The Rt. Hon. Tricia Marwick, Presiding Officer of the Scottish Parliament and MSP for Mid Fife and Glenrothes, has announced that she is standing down from Parliament at next year's Scottish election.
The Presiding Officer said:
“I have been active in politics since the mid-80s and for some of that time held down a full time job, looked after my children as well as campaigning. It is possible that the next parliamentary session will last for 5 years and, if so, I will be 67 when that session ends. I have been an MSP since 1999 and I am convinced this is the right time for me to leave the Parliament and frontline politics.
“When I was diagnosed with bowel cancer in 2013 it made me realise I wasn't invincible. The sad loss this session of 4 MSPs from the 1999 intake has affected me deeply. My health is good and all my tests show that I remain clear of cancer. However, my family have had to make many sacrifices over the years and I want to ensure that I can spend more time with them, particularly my two grandchildren.
“As for the future, I don't intend to retire completely and hope I can continue to make some contribution to public life in Scotland.
“It is been the greatest privilege to represent the constituency I live in and where I have brought up my family. I want to thank my constituents and friends for their unstinting support over the years. I am proud of what we have achieved together and that I have been able to help many thousands of people. They can be assured that I will continue to represent them and their interests for the next 11 months.
“It is an honour to be the Presiding Officer of the Scottish Parliament. I never thought that when I became an MSP I would end up achieving that office. As the first woman Presiding Officer I hope that I have provided some inspiration to other women to follow in my footsteps.
“To be the Presiding Officer during the Referendum campaign was exciting and challenging and I have never been prouder as the people of Scotland turned out in their millions to have their say on our constitutional future.
“I love being the Presiding Officer and I am proud of the reforms that I have already implemented including the introduction of Topical Questions, the changes to our working week and taking the Parliament out of Edinburgh to towns the length and breadth of Scotland. More needs to be done but I am pleased to have started the debate around elected conveners and what I believe to be essential committee and wider parliamentary reform.
“I will continue to put my energies into the Parliament and my constituency until I step down next year."
Mrs Marwick was elected as Presiding Officer on 11 May 2011.
On account of the current parliamentary session lasting five years (2011-2016) rather than the normal four years, Mrs Marwick is already the longest serving Presiding Officer at Holyrood. She will remain in post until her successor is elected by Parliament in May 2016.