Campbell becomes seventh SNP MSP to quit Holyrood
Aileen Campbell: ‘new challenges’ (pic: Terry Murden)
Communities Secretary Aileen Campbell has become the latest high profile SNP MSP who will not context next year’s elections to the Scottish parliament.
It means seven SNP MSPs have now said they will not seek re-election, the most senior being Constitution Secretary Michel Russell.
Stewart Stevenson, former environment and transport minister, will retire at the next election. Caithness, Sutherland and Ross MSP Gail Ross is stepping down after serving a single-term. Bruce Crawford, James Dornan and Richard Lyle have said they will be leaving the parliament.
Both Ms Campbell and Ms Ross have said that they want to spend more time with their young families. Ms Campbell’s decision – on International Womens’ Day – has raised concerns that the parliament is not providing the work-life balance it promised.
Ms Campbell, who was the first Scottish minister to take maternity leave in 2014, said: “My husband and I are very fortunate – we have managed to find ways for me to do my job and have a family at the same time, with Fraser taking on most of the day-to-day parenting.
“But there is no getting away from the fact that the job – while immensely rewarding – is demanding in terms of pressure and time. I hope in future I can spend a little more time with my boys at home.
“So, after much consideration, now feels like a good time to prepare myself for taking a step back from frontline party politics and government.”
She added: “I look forward to new challenges and, I hope, a better work-life balance – but until then, I will continue to work tirelessly for my constituents, and I will be pleased to continue serving in the Cabinet for as long as the First Minister wants me to.”
She was first elected to the Scottish Parliament in 2007 – the youngest MSP to be elected for that session – and was appointed as Minister for Children and Young People in 2011.
In 2016, she became Minister for Public Health and Sport before taking up the role of Communities Secretary two years later.
Mr Russell said last week he felt it was time for someone younger to fulfil the demands of his constituency, but said he would remain active in politics.
Swinson may replace Rennie
Former LibDem leader Jo Swinson is being lined up for a seat at Holyrood amid speculation Willie Rennie could stand down as Scottish leader after next year’s election.
Mr Rennie , MSP for North East Fife MSP, will have been in charge of the party north of the border for a decade next May and is said to be encouraging fresh leadership.
Ms Swinson, who lost her East Dunbartonshire Westminster seat at last year’s general election, is believed to be the favoured choice as Scottish leader.
According to the P&J she is understood to be “seriously considering” a run at Holyrood.