Dunfermline By-Election Called

A by-election will be held on Thursday October 24 to fill the Dunfermline seat vacated by disgraced former MSP Bill Walker.

Walker, convicted of 23 domestic abuse charges last month, submitted his resignation to the Scottish Parliament at the weekend. 

Holyrood Presiding Officer Tricia Marwick has written to Steve Grimmond, chief executive of Fife Council, as Returning Officer, to confirm her choice of date and ask for arrangements for the by-election to be put in place.

Walker, 71, of Alloa in Clackmannanshire, was found guilty following a trial at Edinburgh Sheriff Court last month but initially refused to resign his seat under pressure from campaigners and MSPs, many of whom signed a petition calling for him to go. 

The former SNP MSP, who was ejected from the party when the allegations surfaced, denied the charges. He is due to be sentenced on September 20. In a statement released on Saturday, he said a ''media onslaught'' made it impossible for him to continue. 

His resignation took effect from Monday. Walker was elected as Holyrood's Dunfermline constituency MSP in a surprise victory for the SNP two years ago. 

On a night of success for the party he beat the previous Liberal Democrat winner into third place and finished 590 votes above Labour. 

His resignation means parties will contest the seat once again.