DUNCAN Hamilton and Andrew Wilson, the former SNP MSPs once regarded as two of Holyrood's brightest rising stars, yesterday indicated that they were not tempted to return to the Scottish Parliament.
The decision of several of the SNP old guard to stand down at next year's Scottish elections led to suggestions that Mr Hamilton and Mr Wilson might return to front-line politics to bolster the Nationalist benches.
Jim Mather, Ian McKee and Andrew Welsh have said they do not intend to stand next year.
Yesterday Mr Hamilton, who was the youngest MSP when he entered politics in 1999 at the age of 25, said re-entering Holyrood in 2011 was "certainly not something that I had planned on doing".
Although he did not categorically rule out a return next year – admitting that politics was a "funny business" – he said: "My gut reaction is that I would suspect not."
He added: "I wouldn't rule it out in the longer term, but I strongly suspect that it won't be at the next election."
Mr Hamilton, a former student debating champion with an impressive academic record,
left politics at the 2003 election to pursue a legal career. He has since become an advocate.
Mr Wilson left Holyrood at the same time when he fell foul of the SNP's list selection system.
The SNP overhauled its candidate ranking system after Mr Wilson and Mike Russell, the current education secretary, lost their seats in 2003.
Like Mr Hamilton, he has also carved out a successful career, with the Royal Bank of Scotland.
Mr Wilson said: "I am not planning to run at the next election and I am fully focused on the task of turning around RBS, which is everybody's focus here.
"The long term is an undiscovered foreign country for me."