MSP to stand down at 2016 election

Scottish Conservative Highlands and Islands MSP Mary Scanlon has announced she is to stand down at May’s Holyrood election.

The education and lifelong learning spokeswoman and deputy convener of the Public Audit Committee said she was retiring to spend more time with her family.

Mary was elected in 1999, 2003, 2007 and 2011. She spent a year out of Parliament to stand in the Moray by-election, following the death of Margaret Ewing.

Scottish Conservative Mary Scanlon MSP said:

“It was a great honour to be one of the 1999 intakes of MSPs. This was a historic occasion and a great privilege to be part of it.

“I continue to enjoy every moment in the Scottish Parliament and intend to work right up to next year’s election representing the issues facing people in the Highlands and Islands.

“I am proud of my working class background. My father was a farm worker and instilled in us an ethic of hard work. Having left school at 15, I attended evening classes to gain qualifications to get into University as a mature student.

“I deeply believe that if I can be elected as a MSP from my background, having left school at 15, a mature university student, becoming a single parent with two children under three years old, then anyone in Scotland can do the same.

“Watching my granddaughter’s chemotherapy treatment for leukaemia over the last two years brought home the precious time we have with our families as they grow up. Alba is now eight and was diagnosed with leukaemia at six.

“I will miss the cut and thrust of politics and will also miss my colleagues but retirement will allow me the time to see more of my family.”

Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson said:

“Mary has been a fantastic servant to the Parliament and the wider Conservative party.

“She’s a real grafter and a fearless champion of the Highlands and of her beliefs.

“Mary has been a great support to me and I will miss her in Holyrood.

“On behalf of the whole party, I’d like to thank her for her commitment and service.”