As readers will likely know, the Scottish Parliament election is due to be held on 6 May 2021. In a normal Scottish parliamentary election, the Parliament goes into dissolution about 6 weeks before the election.
However, given the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, changes to normal election arrangements have been introduced by way of the Scottish General Election (Coronavirus) Act 2020. One of the changes is that instead of taking place six weeks before the election, dissolution takes place on 5 May, the day before the poll itself on 6 May 2021. This change ensures that the Parliament can be recalled should ongoing public health matters require it. The Parliament will instead enter a period of recess on 25 March 2021.
However, this period of recess is intended to replicate the dissolution period as far as possible. This approach is intended to ensure that there remains a level playing field at the election for all candidates while still allowing for a recall of Parliament if necessary.
For SPICe, this means that we won’t be publishing anything, or tweeting from @SPICe_Research, from Thursday 25 March, right through to Monday 10 May. This includes updates of regular blogs, such as our COVID-19 statistics and constituency support blogs.
However, during this time, we will be working on a wide range of briefings, blogs and more to help inform the new Parliament. The main thing to look out for is our “Key Issues for Session 6” – a collection of short briefings setting out what we see as the big challenges and opportunities for the sixth session of the Parliament. This should be published in the week of 10 May.
The team are also working on a wide range of “subject profiles” – these are more detailed policy deep-dives on areas like the NHS, the justice system, the Scottish Budget and the environment. In addition, we hope to be able to launch some interactive “constituency profiles”, to help Members (and anyone else interested) get deeper insights to the areas they represent.
Finally, thanks to everyone who has read and shared our briefings, blogs and more over Session 5. Later tonight we’ll share some statistics on Twitter. See you all in May.
Allan Campbell, Head of Research and Financial Scrutiny