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Health Secretary to leave

Freeman is latest top SNP figure to quit Holyrood

Jeane Freeman

Jeane Freeman: stepping down

Health Secretary Jeane Freeman has announced she will step down next year, becoming the 12th sitting SNP MSP who will not contest the Scottish election.

Ms Freeman, who has been centre-stage for the past five months dealing with Covid-19 pandemic, made the announcement to her constituency association this evening.

Commenting on her decision, 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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“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.

“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. 

“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.”

Ms Freeman is the fourth cabinet secretary to announce an intention to step down from the Scottish Parliament, the seventh senior SNP MSP and the 12th in total.

Full list of SNP MSPs not contesting the 2021 election:

Jeane Freeman (Health)

Mike Russell (Constitution)

Roseanna Cunningham (Environment)

Aileen Campbell (Communities)

Linda Fabiani (Dep presiding Officer)

Alex Neil (former Cabinet Minister)

Stewart Stevenson (former Transport and Environment minister)

Gil Paterson

Gail Ross

Bruce Crawford

Richard Lyle

Angus MacDonald

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