MSPs who ramble on for too long at First Minister’s Questions will be cut off by the presiding officer under new speaking time limits to be introduced.

Politicians are to return from summer recess next week after two months away from proceedings at the Scottish Parliament.

But MSPs asking questions at FMQs on Thursdays will be limited to speaking for 45 seconds, while First Minister Humza Yousaf will need to wrap up his answers within a minute under the new rules.

Presiding Officer Alison Johnstone has confirmed her and her deputies will “intervene where required to implement this approach”.

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She has stressed the new rules will ensure there are “more concise exchanges throughout” and lead to more MSPs be able to table questions.

The rules will not just apply to FMQs, but also to exchanges during general questions and portfolio questions.

Ms Johnstone frequently asks both the First Minister and those asking questions to finish their turn but questions and answers often last longer than a minute.

In a letter to MSPs, MS Johnstone has pointed to FMQs being extended from 30 to 45 minutes “to enable more members to put questions” to the First Minister, but has warned this has not been the case.

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She said: “This extended period has not had the intended effect and each week there is significant unmet demand from members across the chamber to put important questions to the First Minister.

The Herald: Presiding Officer Alison JohnstonePresiding Officer Alison Johnstone (Image: Newsquest)

“As Presiding Officer, I take account of the interests of all members equally and I am determined that the opportunity should be afforded to more members.

“More concise exchanges throughout will provide time for a substantial number of additional questions over the course of a parliamentary year.

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“If four or five additional members are called each week to put supplementary questions, that would enable an additional 150 to 180 questions to be taken each parliamentary year.”

Ms Johnstone added: “To achieve this, questions should be put within 45 seconds, and answers concluded within one minute.

“From the start of the new term in September, the Deputy Presiding Officers and I will intervene where required to implement this approach, allowing more Members to put questions on behalf of their constituents and enhancing scrutiny. For clarity, this will apply in all question times (FMQs, general questions and portfolio questions).

I am grateful for the support of the First Minister and other party leaders in achieving this.”