Scotland politics

Newest MSP Christian Allard speaks in English and French at swearing in

Scotland's newest MSP has been sworn in at Holyrood in a ceremony conducted in both English and French.

French-born Christian Allard has replaced list MSP Mark McDonald who resigned his seat to become a candidate in the Aberdeen Donside by-election.

The contest was called following the death of constituency MSP Brian Adam.

Mr Allard, who has experience in the fishing industry, made the affirmation twice, first in English and then in French.

In a statement released by the SNP, 49-year-old Mr Allard said: "I came to Scotland many years ago with few academic qualifications.

"I never went to university but am proud to have worked hard all of my life.

"I've raised three daughters here and I'm proud to call Scotland my home. It's a wonderfully welcoming country with such huge potential."

Mr Allard moved to Scotland more than 25 years ago to open an office with a European seafood transport firm in Glasgow.

He married a Scot and moved to the north-east to work for a seafood exporting company. His wife died a number of years ago, he said.

Mr Allard, originally from Dijon, joined the SNP almost 10 years ago after forming his view on independence from experiences in the fishing industry.

He worked for Dennis Robertson's office in the successful attempt to get him elected to the Aberdeenshire West constituency two years ago.

Doric dialect

Mr Allard said there were huge opportunities for the north-east, but the skills to harness them were needed, particularly among young people.

Regional MSPs are elected according to votes given to the party, rather than individuals, meaning the SNP can automatically top up their quota with Mr Allard who was on the party's North East list but failed to win a place at the last Scottish Parliament election.

The use of more than one language has become more common at Holyrood.

After the 2011 election, Italian, Urdu and Gaelic were heard alongside Scots and the Doric dialect.

Mr Allard said it was an honour to join the parliament and praised the late Mr Adam who died from cancer last month.

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