Caithness, Sutherland and Ross MSP to stand down as MSP at 2021 election citing demands of travel to Holyrood in Edinburgh and time away from her family
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A NORTH MSP has announced she will not be standing for re-election next year due to the demands of travelling to Edinburgh.
Gail Ross has called for the Scottish Parliament to consider allowing MSPs to vote remotely and use video conferencing.
Ms Ross, SNP MSP for Caithness, Sutherland and Ross, was elected to Holyrood in 2016 with a majority of 3913, after serving on the Highland Council.
She replaced the area's long serving SNP MSP Rob Gibson.
She said: “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. 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.
“I recently asked the Standards, Procedures and Public Appointments Committee to ask if there is any possibility that members could video in to 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.
“It has not been an easy decision to make and I wish to sincerely thank 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.
“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.”
“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.”
Ms Ross, from Wick, was first elected to Highland Council in 2011 in a Wick by-election. She was then elected in the Highland Council election in 2012 and was Caithness Civic Leader until her election to Holyrood in 2016.
In her role as MSP, she was Deputy Convener of the Rural Economy and Connectivity Committee, on the Public Audit Committee, the Equalities and Human Rights Committee and 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.