HOLYROOD’S new Presiding Officer has warned the parliament must not “rest on its laurels” after the election of the most diverse group of MSPs ever.

The May poll saw a record 58 women elected, with the proportion of MSPs that are female increasing to 45%.

That includes women of colour being elected for the first time ever, while Holyrood also has its first MSP who is a permanent wheelchair user.

Despite those achievements, Alison Johnstone said Holyrood must still “continue to strive to have a Parliament that even better represents the people”.

Together with former Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale, she co-founded the Women 50:50 group – which campaigns for women to make up at least half of all MSPs and councillors in Scotland.

She said: “I think what we need to do now though is not rest on our laurels, continue to strive to have a parliament that even better represents the people of Scotland.”

She also said she wanted work to be done to help understand “to what extent that more diverse parliament is engaged in parliamentary business”.

Johnstone explained this could involve looking at “are we hearing 45% of contributions coming from women, are 45% of interventions made by women, or on women”.

She added: “I am not sure to what extent my predecessors looked at this, but I am really keen to make sure that that more diverse parliament has an opportunity to impact on the decisions we take for the people of Scotland.”

Johnstone, who is the first MSP from the Scottish Greens to take up the Presiding Officer post, has also spoken of her determination that the Parliament should be a “real exemplar” in the fight against climate change.

And while she has given up her party allegiance for the post, she stressed that with the COP26 taking place in Scotland this year, both she and Parliament have important contributions to make.

She said: “I would like to see Parliament become a real exemplar in everything we do, in terms of where we are procuring to everything from food to equipment, in the way we look after the grounds, what we do with the grounds.”

She said Holyrood should be at the forefront of achieving net-zero emissions by 2045.