Gail Ross to step down at 2021 election
Gail Ross has announced she will not be standing for re-election next year due to the “demands of travelling to Edinburgh” and has called for the Scottish Parliament to consider allowing MSPs to vote remotely and use video conferencing.
Ross, SNP MSP for Caithness, Sutherland, was elected to Holyrood in 2016 with a majority of 3,913, after serving on the Highland Council. She is the fourth SNP MSP to announce her exit in 2021.
“The decision has been reached due to the demands of travelling to Edinburgh and being away from home for sometimes five days a week, every week,” she said.
“I want to be able to spend more time with my family, to watch my son grow up and to be more involved in local issues, things I cannot presently do.”
Ross added: “I recently asked the Standards, Procedures and Public Appointments Committee to ask if there is any possibility that members could video into meetings and remote vote.
“If we are to encourage into politics more young people with families who live far away from Edinburgh, this has to be considered.”
She said the “sheer size” of the area she represented meant that she had “difficulty in reaching every part of the constituency on a regular basis and I am not able to represent my constituents in the way they deserve and rightly expect”.
Ross said the decision had not been easy and thanked “everyone who has supported me in my journey through council and then parliament”.
“It has been a huge privilege to represent the place where I grew up and although the job has sometimes been very challenging, these years have been some of the most rewarding of my professional career,” she said.
“My drive for independence is stronger than ever and I will continue work to make sure that all families can grow and prosper in an independent Scotland.”
Ross is currently deputy convener of the Petitions Committee, convener of the Cross Party Group on the Prevention and Healing of Adverse Childhood Experiences, co-convener of the Cross Party Group on Food and a member of the Education and Skills Committee.
Her announcement comes one day after Richard Lyle also announced he will be standing down.
In a tweet, the Uddingston and Bellshill MSP said he looked forward “to spending more time with family and will always fight for independence”.
“After 45 yrs in front line politics it’s been the greatest privilege to serve Uddingston & Bellshill,” he said.
Lyle is a member of the Economy, Energy and Fair Work Committee and Rural Economy and Connectivity Committee. He was elected to Holyrood in 2011, after serving as a councillor for the Motherwell District.
Ross and Lyle join SNP MSPs James Dornan, Bruce Crawford, as well as Labour MSP Neil Findlay and Conservative MSP Ruth Davidson, who have also announced they will not be re-contesting their seats.