AS the new intake of MSPs prepare to take part in the official swearing-in ceremony today, The National have picked out the top pro-independence politicians to watch over the coming parliamentary term.

With a majority of MSPs taking up their seats in holyrood backing Indyref2 in the first half of the parliament (by 2023), the next few years will certainly be full of debate over the constitutional question and how Scotland can move forward as a progressive and inclusive country, with recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic, a just transition to green jobs and housing topping many parliamentarians priority lists.

Gillian Mackay, Green Party, Central Scotland Region

NEWCOMER Mackay is a graduate in marine biotechnology and biodiversity, and has been a staff member for the Green MSPs for several years so knows her way around the inner workings of the Scottish Parliament.

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With Ineos, a petrochemical company based in Grangemouth, Falkirk, being part of her region and where she grew up, Mackay has previously said she is aware of how important the industry and jobs are to the area – and wants to be at the forefront of the transition to green jobs, a topic that will certainly dominate the next parliamentary term.

Siobhian Brown, SNP, Ayr

BROWN unseated the longest-serving Tory MSP John Scott, who held the Ayr seat since 2000 after winning the first Scottish Parliamentary by-election, and has plenty of experience behind her. A former paralegal, councillor in South Ayrshire with a portfolio for economy, tourism and leisure, Brown said her priorities were young people and bringing opportunities to the area, as well as rethinking retail and high street spaces in the town.

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Kaukab Stewart, SNP, Glasgow Kelvin

STEWART made history as the first woman of colour to win a constituency seat and be elected to the Scottish Parliament, but she is a long-term campaigner who has been part of the independence movement since the 1990s.

A teacher for almost 30 years, her passion for education – and first hand experience – is likely to shine through in the next term, as well as working towards ensuring every young person has an equal chance to succeed.

Karen Adam, SNP, Banffshire and Buchan Coast

ADAM took over from Stewart Stevenson in Aberdeenshire and will likely put inclusivity at the front of her work in the coming years. She finished her acceptance speech in sign language as a nod to her dad, who is deaf, and as a mum-of-six, some of whom have additional support needs, Adam has first hand knowledge of the education system and support networks that are vital for children with additional needs. Adam’s seat in Banffshire also has a flurry of fishing villages, which have been hard-hit by Brexit.

The National: Scottish Greens co-leader Lorna Slater

Lorna Slater, Green Party, Lothian Regional List

CANADIAN-born Slater was arguably the stand out star of the election campaign, and brought fresh energy to the television debates. With a degree in electro-mechanical engineering and a day job as an engineering project manager at Orbital Marine Power, Slater has a wealth of experience in the renewables industry that will be important as Scotland transitions into more green jobs.

Paul McLennan, SNP, East Lothian

MCLENNAN took East Lothian, a historically Labour seat, by pitching himself to young voters and focussing on the environment and climate crisis, something he will take forward in Holyrood. With Torness Nuclear Power Station falling within the constituency, McLennan previously said the focus was on a just transition to green jobs for the area. The councillor of 14 years will focus on tourism, local high streets and creating affordable housing in the area where there is a shortfall. Health and recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic also top his priorities.

The National: Jim Fairlie

Jim Fairlie, SNP, Perthshire South and Kinross-shire

FAIRLIE held Roseanna Cunningham’s seat after she decided to stand down, and has a wealth of experience in the farming and agricultural industries. The founder of Farmers for Yes, a former shepherd, hill farmer and owner of a food and catering business, Fairlie’s links to the farming community will be interesting as the full effects of Brexit – as well as the impact of the pandemic – continue to have a detrimental affect on the community.

Maggie Chapman, Green Party, North East Regional List

FORMER Greens co-leader Chapman is serving as an MSP for the North East Region, an area heavily dominated by oil and gas which employs many residents there, so a Green – who ran on a manifesto to stop oil and gas exploration – winning a seat there is a move in the right direction. Look out for Chapman fighting for a just transition for workers, renewables and public transport.