12th March 2020

Technology SNP’s Gail Ross to stand down as an MSP at next election

Technology SNP’s Gail Ross to stand down as an MSP at next election

Technology

Technology Gail RossImage copyright
SNP

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Gail Ross was a Highland councillor before seeking election to Holyrood in 2016

Caithness, Sutherland and Ross MSP Gail Ross is not to seek re-election, saying she wants to watch her son grow up

The SNP MSP said she had taken the decision because of the demands of travelling to Edinburgh and being away from her family every week.

Ms Ross said it was also hard to regularly visit every part of the area she represents due its “sheer size”.

She said MSPs facing similar challenges should be offered the chance to use technology for meetings and voting.

The MSP, whose home is more than 250 miles (402km) from Edinburgh where she travels to for Scottish Parliament business, said her decision to stand down at the next election had not been an easy one.

She said it was due to the demands of being away from home for “sometimes five days a week, every week”.

Ms Ross 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.

“The sheer size of the area I represent also means that I am having 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.”

Ms Ross recently asked Holyrood’s Standards, Procedures and Public Appointments Committee if there was any possibility MSPs could use video conferencing technology for meetings and votes.

She said: “If we are to encourage into politics more young people with families who live far away from Edinburgh, this has to be considered.”

Finance Secretary Kate Forbes, SNP MSP for Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch, has tweeted her support for Ms Ross.

She said: “We were elected on the same (bitterly cold) May morning. Her constituency is vast, the weekly travel is exhausting and the toll on family life is undeniable.

“Wishing her all the best.”

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Gail Ross

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Ms Ross says technology could help MSPs facing similar issues as she has

Highlands and Islands Scottish Green MSP John Finnie, who is also not seeking re-election, said he was “sad to see that my friend and colleague is not planning to stand again”.

He tweeted: “Gail has, and will continue to be until her last day as a MSP, an outstanding advocate for and campaigner on behalf of her constituents.”

SNP MSPs Bruce Crawford in Stirling, James Dornan in Glasgow Cathcart and Richard Lyle in Uddingston and Bellshill are also standing down at the next election.

Ms Ross was elected to the Scottish Parliament in 2016.

She held Caithness, Sutherland and Ross for the SNP with a majority of 3,913. She stood for the seat following the retirement of Rob Gibson.

Ms Ross was a Highland councillor before she was elected to Holyrood.

She was elected to Highland Council in 2011 in a Wick by-election. She was then elected in the Highland Council election in 2012 and was appointed Caithness’ civic leader.

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