Discover Edinburgh Things to Do in Edinburgh Tourist Attractions The Scottish Parliament


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The First Scottish Parliament was established since 1707 following the formation of the Scotland Act 1988. Devolution was the result of years of strong campaigning for a devolved parliament in Scotland, taking partial control of Scotland’s affairs from Westminster. The term devolution means the delegation of power from central government to local bodies.

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The ‘devolved’ Scottish Parliament takes control over matters such as education, health, prisons which were previously under the controls of Westminster. Reserved powers about UK and international matters are dealt with at Westminster. The Leader of Scotland’s affairs at the Scottish Parliament in known as the First Minister of Scotland who is Jack McConnell. The parliament has the powers to pass legislation, alter tax rates and has 129 elected representatives known as MSPs or Members of the Scottish Parliament.

Temporarily housed in the Edinburgh’s Mound from its inaugaration in 1999, The new Scottish Parliament building opened in Holyrood in October 11 2004. This historic opening attracted visitors from across the globe and its inauguration was online with visitors accessing the site from remote countries such as Qatar and Nepal. On the run up to the opening ceremony, Edinburgh's Royal Mile came alive with a plethora of street entertainment including pipe bands, stilt walkers and live music to mark the occasion before thousands of visitors and locals.

There is an excellent provision of services people for visitors to the Scottish Parliament including crèche, baby changing facilities and wheelchair / pushchair loans system. The Scottish Parliament is fully accessible for people with disabilities and professional staff can assist visitors when required.Guide dogs and other assistance dogs are welcome.

The Scottish Parliament has organised daily guided tours which lasts for approximately 45 minutes. The highlights of the tours are visits to the Main Hall and Chamber where Scotland's MSPs and the First Minister of Scotland stage their political debates and enforce legistations that effect the people of Scotland.