Health Secretary Jeane Freeman to stand down at next year's Holyrood election

The Health Secretary has announced her decision to step down as an MSP at next year’s Scottish Parliament elections.

Jeane Freeman is the step down as an MSP
Jeane Freeman is the step down as an MSP

Ms Freeman made the announcement to her constituency association this evening.

The news comes just days after Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham, said she was not standing next year, adding to a growing list of SNP “big hitters” who are quitting Holyrood, including Constitution Secretary Michael Russell.

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One of Holyrood’s longest-serving MSPs, Alex Neil, also announced at the weekend that he would not be standing again.

In a statement tonight, Ms Freeman said: "After very careful thought I have decided not to stand for re-selection as the SNP candidate for Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley in the 2021 Scottish Parliament elections."It has been a real privilege and pleasure to represent the Ayrshire I grew up in and which in so many ways, made me who I am today. I have also been privileged to hold two Ministerial offices in the Scottish Government in that time, initially charged with setting up Scotland’s first social security service and now as Cabinet Secretary for Health. In Government and as a local MSP for a great constituency, I have learned a great deal and have had the opportunity to work with very many talented, committed and compassionate people.

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Alex Neil is the latest SNP to announce he is standing down"I will be 67 later this year and 72 by the end of the next Parliamentary term and while I have a great deal of energy left and more I want to do, I think it is the right time for me to stand aside and let another take forward the work as an MSP for this constituency.

"Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley is a beautiful part of our country and it is full of talented, enterprising and hard working people. It will be an honour for whoever wins the constituency seat, as it has been for me.

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"I have been hugely supported by SNP members in Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley and I am grateful to them all. I owe a particular debt to my hardworking and excellent constituency staff, Tracy, Paul and Jayde without whom I literally couldn’t have done the job.

"I remain even firmer in my conviction that the right future for the people of this constituency and of Scotland is one where we have all the democratic and decision-making powers of a normal country.

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“Securing independence by securing the right of people in Scotland to choose their own future will allow us to build on the progressive work of the SNP government since 2007 and fulfil the potential of this place and this country to build the prosperous, inclusive and progressive future we want for all of us and for future generations.

"In the months ahead I will continue my focus on the work we need to do as a country to meet the challenges facing us all in dealing with COVID-19, supporting our NHS and social care workers, and in remobilising our NHS and social care services to the greatest extent possible."

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Over the weekend, it emerged fellow her SNP colleague Alex Neil, one of Holyrood’s longest serving MSPs,would also be standing down.

The MSP for Airdrie and Shotts said he had been “tempted” to stand for election again, but “after much soul searching” had decided against committing another five years to frontline politics.

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Mr Neil, who is regarded as one of the most independent of the SNP government’s backbenchers in Holyrood - and the only one to have publicly said he voted for Brexit - said that he “owed it to his wife and family to spend more time with them” and that his two granddaughters missed him when he was “away so often on parliamentary and constituency business.”

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