Member of the Scottish Parliament
Scottish Parliament

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Liz S

00:02 I’m Liz S and I’m a Conservative MSP for the area of Mid Scotland and Fife. I was elected to the Scottish Parliament in 2007 and prior to that I was a teacher at a school in Edinburgh.

00:13 Within the Conservative Party I have the role of being Education spokesman, so that means I’ve very heavily involved, particularly at school level about policies that get involved with things to do with exams or curriculum or in ways that young people can then go into the outside world, the decisions that they have to make, obviously in terms of whether they go into a job or college or University and it’s also about the process of involving youngsters in, you know, career decisions that are appropriate to them.

00:45 Well I’ll be strictly honest I don’t like the architectural design of the outside, I like certain parts of the interior. I particularly like the debating chamber where I think the acoustics are very good, it’s easy to speak with notes it’s easy to speak without notes and it’s a nice sort of open, I think it’s a fairly friendly place I think.

01:04 Having been in the teaching profession first, I find it useful that people feel that I’ve got a background in the politics that I’m obviously taking responsibility for and that’s helpful.

01:13 I was very lucky to be at what I consider to be a very good school. A school that was interested in academic progress as well as a lot of extra-curricula facilities. I was somebody who was I think probably engaged at school, I enjoyed most of the subjects, not all of them but most of the subjects that I did, and I had a particular focus on social sciences. I particularly liked history and economics, modern studies, but I was also somebody who was very actively involved particularly on the games field, and that was something that you know had an added interested for me at school.

01:48 Mainly cricket, which is quite unusual for a woman in Scotland, but I had the privilege to play for a Scottish women’s cricket team in 2000 up to 2002 and I coach a girls team in Scotland, I do a little bit of work with Cricket Scotland helping to try and get more girls involved and actually playing the game.

02:07 I’ve always been interested in youngsters and what makes people think in particular ways and I think obviously when you’re at school you’re developing both intellectually and physically obviously and I’m very interested in the process that makes you decide on doing certain things. My parents were both teachers as it happens and I think they probably had quite an influence on deciding what I would do too, but I like to think I’m quite independent minded and it was my own decision. I was inspired by a few teachers at school because I thought they were incredibly good in the classroom, but also because they stretched me and made me think about things that you know hitherto I hadn’t been thinking about and that’s important.

02:47 I haven’t ever had an pressure exerted on me to do, in fact quite the reverse when people said what on earth do you want to go into teachers for? I think the comment was probably more common what on earth do you want to go into politics for? But I have to say I’m totally committed to both and I enjoy it very much.

03:04 My father died just as I was leaving school to go to University, very suddenly and, so I had to think quite carefully about the implications for the family of that and I think I matured probably quite quickly at that stage, because it was the last thing that anybody in the family expected. Obviously very difficult to cope with at the time, so as I say I think I matured and recognised that I had to take a lot of responsibility with that and that was probably very good for me.

03:30 Lots of people have lots of different things to day to you. Listen to them all but for goodness sake make up your own mind and never rush into that decision. Take your chances but make sure that you’re doing what you want to do and it’s a considered judgement.


Liz S is a Conservative Member of the Scottish Parliament, and her party’s spokesman on education. She was a teacher before she was elected. “My father died just as I was leaving school to go to University, very suddenly, and so I had to think quite carefully about the implications for the family… I think I matured and recognised that I had to take a lot of responsibility.”

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? Elected representatives in national government formulate and ratify legislation and government policy, act as elected representatives in Parliament, European Parliament, Regional Parliaments or Assemblies, and as representatives of the government and its executive. Elected officers in local government act as representatives in the local authority and participate in the formulation, ratification and implementation of local government policies.
Entry is by election.
  • Represents constituency within the legislature and advises and assists constituents on a variety of issues;
  • Acts as a Party representative within the constituency;
  • Participates in debates and votes on legislative and other matters;
  • Holds positions on parliamentary or local government committees;
  • Tables questions to ministers and introduces proposals for government action;
  • Recommends or reviews potential policy or legislative change, and offers advice and opinions on current policy;
  • Advises on the interpretation and implementation of policy decisions, acts and regulations;
  • Studies and acts upon any legislation that may affect the local authority.
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