Minister to leave Holyrood

Russell to quit parliament, but continue indy crusade

Michael Russell

Michael Russell addressing the SNP Spring conference last year (pic: Terry Murden)

Constitution and Europe Secretary Michael Russell is quitting the Scottish parliament.

Mr Russell, 66, will not stand in the May 2021 Scottish elections, but he intends to remain active in politics, indicating that he will continue to campaign for Scottish independence.

Former Transport Minister Stewart Stevenson has also announced he will not be seeking re-election.

Mr Russell said: “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.

“Independence is so much closer than it was when I first voted for the SNP 46 years ago. I hope I have contributed something to that success and I still hope to contribute more but in a different way and role.”

Mr Russell has been an MSP for a decade and was previously a regional member for the South of Scotland from 1999-2003 and 2007-2011. But he said he will be 72 at the end of the next Parliament.

“Argyll & 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. It is, I think, much better I say that now than wait for someone else to do so.

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