SIR Malcolm Bruce, the Scottish Liberal Democrat president and one of Scotland’s longest serving MPs, is to stand down at the next General Election.
Sir Malcolm, who has been the MP for Gordon since 1983, was knighted in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list in 2012.
He announced today that he would be standing down at the next election “to make way for some younger people.”
Sir Malcolm said: “I have really done all the things I wanted to do and set out to do in Parliament. I have seen my Party come from being really a fringe party with, when I started, six MPs who had two per cent of the popular vote to a national party in Government. Now is the time to leave to make way for some younger people.”
He continued: “I have just recently celebrated 30 years as an MP and calculate that I have spent more than ten years away from home in terms of the night’s away. I am sill fit, busy, active and enjoying it and I think that’s the right time to look ahead and say time for a change of pace and time to make way for somebody else.”
Willie Rennie, the leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats, said: “Sir Malcolm has represented his constituents in Gordon and the Scottish Liberal Democrats with distinction over the past 30 years.
“He has made a substantial contribution to Scottish and British politics over this period, not least as chair of the international development select committee.
“Malcolm has been a stalwart of our party over the past 30 years. He has worked tirelessly for his constituents since first elected I am certain he will continue to do so until his last day in office.”
Sir Malcolm, a graduate of St Andrews University, joined the Liberal Party as a schoolboy and became president of the Liberal Club while a student at St Andrews. He first won the Gordon seat in 1983 and has held the seat continuously ever since.
He was leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats between 1988 and 1992 and retained the Gordon seat at the 2010 general Election with a with a 6748 vote majority over the SNP candidate.
He is currently the chairman of the International Development Select Committee which examines the expenditure, administration and policy of the Department for International Development and its associated public bodies.
North East Liberal Democrat MSP Alison McInnes also paid tribute to her fellow parliamentarian.
She said:”Malcolm has been a steady rock for me, particularly when I was newly elected to Holyrood. His extensive knowledge and sound advice have been invaluable to me. Indeed, not only to me, but to the thousands of constituents he has helped over the years.
“He has steered the Liberal Democrats through some difficult waters both in Scotland, the UK and here in the North East. Whatever the challenge he has kept firmly focussed on the goal to be achieved and argued the case strongly. The voters in Gordon have responded, and even when the national trend forecast he would lose his seat, he would be re-elected.”
Ms McInnes added: “He is rightly held in the highest regard by his constituents. His vision and determination have seen him gain the respect of colleagues and political foes. He will be a hard act to follow.”