HOLYROOD bosses will today be pressed on the controversial rule-change on Parliament protests thanks to one of the country's newest MSPs.

Gilian Mackay took up her Central Scotland list seat for the Greens in May.

Now she's to lead a new bid calling on the Scottish Parliament Corporate Body (SCPB) to reveal the private papers behind the law change set to come into force next month.

From October 1, those found to be on the parliamentary estate "without lawful authority" could face a £5000 fine or a year in jail upon summary conviction.

That's after the cross-party SCPB asked the Home Office to to designate the Parliament and its grounds as a "protected site" on national security grounds.

The move has prompted outcry from activists used to gathering outwith the Enric Miralles building for a range of causes. 

The National:

And it's provoked criticism from a range of prominent voices including former Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill.

That's despite the fact that it puts Holyrood on a par with Westminster and the Senedd.

Last week the SPCB said it's not a full ban, it does not "foresee invoking this power frequently, and only in cases where visitors are in breach of the terms and conditions for use of the parliamentary estate".

Now it will be asked why it has taken this step after Mackay secured an emergency question on the matter. It's set to be heard today and reads: "To ask the Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body for what reason it applied for designated status for the Scottish Parliament under the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005, and whether it will publish the background paper upon which this decision was based."

It's been allowed by Presiding Officer Alison Johnstone, who chaired the SPCB meeting where the policy change was decided, and will be heard after the First Minister's Covid statement.

Earlier today Scottish LibDem leader Alex Cole-Hamilton released a letter he'd sent to members of the SPCB on the matter. It states: "I believe that it is in the public interest for the Parliament to explain the trigger and the rationale behind these decisions. The public should also be offered guidance on how to ensure they can maintain their ability to peacefully protest."

The National:

The SPCB decision was approved by group chair Johnstone as well as members Jackson Carlaw of the Tories, Claire Baker of Labour and the SNP’s Christine Grahame. Maggie Chapman of the Scottish Greens opposed the move.

A Scottish Parliament spokesperson said: "This decision will have no bearing on the tens of thousands of people who protest in a robust but peaceful way at Holyrood each year. 

"Such protests are an essential part of the expression of democracy in Scotland.

"There is no prohibition of protest or banning of gatherings.

"Designated status will give the Parliament the means to address individuals who try to prevent Parliament from meeting, or who seek to interfere with the rights of others at Holyrood. Protests remain welcome at Holyrood and will be supported by the SPCB."