Scottish Parliament to be recalled after death of Duke of Edinburgh

PA Scotland Reporters
·5-min read

The Scottish Parliament is to be recalled for only the sixth time in its history to show respect to the Duke of Edinburgh.

Holyrood’s presiding officer, Ken Macintosh, said MSPs will be recalled at 11am on Monday.

Mr Macintosh said: “I have this afternoon decided that the Parliament should be recalled to show our respect to the Duke of Edinburgh following today’s sad announcement.

“His Royal Highness, Prince Philip, lived a life dedicated to duty and public service and his support for this institution was clear.

Ken Macintosh
The Scottish Parliament’s presiding officer, Ken Macintosh (Jeff J Mitchell/PA)

“This is why I have taken the decision to recall in order that we may take the time to pause, remember and pay tribute to his work.”

The meeting will start with a minute’s silence before considering a Motion of Condolence with a statement from party leaders.

The Parliament has previously been recalled on January 4 to discuss the Covid-19 pandemic and for the death of first minister Donald Dewar, the death of Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, for a ministerial statement on the release of Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi and on December 30 last year for a Brexit debate.

Scotland’s political parties had earlier suspended campaigning for the May election after Philip’s death.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon was among those paying tribute to the Duke of Edinburgh in Scotland.

She said in a statement: “On behalf of the people of Scotland, I would like to express my deepest sympathy to Her Majesty The Queen and the rest of the royal family.

“Our thoughts are with them at this difficult time and their grief is shared by people across the country.

“The Duke of Edinburgh had deep and longstanding ties to Scotland, attending school here at Gordonstoun and regularly holidaying at Balmoral Castle.

“From his patronage of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award scheme, to his close association with the University of Edinburgh as chancellor for over 50 years and his commitments to countless charities and organisations, Prince Philip’s long contribution to public life in Scotland will leave a profound mark on its people.”

But the First Minister has urged Scots not to lay floral tributes at Balmoral or the Palace of Holyroodhouse, as would be customary.

She added: “Online books of condolence will open in the coming days to allow people to pay their respects.

“In line with current restrictions, the Royal Household has requested that members of the public do not leave floral tributes or gather at the Palace of Holyroodhouse or Balmoral Castle at this time.

“The Palace has suggested that people could donate to charity instead, if they wish to do so.”

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A notice announcing the death has been posted on the gates of the Palace of Holyroodhouse, the Queen’s official residence in Edinburgh.

Flags were lowered to half mast there, as well as at the Scottish Parliament, Scottish Government and local authority buildings.

Tory leader Douglas Ross said his party will head back on to the campaign trail on Monday.

Mr Ross said: “We have lost a tremendous public servant who for decades served his Queen and country. My heartfelt condolences are with Her Majesty and all of the royal family.

Scottish Secretary Alister Jack described the duke as “an amazing man” and “a great character”.

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Scotland’s other political leaders also paid tribute, with Scottish Labour’s Anas Sarwar offering his party’s sympathies and saying: “Scotland is today mourning the loss of a dedicated public servant who contributed so much to our country.”

Former prime minister Gordon Brown said Philip would be “mourned in every continent”.

Scottish Greens co-leader Patrick Harvie said: “We recognise that the passing of the Duke of Edinburgh will be felt deeply by some across the country and express our sympathies with his family, who join many others who have lost loved ones in this last year.”

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie said Philip had “99 years of an outstanding life and 70 years of astonishing service”.

Palace of Holyroodhouse
A member of staff attaches a notice to the gates of the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh announcing the death of the Duke of Edinburgh (Lesley Martin/PA)

He said the duke was “often colourful” with “often controversial language”, but was “always absolutely dedicated to his wife the Queen and to the country”.

Former first minister and Alba Party leader Alex Salmond praised Philip’s service to the UK, saying he found the duke “direct and forthright but always welcoming and with a fine, inquiring mind”.

Philip’s former school, Gordonstoun in Moray, paid tribute in a statement.

School principal Lisa Kerr said staff and pupils will remember him as “someone who made students feel at ease in his presence and who shared their love of Gordonstoun”.

She added: “He had an immensely strong character, combined with a unique sense of fun, infectious optimism and strong sense of duty.”