NEW ticketing arrangements have been announced by the Scottish Parliament following repeated disruptions by climate activists since January.

An email was sent to all members of parliament on Thursday morning with the new ticketing procedure for members of the public to attend First Ministers questions. 

The arrangements, which are hoped to "strengthen public gallery access", will come into force immediately. 

Presiding Officer Alison Johnstone set out the new security measures in the email to address the ongoing disruptions by climate activist group This is Rigged, which has been leading to the suspension of parliament.

Johnstone wrote: "When I wrote to you following the repeated disruptions at FMQs on 30 March, I made clear that, over the Easter recess, Parliament would strengthen its public gallery access arrangements to protect the integrity of chamber business. 

READ MORE: First Minister's Questions disrupted FIVE times in fifteen minutes

"Following discussions with the SPCB, the new arrangements attached will come into force immediately and will be in place for next week’s FMQs and beyond. "

After setting out the procedure changes she added: "It is deeply regrettable that the Parliament has had to take this action. Over the past 25 years, we have prided ourselves on our openness to the public and the ease with which visitors have access to parliamentary business. 

"However, a small, but persistent number of protesters have brought us to the point where increased measures must be introduced."

The National: One of the protesters from activist group This is Rigged is escorted out of FMQOne of the protesters from activist group This is Rigged is escorted out of FMQ (Image: PA)

In summary the main changes are as follows: 

  • A new requirement for anyone booking a ticket for FMQs to provide their name and postal address. Tickets will not be processed without this information.
  • Group bookings will require the names and postal addresses of everyone in the group, where currently only a lead name is required.
  • All individuals collecting a ticket for FMQs will have to show a form of identification that confirms their name. 
  • All mobile electronic devices will require to be stored in a secure locker prior to entry to FMQs.
  • Anyone wilfully disrupting business will face a six-month exclusion from the gallery.

School groups booked through MSPs, Education or Visitor Services will, however, be exempt from these requirements.

The Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body (SPCB) has also formally requested that Police Scotland’s protest liaison team and the Parliament’s security team engage with This is Rigged.

The Presiding Officer concluded her notice by writing that the effectiveness of the arrangement will be reviewed after next week's FMQ's, the first back following spring recess, and if necessary "consider the implementation of further measures."