Senior Tory MSPs to stand down at Holyrood election

Alex Fergusson has been a member of the Scottish Parliament since 1999. Picture: Donald MacLeod

Alex Fergusson has been a member of the Scottish Parliament since 1999. Picture: Donald MacLeod

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LONG-serving Conservative MSPs Alex Fergusson and Nanette Milne have announced they will stand down at the Holyrood election next year.

Mr Fergusson, a former Presiding Officer, has been a member of the Scottish Parliament since it was established in 1999.

Nanette Milne is also stepping down. Picture: Contributed

Nanette Milne is also stepping down. Picture: Contributed

The Galloway and West Dumfries MSP said: “Someone once said that a week is a long time in politics, but I have to say that the last 17 years have simply flown by.

“I feel incredibly privileged to have been elected as a South of Scotland MSP in 1999, and then to have been returned as the constituency MSP in the three elections since, and I will never forget the honour of being elected by my fellow MSPs to the position of the Parliament’s Presiding Officer in 2007.”

He added: “Representing this wonderful part of Scotland during the establishment of the Scottish Parliament and through its first 17 years is a role that I have loved, and I will miss it. But I will be 67 when next year’s election takes place, and it is time for me to move on.

“Until Parliament is dissolved at the end of March, I will continue to try to uphold the best interests of my constituents in Galloway and West Dumfries, and I thank them from the bottom of my heart for giving me the honour of doing so.”

Ms Milne was first elected in 2003, having joined the Conservatives in 1974.

She is a member for the North East, and the party’s public health spokesperson.

She said: “It has been an honour and a privilege to represent my fellow North East citizens in the Scottish Parliament.

“As an MSP over the last 12 years, I am most proud of my behind-the-scenes work which I have undertaken as an MSP on behalf of my constituents.

“As the Scottish Conservative spokeswoman on public health and a member of the Parliament’s health and sport committee, I have spent a significant part of my time focused on health issues, which as a former medic I have found very rewarding.

“Looking to the future and the next Scottish Parliament, it is vital that Scotland has a strong opposition to the SNP and that other political voices are heard in the Scottish Parliament.

“I have been concerned for some time that central belt bias is emerging as dominant within Holyrood, and I fear the Scottish Parliament is rapidly becoming remote from our local issues and concerns.

“I would like to thank all those who have helped me over the years during my time as an MSP.

“It is my love for the north east and its people that has driven me as an MSP and as I now look towards my retirement I can look forward to having time to do the many other things I enjoy.”

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