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  • Writer's pictureKenneth Gibson MSP

Silver Jubilee: Reflecting on 25 Years on the Reconvened Scottish Parliament


This past week commemorates a significant milestone: 25 years since the inauguration of the Scottish Parliament.


In just a quarter of a century, the Scottish Parliament has made remarkable strides, and its journey of progress is poised to continue with even greater achievements in the next 25 years to come.


Below is a very basic timeline of some memorable events from 1999 to present day:


06 May 1999: The first Scottish election is held. Labour emerges on top with 56 seats across the constituency and regional lists, while the SNP takes 35, the Tories secure 18, the Lib Dems capture 17, and both the Greens and the Scottish Socialist Party secure one MSP each. Labour and the Lib Dems agree to form a coalition, with their respective leaders, Donald Dewar and Jim Wallace, assuming the positions of First Minister and Deputy First Minister.


12 May 1999: The Scottish Parliament officially opens with SNP MSP and party stalwart Winnie Ewing presiding, as she is the oldest elected member. Ms Ewing famously declares the parliament "re-convened."


08 September 1999: The first Act of the Scottish Parliament is passed. The Mental Health (Public Safety and Appeals) (Scotland) Act closes a loophole used by convicted killer Noel Ruddie to be released from the State Hospital at Carstairs.


11 October 2000: Donald Dewar dies of a brain haemorrhage aged 63. Jim Wallace takes over in his stead before being succeeded by Henry McLeish.


08 November 2001: Henry McLeish resigns following a scandal about his expenses. M. Wallace steps in again as caretaker before Jack McConnell is elected Scottish Labour leader and First Minister.


01 May 2003: Scotland holds its second election. Labour loses six seats, while the SNP loses eight, while the Tories retain 18. The Lib Dems also retain 17 seats, and the coalition agreement from the first parliament remains intact.


30 June 2005: The smoking ban is passed, making it illegal to smoke in public places and marking Scotland as the first country in the UK to do so.


03 May 2007: The SNP wins the Holyrood election, increasing its tally by 20 seats to elect 47 MSPs and making Alex Salmond first minister in a minority administration. Meanwhile, Labour drops four seats to 46. The Tories and Lib Dems remain in third and fourth, respectively, while the SSP is wiped out.


28 February 2008: MSPs vote to abolish Labour’s graduate endowment tax, relieving students from paying £2,289 after leaving university.


05 May 2011: The SNP wins a majority at Holyrood, paving the way for the 2014 independence referendum. The party secures 69 seats to Labour's 37, while the Tories drop to 15.


15 October 2012: The Edinburgh Agreement, allowing a Scottish Independence Referendum, is signed by Prime Minister David Cameron and First Minister Alex Salmond.


18 September 2014: Scotland votes on independence, with 55% voting No and 45% Yes.


19 September 2014: Alex Salmond resigns as first minister, to be replaced by his deputy, Nicola Sturgeon.


23 March 2016: The Scotland Act 2016 grants the Scottish Parliament powers over income tax and social security.


23 March 2020: Scotland enters lockdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic, prompting adjustments in the functioning of the Scottish Parliament, including limiting the number of MSPs allowed in the chamber and having members contribute via video link from the lobby of the building.


15 February 2023: Nicola Sturgeon makes the shock announcement that she will resign, pledging to stay on until her successor is appointed.


28 March 2023: Humza Yousaf is elected First Minister, becoming the first person of colour and the youngest person to hold the job, as well as the first Muslim leader of a Western nation.


29 April 2024: Humza Yousaf announces he will step down as First Minister.

08 May 2024: John Swinney is elected First Minister of Scotland.

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