedure to be changed to STV to speed it up, the contest began for the election of the second deputy PO.

At this point, all the defeated candidates bar Mr Kidd re-entered the contest to give a field of eight.

After the first round of voting for the second deputy PO spot, Mr McArthur was first on 45 votes, with Mr McMillan second on 20. Mr Balfour was eliminated with five votes and Mr Mountain withdrew after getting 12.

With MSPs keen to crack on and a clear favourite emerging, the second round of voting saw Mr McArthur elected with 74 votes.

Mr McMillan had 19, Ms Baker and Ms Grant nine each, Ms Adamson seven and Mr Dornan was last on five.


Although most applicants were proposed and seconded by members of their own party, there were some cross-party endorsements.

Ms Baker was proposed by Green Mark Ruskell and Mr McArthur was seconded by the SNP’s Neil Gray.