DUNFERMLINE MSP Shirley Anne-Somerville and her faithful friend are embarking on a quest for a prestigious award.

The politician, along with her two year-old Cockapoo Oscar, will compete with other MSPs and their pooches to win the coveted title of ‘Holyrood Dog of the Year’ 2023.

Dogs of all shapes and sizes, regardless of breed, creed or ‘pawlitical’ persuasion, will be strutting their stuff with their owners as they head to the Scottish Parliament gardens at Horse Wynd, Edinburgh, to see who will be crowned top dog.

Organised jointly by The Kennel Club and Dogs Trust, the competition celebrates the unique bond between dogs and their owners and offers the chance for Ms Somerville to show off her loyal canine companion.

With continued concern over the rising cost of living, and more dog owners in Scotland than ever before, this year’s competition is all about the cost of living and the positive impact that dog ownership can have on our mental health.

The event also encourages open dialogue on dog welfare issues, as well as providing an opportunity for MSPs to meet with experts to discuss all aspects of the canine world.

Ms Somerville said: “Oscar should be crowned Holyrood Dog of the Year because he’s adorable, funny and caring. While he may never win prizes for being the smartest dog, he’ll always be first for cuddles and fun.

"His never-failing love of life and ambition to make friends with everyone has brought joy to my whole family.

“The competition will be a great chance to highlight the essential work MSPs are doing to help our constituents during the cost of living crisis, while also celebrating the positive impact that our dogs have on our wellbeing.”

MSPs will also be calling for their supporters to vote for them online, in a bid to win the ‘pawblic’ vote, with additional judging on the day which will review the contestants on their good dog deeds and winning personalities.

This will then determine which political pooch will take home the ultimate parliamentary privilege of the ‘Holyrood Dog of the Year 2023’ title.

The competition starts at 10am on Monday, June 26 at the Scottish Parliament Gardens. To vote for Ms Somerville and Oscar, visit thekennelclub.org.uk/hdoty.