Oath to be taken in six languages by MSPs

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When parliament reconvenes today, MSPs will take the oath in at least six languages.

Education secretary Mike Russell will take the oath in English, Gaelic and Scots.

He will, however, refrain, from swearing a fourth version in Doric - another of the languages or dialects to be used by some of his SNP colleagues.

Mark McDonald and Maureen Watt are the loon and the quine representing the North East of Scotland, who will utter their native Doric and "bear ae full alleadgance tae her majesty Queen Elizabeth her airs an ony fa come aifter her anent the law".

The new Glasgow MSP Humza Yousaf will take the oath in Urdu and English, reflecting his Scottish-Pakistani identity. He will also wear a traditional Indian garment called a "sherwani" with a tartan plaid.

MSPs with Highlands and Islands constituencies - Rob Gibson, Dave Thompson, Mr Russell and Alasdair Allan - will all use Gaelic, as will list MSP John Finnie. Mr Russell and Mr Thompson are using Scots as well as Gaelic and the more conventional English. Edinburgh Central MSP Marco Biagi is to take his affirmation in English and Italian.

SNP group convener Gil Paterson said: "We have a wide range of cultures, roots and linguistic ties in this 69-strong group of SNP MSPs and as our MSPs take their seats they are highlighting just some of the different cultures the SNP represents across Scotland."

Mr Yousaf said: "I'm proud, like many in Scotland, of my Scottish-Pakistani identity and by taking the oath in Urdu and English and mixing traditional dress from both cultures I hope to take a further step toward cementing the Scottish-Pakistani identity in Parliament."

Today's ceremony is no stranger to expressions of identity. Eight years ago the Socialist Colin Fox sang the Burns song A Man's a Man for a'that.

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