Queen Elizabeth officially opens new session of Scottish parliament

Edinburgh, July 3 (IANS) Queen Elizabeth officially opened and extended her best wishes to the fifth session of the Scottish parliament here on Saturday.

Addressing the Members of the Scottish parliament (MSPs), the Queen said the opening of the new session marked a time for “hope and optimism”, noting that “there is certainly a lot to celebrate”.

She noted that the Scottish parliament will have to implement new tax and welfare powers, wishing the MSPs well in doing so, Xinhua reported.

The Queen also acknowledged the difficulty of “staying calm and collected” in an “increasingly challenging world”, stressing the need for political leaders to make “room for quiet thinking and contemplation”.

“Of course we all live in an increasingly complex and demanding world, where events and developments can, and do, take place at remarkable speed,” said the Queen, adding, “Retaining the ability to stay calm and collected can at times be hard.”

The Queen called for sufficient room for “which can enable deeper consideration of how challenges and opportunities can be best addressed”.

Later, Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said the Scottish parliament made collective commitment to the people of Scotland that “we will not shy away from any challenge we face, no matter how difficult or deep-rooted.”

Sturgeon, who had pledged to do all she can to maintain Scotland’s place in the European Union, also spoke of the parliament’s duty to “enhance and never diminish our place in the world” and said Scotland was determined to remain “open and inclusive”.

Earlier, the Presiding Officer of the Scottish parliament Ken Macintosh said the parliament “stands ready for the challenges that lie ahead of us” and “every MSP in this chamber is proud to represent the people of Scotland”.

“In these few short weeks, weeks of unprecedented political turbulence, I have already seen a real willingness to work cooperatively and collaboratively,” said Macintosh, referring to the fallout from the EU referendum result.



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