Former Moderator appointed to Holyrood reform panel

Very Rev Dr Lorna Hood
Dr Lorna Hood

A former Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland has been appointed to an independent panel examining ways of modernising the Scottish Parliament.

Very Rev Dr Lorna Hood, who held the role in 2013-14, was selected to join the Commission on Parliamentary Reform by Holyrood presiding officer Ken Macintosh.

He said the minister, who retired from Renfrew North Parish Church in September after 37 years , and the other nine members werewell placed to take the legislature “back to its roots of being open, transparent and truly participative”.

Former Labour MSP Mr Macintosh, a member of Holyrood since it opened in 1999, said the parliament's systems "are not broken but are in need of an MOT".

Tax raising powers

The Commission’s remit is to consider ways in which the parliament can be assured it has the right checks and balances in place for the effective conduct of parliamentary business, increase its engagement with wider society and the public, andclarify its identity as distinct from the Scottish Government.

Dr Hood, chairwoman of the Scotland Board of Remembering Srebrenica which was established to learn lessons from the Bosnian massacre, said: "I am delighted to have been asked to join the Commission on Parliamentary Reform and look forward to playing a full part in examining potential improvements to benefit every citizen in this country.

"An effective parliament is one that is open, transparent and accountable.

"Over the last 17 years the Scottish Parliament has matured with different experiences - coalition, minority and majority government.

"Now that new tax raising powers have been devolved to Holyrood with more on the way next year, the time is right to examine what improvements can be made to ensure government is held to account and proposed legislation is robustly and fairly scrutinised.

"We can learn from past experiences and look to a future which is relevant for all the people of Scotland."

The group will be chaired by outgoing Electoral Commissioner John McCormick who said hearing the views of the public would be "key" to informing the work of the commission.

Great mix of individuals

The members are:-

  • Katie Burke MSYP, member of the Scottish Youth Parliament For North East Fife, and former Chair of the Scottish Youth Parliament
  • Pam Duncan–Glancy, Disability Equality and Human Rights Activist
  • The Very Rev Dr Lorna Hood, Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland (2013-14), former Church of Scotland Minister
  • Geoff Mawdsley, Director of Reform Scotland
  • Professor Boyd Robertson, Principal of Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, UHI,the National Centre for Gaelic Language and Culture.
  • Scottish National Party: Fiona McLeod former MSP for Strathkelvin and Bearsden (2011-2016)
  • Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party: Jackson Carlaw MSP for Eastwood
  • Scottish Labour: Johann Lamont MSP for Glasgow
  • Scottish Green Party: John Finnie MSP for Highlands and Islands
  • Scottish Liberal Democrats: Jeremy Purvis, former MSP for Tweeddale, Ettrick and Lauderdale (2003-2011).

Wisdom

Mr Macintosh said: “This is a great mix of individuals, each with a different skill set and background, but collectively, I am confident they will have the wisdom and experience to take the Parliament back to its roots in being open, transparent, and truly participative.”

Mr McCormick is expected to submit the commission’s report to the Presiding Officer in June 2017.