NICOLA Sturgeon was the first politician to be sworn into the sixth session of Holyrood as the new parliament formally got under way, with affirmations and oaths taken in a record number of languages.

Returning and new members took an oath or affirmation following last week’s election in which the SNP was returned as the biggest party for the fourth consecutive term.

Many MSPs made their vows yesterday in second languages, including Urdu, Canadian French, Scots, Gaelic, Orcadian, Doric, Welsh, Arabic and Punjabi.

It is believed to be a record variety of languages used in the swearing-in ceremony to date with newly elected SNP MSP for Edinburgh Central Angus Roberston taking his in German. Fellow SNP MSP Karen Adam made her affirmation in British Sign Language – a first for the parliament.

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Adam held the Banffshire and Buchan Coast seat for the SNP with a majority of 772 over Tory Mark Findlater. She learned how to sign as a child to communicate with her deaf father. While a councillor she campaigned for councils to improve access to and support for users of British Sign Language.

New Tory MSP Pam Gosal made her oath in Punjabi, while Maggie Chapman, the newly elected Scottish Greens MSP made her affirmation in Zimbabwean Shona. Re-elected Tory MSP Rachael Hamilton made her oath in Welsh.

The First Minister made an affirmation, followed by Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross and Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar taking the oath.

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Ahead of affirming, Sturgeon said the SNP “pledges loyalty to the people of Scotland in line with the Scottish constitutional tradition of the sovereignty of the people”.

Before making the affirmation, Greens co-leader Patrick Harvie said he would like to reassert his party’s “allegiance lies with the people of Scotland who elected this

parliament and who are sovereign, and we look forward to the day when they can choose their own elected head of state”.

The oath states MSPs “will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth”.