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The Scottish Parliament (Scottish Gaelic: Pàrlamaid na h-Alba; Scots: Scottish Pairlament) is the devolved national legislature of Scotland. It is in the capital city, Edinburgh. The Parliament is sometimes called "Holyrood".
The original Parliament of Scotland (or "Estates of Scotland") was the national legislature of the independent Kingdom of Scotland. It existed from the early 13th century until 1707. This was when the Kingdom of Scotland merged with the Kingdom of England under the Acts of Union 1707 to form the Kingdom of Great Britain. Because of this, the Parliament of Scotland merged with the Parliament of England to form the Parliament of Great Britain, which sat at Westminster in London.
In 1997 there was a referendum where the Scottish people voted for Scotland to have a Parliament again. The current Parliament was established by the Scotland Act 1998. The first meeting was on 12 May 1999.
The Parliament is a devolved assembly, which means that some powers have been kept by the UK Parliament. The issues which the Scottish Parliament can make laws about are called devolved matters. The issues which the UK Parliament must make laws about are called reserved matters. Some examples of devolved matters are health and social services, education and housing. Examples of reserved matters are foreign policy, immigration and the constitution of the Scottish Parliament.
There are 129 members known as Members of the Scottish Parliament (MSPs) who are democratically elected. Members are elected for four-year terms. Most of the MSPs belong to political parties. Independent MSPs do not belong to a political party.
The number of MSPs from each party are:
|The number of people in the parties|
|Party||Leader|| Number of MSPs|
|Scottish National Party||Nicola Sturgeon||63|
|Scottish Conservative Party||Ruth Davidson||31|
|Scottish Labour Party||Richard Leonard||24|
|Scottish Green Party||Patrick Harvie||6|
|Scottish Liberal Democrats||Willie Rennie||5|
|Not part of a party (Independent)||None||2|
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- Official website
- Scotland Act 1998
- The Scottish Parliament Project, University of St Andrews
- Holyrood Inquiry homepage
- BBC News explanation of the powers of the Scottish Parliament
- History of the Scottish Parliament (pdf)