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About the Scottish Parliament

What happens in the Debating Chamber?

The Chamber is the place where all Members of the Scottish Parliament (MSPs) can meet to debate and make decisions.

What can Chamber business include?

Chamber business can include:

  • debates – these are discussions between MSPs about an issue or Bill
  • First Minister’s question time, when MSPs question the First Minister
  • other question times, when MSPs question members of the Scottish Government
  • amending Bills
  • ministerial statements - speeches made by members of the Scottish Government to inform or update the Parliament

What is the role of the Presiding Officer in the Chamber?

The Presiding Officer (PO) or a Deputy Presiding Officer (DPO) chairs meetings in the Debating Chamber. When chairing meetings, the PO or DPO must act impartially. When chairing a meeting, the PO or DPO:

  • calls MSPs to speak
  • decides how long MSPs can speak for
  • asks the questions that MSPs need to decide or vote on
  • responds to any “points of order” raised by MSPs - a point of order is a question about whether the Parliament’s rules have been properly followed

Back to How Parliament works