2021 Scottish Parliament election

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Event.png 2021 Scottish Parliament election  Rdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
C4 Scot debate.jpg
Channel 4 debate excludes Alex Salmond
Date6 May 2021
DescriptionSixth election to the Scottish Parliament.

The 2021 Scottish Parliament election was held on 6 May 2021 under the provisions of the Scotland Act 1998.[1] All 129 Members of the Scottish Parliament were up for election in the sixth election since the parliament was re-established in 1999. The election campaign started on 25 March 2021, although Parliament was not officially dissolved until 5 May, the day before the election.[2]

On 27 April 2021, Chris McEleny tweeted:

"Channel 4's decision not to invite ALBA to take part in the debate is not only anti-democratic but shows just how out of touch the metropolitan elite are with what is happening on the ground in Scotland."[3]

The results announced on 8 May 2021 gave the SNP 64 seats, Conservatives 31, Labour 22, Green 8 and Lib Dems 4. Newer parties including Reform UK, led by Michelle Ballantyne, the Alba Party led by former First Minister and SNP leader Alex Salmond, and All for Unity led by George Galloway only competed for seats on the regional lists but failed to win a single seat.[4]

73 constituency and 56 list MSPs

The Scottish Parliament uses an Additional Members System (AMS), designed to produce approximate proportional representation for each region. There are 8 regions, each sub-divided into smaller constituencies. There are a total of 73 constituencies. Each constituency elects one MSP by the plurality (first past the post) system of election. Each of the 8 regions elects 7 additional MSPs on an AMS list system, making a total of 129 MSPs.

The boundaries of the 73 constituencies last changed as of the 2011 Scottish Parliament election, as did the configuration of the electoral regions used to elect "list" members of the Scottish Parliament. These revisions were the outcome of the First Periodical Review of the Scottish Parliament's constituencies and regions conducted by the Boundary Commission for Scotland; the Review was announced on 3 July 2007 and the Commission published its final report on 26 May 2010.[5]

TV debates

The election campaign started on 25 March 2021. The Scottish Conservatives launched their campaign the same day, with a focus on promoting Scotland's recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. BBC Scotland announced that it will broadcast two debates between the main party's leaders; the first aired on 30 March 2021 and was moderated by the corporation's Scotland editor Sarah Smith, with a second to follow towards the end of the campaign.[6]

On 27 April 2021, Channel 4 News hosted the first UK-wide debate amongst the leaders of the five main parties in Scotland ahead of next week’s crucial election.[7] Channel 4 took the decision not to include Alex Salmond in the debate and asked for questions and discussion points from viewers.[8]


  • Scottish Labour Party led by Anas Sarwar MSP for Glasgow
  • Scottish Liberal Democrats led by Willie Rennie MSP for North East Fife
  • Reform UK led by Michelle Ballantyne MSP for South Scotland


Related Documents

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Document:Justice for Megrahi - Scotland must fund Supreme Court appealLetter27 April 2021Patrick Haseldine#Scotland not #Libya must fund #JusticeForMegrahi appeal to #UKSupremeCourt. Should be a major issue in the #ScottishElections2021. #AlbaParty agree: do the other parties? @Anwar_and_Co @Ali2082009 @PrivateEyeNews @Dabaibahamid
Document:Towards the futureArticle12 May 2021Kenny MacAskill
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Attendance in the House of Commons will be when it affords an opportunity to promote Scottish interests, not a routine sojourn to London. There’s plenty work to be doing in our constituencies and across Scotland, and that’ll be our focus. We’ll vote when appropriate on issues as they arise.
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