June 20th 2019 | Royal Botanic Gardens, Edinburgh


Tweet of the Year

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This award will be presented to the MSP who has used Twitter to best effect to be witty, to inform and to even shut down critics. The judges will be looking for eloquence, dignity, humour and grace and all in the best possible taste.

The Nominees

Joan McAlpine, SNP

For using Twitter to best effect by breaking down a complex issue around gender identity into bite size, easily digestible chunks of information.

Ross Greer, Greens

For managing to enrage Piers Morgan by his youth, use of emojis and his knowledge of Winston Churchill.

Pauline McNeill, Labour

Pauline took her role playing too far when she tweeted that she was off to prison to visit her husband. In real-life he is a criminal defence lawyer and while she forgot to tell her Twitter followers who responded with messages of sympathy, that she was just acting a role, she also forgot to tell him!

MSP of the Year

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While awards of this nature tend to always be reserved for the party leaders, there are many talented MSPs who sit squarely behind the leader and help their star shine bright, so nominations for this award should cast the net a little wider than just the usual suspects and answer, ‘who has really shone?'

The Nominees

Jackson Carlaw, Scottish Conservative

Jackson Carlaw MSP deserves to be MSP of the Year for taking over as leader of the opposition during a tumultuous time in politics, particularly for his own party, while Ruth Davidson MSP went on maternity leave. He stepped into big shoes and filled them well.

Joan McAlpine, SNP

As Convenor of the CTEEA committee, Joan has, over an extended period, carried out detailed work on a number of major topics, particularly on Brexit, Creative Scotland's funding issues & the Glasgow School of Arts fires. Latterly, in the area of identification on the 2021 Census, and in the face of threats & abuse on social media, has chaired, led & represented the CTEEA in a way that has afforded wider respect.

Christina McKelvie, SNP

For taking the outstanding campaigning work that she undertook as convenor of the Equalities committee into her government role as minister for older people and equalities. She has lifted the taboo on issues like the menopause which affects half the population and ventured into other areas of discrimination with an energy that is unsurpassed.

Staffer of the Year

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Awarded to someone who has demonstrated a real commitment to digging that bit deeper, going the extra mile and unearthing facts, figures and human stories that assist politicians in making good policy or in simply changing one person’s life.

The Nominees

Niamh Burns (SNP, Gillian Martin)

Niamh has been at the centre Gillian Martin’s campaigns around highlighting the dangers of intimate image sharing between teenagers online. Niamh's training as a journalist and her tenacity was exactly what was required to get the messages out on as many media platforms as effectively as possible and her personal passion for the issues around this made all the difference in a tricky subject area to tackle. 

Angela Dulley (Labour, Mary Fee)

Angela has run Mary Fee’s office since 2011 as well as helping constituents as her senior caseworker. During this time, she lost her son Finn, who sadly passed away in 2016. Angela has channelled her own pain into working towards raising awareness for disabled children and families and improving care for families who have experienced a child bereavement.  Angela’s achievements have also included organising an event focusing on Child Bereavement held in the Garden Lobby of the Scottish Parliament.

Caroline Hickling (Labour, Claudia Beamish)

Caroline has provided consistent and invaluable support to Claudia Beamish MSP in her work as Scottish Labour’s Spokesperson for Environment, Climate Change, and Land Reform, and building a vision for a fair environmental future for Scotland. 
Her relationship building with NGOs, businesses, trade unions, and communities has been vital in enabling Claudia to create bold climate change and environment policy.

Wag of the Year

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This award will go to the MSP that has kept us entertained throughout the year either by accident or design. Who has made the most entertaining speeches in the Chamber, been the most self-deprecating, the greatest wit, or simply told the best jokes?

The Nominees

Stewart Stevenson, SNP

With his contributions consistently capable of provoking anything from laughter to general confusion, Stewart has worked hard to earn the reputation as being the most eccentric member of parliament who has also been rewarded with his own hashtag #nocontextStewartStevenson on social media


Derek Mackay, SNP

The Scottish budget debate can be a heated affair, but the finance secretary managed to introduce a bit of levity by announcing, part way through a grilling from Labour’s Neil Findlay, that he was happy to take the MSP’s questions, because he knew what he was going to ask because he had accidently been sent Findlay’s speech but that following his spending announcements, Findlay’s figures were all wrong.

Jackson Carlaw, Scottish Conservatives

During the boss’s maternity leave, Jackson brought his characteristic flair and quick wit to FMQs and during one exchange with the First Minister when she was about to let him know how she would eb spending the day, he intervened with, “not answering questions.”

Backbencher of the Year

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Being a successful backbencher takes a certain amount of grit. It takes a certain type of MSP to be able to make their presence felt without the natural platform of a front bench position. Who has made themselves noticed, gone against a conventional party line or simply put forward a point that forcibly cuts through a lot of party political rhetoric?

The Nominees

Joan McAlpine, SNP

As convenor of the Culture, Tourism, Europe and External Affairs committee, charged with exploring changes to the Census, Joan has put her head above the parapet in talking about the complex issue of trans gender. She has approached the issue with an intellectual rigour and despite attracting a great deal of abuse has continued to speak about the subject and raise important issues that others felt were being shouted down.

