Argyll and Bute MSP will not stand for re-election

Michael Russell MSP

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Michael Russell has said it is time for ‘someone younger’ to take on the role of MSP for Argyll and Bute as he contemplates retirement from front line politics.

Mr Russell, who is also the Scottish Government’s Cabinet Secretary for the Constitution, Europe and External Affairs, told members of his SNP constituency association that he does not intend to stand in the May 2021 Scottish Parliament elections.

Previously a regional member for the South of Scotland from 1999-2003 and 2007-2011, Mr Russell has been the Argyll and Bute constituency MSP for almost a decade.

Mr Russell said: ‘I have been the MSP for Argyll and Bute since 2011 and it has been an enormous privilege as well as a greatly enjoyable task.

‘However, I will be 67 this summer and 72 at the end of the next parliament. Argyll and Bute is a massive area to cover, with 23 inhabited islands and a large swathe of the mainland, and I am getting to the stage of thinking that someone younger would be better able to fulfil all the demands of the
constituency.

‘I am proud of the work the SNP in government has done in Argyll and Bute, securing much new investment, supporting individuals and communities through many  difficulties and promoting the many advantages of the place to the rest of Scotland and the world.

‘I fully intend to go on working hard on those tasks for as long as I am in post. In so doing I will be giving every inch of backing to Nicola Sturgeon, who is the best First Minister Scotland could have, and to her talented team as they prepare to put our case for the future to the people of Scotland next May.

‘I also hope over the year or so that I have still to serve that I will get to thank personally many individual constituents and SNP members across Argyll and Bute for their support and friendship. I am particularly grateful to my local office team – Marie-Claire, Heather and Keir – to whom this decision wasn’t a complete shock but will be nonetheless unsettling. I know that they, too, over the next 12 months will remain fully focused on our biggest privilege of all – serving and supporting the people who live in this huge, wonderful constituency.

‘After next May I still intend to be active in the political sphere. I think of my decision as stepping back from some current roles, not stepping away from my commitment to our country and the better future it can have and should choose.’