FMQs Extended To 45 Mins

First Minister's Questions will take place today for the first time since the Scottish election, with Nicola Sturgeon facing a longer grilling from party leaders and MSPs.

The Scottish Parliament last week voted in favour of piloting an extended session of up to 45 minutes to allow a better balance of leaders' and backbenchers' questions.

Ms Sturgeon will now face up to eight questions - an increase from six in the previous 30-minute FMQs slot.

Conservative leader Ruth Davidson will be given the first chance to challenge the First Minister after her party overtook Labour to come second in last month's ballot.

Patrick Harvie, the Greens' co-convener, will also be allocated the third question in two weeks out of three, after the party pushed the Liberal Democrats into fourth place.

Questions selected for the first session cover topics including the ban on air weapons, former justice secretary Kenny MacAskill's book on the Lockerbie bomber, support for rape victims, and local government reform.

The extended FMQs, drawn up by new Presiding Officer Ken Macintosh, was welcomed by Ms Sturgeon who had called for more opportunities for scrutiny.

She said: "I would like backbenchers to have as much opportunity as possible to ask questions, while also protecting the time allocated to party leaders - and I look forward to these new measures now being put in place.''

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