23rd August 2020

Environment SNP minister Roseanna Cunningham to stand down as MSP

Environment SNP minister Roseanna Cunningham to stand down as MSP

Environment

environment Roseanna CunninghamImage copyright
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Roseanna Cunningham has been an MP and then an MSP since 1995

Scotland’s environment secretary Roseanna Cunningham has announced she is to stand down as an MSP at the next Holyrood election.

The SNP minister said she had taken the decision after “some hard thinking” but would continue “to fight for independence”.

She pointed out that next year’s Scottish Parliament election would be two months before her 70th birthday.

Ms Cunningham has been an MP and then an MSP in Perth and Kinross since 1995.

The former solicitor has held three different cabinet positions – covering the environment, fair work and community safety portfolios.

She was SNP deputy leader between 2000 and 2004, and ran against Alex Salmond when he was elected party leader that year.

Ms Cunningham said in a statement it had been a “massive honour” to represent her constituents at both Westminster and Holyrood.

Environment ‘Hugely grateful’

“I have always been hugely grateful to all who have put their faith in me,” she said.

“After a quarter of a century as an elected politician, and with another election fast approaching, I have had to do some hard thinking.

“By the time of the next election I will be less than two months away from my 70th birthday and, further, by the end of that parliamentary term I would be nearly 75. This year, of all years, has made age a rather more relevant factor than it may otherwise have been.

“I have, accordingly, taken the very difficult decision to inform my local constituency association that I will not be seeking nomination as an SNP candidate for the 2021 Scottish Parliament elections.”

Image copyright
Getty Images

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First Minister Nicola Sturgeon appointed Ms Cunningham to her cabinet as environment secretary in 2016

Ms Cunningham is the third leading figure in the SNP to announce they will step down as an MSP.

Michael Russell, who represents Argyll and Bute, confirmed in March that he would not stand in the Holyrood election next year.

Mr Russell, who will be 67 in August, said it may be time for someone younger to represent the constituency.

It has also been announced that Stewart Stevenson, who represents Banffshire and Buchan Coast for the SNP, will leave parliament at the election.

He is 74 and has been an SNP activist since 1961.

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