John Finnie, Green

John has used his experience as a police officer and his good cross-party relations to tackle a controversial issue the Scottish Parliament has previously stumbled on, the physical punishment of children. His private members bill to effectively ‘ban smacking’ is likely to be passed bringing Scottish law into line with that of many other countries across the world.

Jackie Baillie, Labour

For securing a Scottish Government U-turn on removing water discounts for half a million single person households in Scotland. The announcement to not amend the single person discount followed months of questioning and lobbying from Jackie who has relentlessly pursued the issue with written questions, Freedom of Information requests, a member’s debate, letters to ministers and questions in the chamber.

One To Watch

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The 2016 election saw a huge injection of new blood to the Scottish Parliament with 40 per cent of the MSPs having never been elected before but there are others elected again who have continued to grow into the role. Who has made a mark in the debating chamber or gained a reputation in committee? Who is the one to watch?

The Nominees

Alexander Burnett, Scottish Conservatives

After being inspired by a local situation, Alex Burnett has quietly, but effectively, led a campaign on autism in the Scottish Parliament, setting up a new CPG dedicated to the issues around autism, as well as raising its profile across Scotland


Liam Kerr, Scottish Conservatives

For his work on Finn’s Law. Liam has taken a campaign started down south to offer further legal protection to service animals like police dogs and horses and has extended it to secure the same protections in Scotland. He has shone a light on a little-known gap in the law that meant injuries inflicted on service animals during the course of their work is dealt with as leniently as, for instance, breaking a window.

Ruth Maguire, SNP

As the convenor of the Equalities and Human Rights Committee, Ruth has taken over a tough brief from Christina McKelvie and has already shown her ability in dealing with complex issues such as the ‘smacking ban’ and raising the age of criminal responsibility. The Equalities and Human Right committee requires someone with compassion and a forensic ability to cut through emotional subjects with clarity and Ruth is definitely ‘one to watch’.

Political Hero of the Year

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Sometimes a cause or a campaign inspires a politician or a group of MSPs to cross party lines or to just work tirelessly to do the right thing. This award will go to an MSP who has gained respect from across the Chamber for their work in championing a particular cause or for achieving a tangible result.

The Nominees

Miles Briggs, Conservative

Miles is a hero to thousands of people in Scotland who are going to benefit from FRANK’S LAW which he campaigned for and will extend free personal care to those under the age of 65.

Humza Yousaf and Anas Sarwar, SNP & Labour

For their cross-party work on Islamophobia. Both Humza and Anas have been prepared to put party differences aside to stand together in the fight against Islamophobia. They have bravely exposed themselves to the risk of further abuse by telling their own personal stories. They have established a cross-party group on Islamophobia and pushed the issue further up the political agenda.

Ross Greer and Andy Wightman, Greens

For the work they did with other Scottish politicians in their legal challenge to Brexit over whether the UK could unilaterally revoke Article 50.  They have secured a legal route that could ultimately be the UK’s escape route from a chaotic Brexit. 

Flushable Motion of the Year

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Parliamentary motions are used by MSPs as a way to initiate debate or suggest a particular course of action but increasingly have become more and more obtuse vehicles to offer support or endorse a particular product. They go from congratulating a local football team to questioning a reduction in the size of a chocolate bar. This award will recognise the most absurd motions to be lodged.

The Nominees

Alexander Burnett, Ladies Junior Bikini, Conservative

John Mason, Christmas Day, SNP

Michelle Ballantyne, Master Chocolatier, Conservative

Speech of the Year

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A good speech can silence the Chamber, bring a tear to a glass eye and surprise in its ability to capture a moment in time. This award will go to the MSP who has managed to impress with their ability to articulate their views on an issue with passion, intellect and emotion.

The Nominees

Tom Arthur, SNP

Tom has continually and consistently made significant contributions to the Chamber including that well noted contribution where he branded Michelle Ballantyne MSP's contribution on Universal Credit as "six minutes of pompous Victorian moralising” 

Kezia Dugdale, Labour

Kezia has approached some major social justice issues with great empathy and her impassioned speech about a constituent who had been living in a lice-infested B&B with his baby daughter, was just one of a number of passionate speeches made by the former Labour leader on subjects such as looked after children, the gap in care for the elderly and homelessness.

Jeremy Balfour, Conservative

In a deeply personal speech during the NHS at 70 debate, Jeremy gave a powerful account of his own experience of the health service, from being born with one finger and thanking the surgeon who took a risk on an innovative treatment, to talk honestly about losing his daughter and the care that he and his family received. 

Lifetime Achievement Award*

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Awarded to someone who had dedicated their life to Scottish politics and has managed to cut across party political boundaries to demonstrate a commitment to public service, state craft and the democratic process. Someone woven into Scotland’s political fabric.

*This award will not be open to nominations

The Nominees

Sir Paul Grice

Chief executive of the Scottish Parliament Sir Paul Grice has won the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Holyrood Garden Party and Political Awards, in recognition of his contribution to Scottish politics over the last 20 years.

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