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Church of Scotland moderator designate Jim Wallace was Orkney and Shetland's MP from 1983 to 2001. Photo: Church of Scotland

FORMER Northern Isles MP Jim Wallace has been chosen as the next moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland.

He will become the Kirk’s ambassador at home and abroad in May 2021.

The 66-year-old life peer from Orkney is the second elder in modern times to take up the 12-month role, which will see him “speaking out on issues important to the Church and its mission to follow and proclaim the example of Jesus Christ”.

Lord Wallace said: “I am delighted to have been asked to take up the role and feel humbled and honoured that people have put their trust in me.

“I am both excited and daunted about the challenge of the task that lies ahead and to be honest I have had to pinch myself that this is actually happening.”

The former leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats was the MP for Orkney and Shetland from 1983 to 2001.

He was also the MSP for Orkney from when the Scottish Parliament opened in 1999 through to 2007.

The General Assembly, meanwhile, is the supreme court of the Church of Scotland.

The assembly meets annually to hear reports from the councils and committees, make laws and set the agenda for the national church.

A moderator is appointed to chair the daily business of the General Assembly each year.