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Michael Russell and Stewart Stevenson to stand down

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Michael Russell and Stewart Stevenson to stand down

Michael Russell and Stewart Stevenson will step down from the Scottish Parliament next year.

With parties beginning selection for the 2021 Scottish Parliament election, the two SNP MSPs announced they would not run for selection.

Constitutional Relations Secretary Russell, who represents Argyll and Bute, said: "I will be 67 this summer and 72 at the end of the next Parliament.

"Argyll and 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."

The news comes after SNP MSP Gail Ross announced she will not be standing for re-election next year due to the “demands of travelling to Edinburgh”, with the Caithness, Sutherland and Ross MSP calling for the Scottish Parliament to consider allowing MSPs to vote remotely and use video conferencing.

Ross 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.

Stevenson, who has served as, Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Climate Change and as Minister for Environment and Climate Change, will be 75 next year and said the time is right to stand down.

He said: “After joining the SNP in 1961 and being elected in 2001 it has been my honour and privilege to serve the people of Banffshire and Buchan Coast as their MSP for the last 20 years. I am incredibly proud over that time to have been a part of many positive changes, both large and small.

“I will miss working with, and for, so many people in the constituency, but for the year next I shall continue to work hard to represent the people of the North-east and I hope to say a personal thank you to the many people who have been part of my life over the years in both the constituency and at Holyrood.

“My leaving Parliament does not mean that I shall be leaving politics.

“Until Scotland can make its own decisions as a normal, independent country, co-operating with friendly neighbours for moral causes, I shall continue to lend my efforts wherever and whenever I can.”

Russell was elected to the Scottish parliament in 1999, although he lost his seat in 2003, while Stevenson was first elected in 2001.

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