12th May 2004

First meeting of the new Scottish Parliament

The Scottish Parliament picked up where it left off in the eighteenth century with the SNP’s Dr Winnie Ewing addressing the MSPs as the oldest member of the new house. As reported by the BBC, her address began, “I want to start with the words that I have always wanted to say or to hear someone else say – the Scottish Parliament, which was adjourned on March 25, 1707, is hereby reconvened.”

First Minister’s speech

In his own speech, First Minister Donald Dewar said, “Today, we reach back through the long haul to win this Parliament, through the struggles of those who brought democracy to Scotland, to that other Parliament dissolved in controversy nearly three centuries ago. Today, we look forward to the time when this moment will be seen as a turning point: the day when democracy was renewed in Scotland, when we revitalised our place in this our United Kingdom. This is about more than our politics and our laws. This is about who we are, how we carry ourselves.”

As the Scottish Parliament building had not yet been built, the parliament met at the Church of Scotland’s General Assembly Hall, where the Claim of Right had been signed ten years previously. It continued to use the Assembly Hall until the new building was opened for business in 2004.

The Church of Scotland's General Assembly Hall, Edinburgh
The Church of Scotland’s General Assembly Hall, Edinburgh



Other events that occured in May

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