John Lamont, the MSP for Ettrick, Roxburgh and Berwickshire, has announced he is resigning from the Scottish Parliament so that he can concentrate on winning a Westminster seat in June.
Mr Lamont is standing for the Westminster constituency of Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk and his hoping to unseat the SNP’s Calum Kerr.
His departure from Holyrood will trigger a Scottish Parliamentary by-election. Mr Lamont will step down from Holyrood from May 4 and the Presiding Officer will set a by-election date shortly.
Mr Lamont said: “It has been a great privilege to serve the people of the Borders in the Scottish Parliament for the last 10 years. During that time, I have worked as hard as I could to represent every community, no matter how small. “I have held over 1000 local advice surgeries and assisted tens of thousands of local residents with problems and cases. I have always put local people before party politics. “I want to continue that service to the Borders as a Member of Parliament and my approach to this important job will be exactly the same as it has been. This is one of the most important General Elections Scotland has ever had. “In the Borders, it will be straight fight between myself and the SNP. I have decided to stand down as an MSP to allow me to focus all of my energy on this important contest and to ensure that the electorate have a clear choice between the two contenders.”
He added: “I’ve taken this decision because I believe that I am best placed to help increase the number of Scottish Conservative and Unionist MPs at Westminster so we can stop the SNP bandwagon in its tracks. With this decision, no one can doubt my commitment to representing the Borders to the best of my ability.” Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson said: “During his 10 years in the Scottish Parliament, John has built up a formidable reputation as a dedicated community campaigner for the Borders and someone who will always put his constituents first. “Voters in the Borders can either pick John Lamont, one of Scotland’s hardest working local campaigners, who will put the Borders first and who will oppose Nicola Sturgeon’s damaging plans for a second referendum or they can pick another nationalist who will continue to pursue the obsession with taking Scotland out of the United Kingdom.”