Ken Macintosh is the new Presiding Officer of the Scottish Parliament.
The man who was twice defeated in contests to become Scottish Labour leader won at the third round of voting by MSPs.
Ironically, one of those he saw off in the third round of secret ballot voting was the woman who pipped him to the post in the party’s 2011 internal contest, Johann Lamont.
The other contenders were Conservative Mid Scotland and Fife MSP, Murdo Fraser, fellow Tory and ex-deputy PO John Scott and Labour’s Elaine Smith, who also served as a deputy to Ms Marwick.
The final round came down to Mr Fraser, who had the support of 31 MSPs, Ms Lamont, backed by 26, and Mr Macintosh, who won with 71 votes.
He will replace Tricia Marwick, who retired from politics when she did not stand to retain her Mid Fife and Glenrothes seat in last week’s Scottish election.
The SNP’s Linda Fabiani and Christine Grahame will be his deputies. Neither will have to resign their party whip but Mr Macintosh,who has been an MSP since 1999, will have to quit as a Labour member.
He paid tribute to Ms Marwick in his acceptance speech, saying she should feel “pride” about her reforming regime as PO and the positive impact she has had on the parliament and her constituency.
Mr Macintosh said: “Thank you all my fellow MSPs. I’m very grateful indeed for the honour and the privilege that you have granted me to be your next Presiding Officer and I want to thank also my fellow candidates. Before I go any further can I pay particular tribute to my predecessor as Presiding Officer, Tricia Marwick, who I think will be going up to join her family in the gallery.
“I imagine that Tricia will be full of many and mixed emotions today but could I suggest to her that she finds room for at least a small feeling of pride – pride that she has served her constituency, her region and her country with distinction over 17 years, and pride too that she had the courage as Presiding Officer to begin the process of Parliamentary reform, a process I’d be honoured to follow in her footsteps.
“And proud I think that she has left the Parliament more mature, more established and more confident than ever before, ready for our new powers, ready for the new challenges that undoubtedly lie ahead. And as Tricia and many of her former colleagues step down, it gives me great pleasure to welcome and thank all of you, the class of 2016.
“I can see around me many familiar faces and friends – and I welcome you back – but I see too, a huge number of new members, freshly elected, and can I just say on a personal level, the energy, the infectious enthusiasm and the optimism with which you have filled this building already in the few days you have been here has invigorated me. It has refreshed this place and reminded us all of the opportunity the Scottish Parliament offers all of us to make a better Scotland.
“And as we look ahead together over the next five years I hope we can work together. I do however wish to apologise now with a record number of new faces I am sure I am going to make some mistakes in the next few days. I’m bound to misidentify you. I’ll probably relocate your region or constituency to another part of Scotland.
“In the last few days I have warmly congratulated on their election to this Parliament two members of our catering staff, a BBC journalist and a Special Branch Officer working for Prince Charles last night.
“But the revitalising of this Parliament reminds me of the promise offered by devolution, which is to work together across the party divide for the common good.
“I imagine that all of you and all your families are filled with pride that you serve as MSPs in the Scottish Parliament. I know mine does. I know my late father would have enjoyed this moment. My father was never elected, never stood for office actually, he was a head teacher but was asked to be a candidate on three different occasions.
“Now the most revealing aspect about my father is that he was asked by three, different political parties. I – for the first time perhaps in my life – I hope that I’ve inherited that quality from him.
“I’m very conscious that each one of us, each one of you, has a tremendous responsibility and a duty to the people of Scotland. I see it as my responsibility and my duty to help you with that task.”