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by Liam Kirkaldy
09 March 2020
Aileen Campbell to stand down at 2021 election

Holyrood Magazine

Aileen Campbell to stand down at 2021 election

Cabinet Secretary for local government Aileen Campbell will step down at the 2021 Scottish Parliament election, she has announced.

Campbell, the SNP MSP for Clydesdale and the Scottish Government’s Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Local Government, said she hoped to achieve "a better work-life balance".

Campbell was first elected in 2007 on the South of Scotland list, before being elected for Clydesdale at the 2011 election.

She was appointed as Minister for Children and Young People in 2011.

Her announcement follows a similar move from SNP MSP Gail Ross, who last week announced she would stand down.

SNP members Stewart Stevenson, Michael Russell, Bruce Crawford and Richard Lyle, as well as independent MSP Mark McDonald, all confirmed they would stand down from parliament at the next election.

Campbell MSP said: “I joined the SNP almost 25 years ago. There have been big changes in the party and movement I signed up to as a shy 15-year-old, and I feel so lucky to have been part of them.

“So, it is only after some considerable thought that I announce today that I have decided not to seek re-election in 2021.

“I first became an MSP in 2007 – elected quite unexpectedly on an incredible night for the SNP. 

“It was a life-changing moment - and from the outset I was aware it came with enormous responsibility. I can safely say I know what imposter syndrome feels like. 

“There was no going back though, and looking back, I’m so glad fate dealt me the hand it did. The opportunity to serve constituents across the region, and in Clydesdale constituency since 2011, is a genuine privilege. I can honestly say I have given everything to do my job as well as I possibly can - and I will of course continue to do that until the end of the parliamentary term in 2021.”

She said: “I have got married and have been blessed with two beautiful boys, who are growing up fast. Indeed, in 2014 I became the first Scottish Minister to take maternity leave.

“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.”

She added: “It’s not always easy, and sometimes you really agonise over the decisions you take. But whether it is the relatively small victories you and your staff achieve on behalf of your constituents or helping to drive forward transformational national policies in government – it is always, always worth it. Politics can – and does – make a difference.

“There are so many people I would like to thank, not least the brilliant staff in my constituency office and the dedicated local activists who have supported me over the years. I have also met countless inspiring people who give so much in their jobs and roles in communities across the length and breadth of the country.”

Read the most recent article written by Liam Kirkaldy - Sketch: If the Queen won’t do it, it’ll just have to be Matt Hancock

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