A HIGHLAND MSP who once fought the Moray seat in a UK Parliament by-election has decided to stand down at May’s Scottish Government elections.
Mary Scanlon fought the Moray seat for the Conservative Party after the death of Margaret Ewing and has represented the Highlands and Islands constituency at Holyrood since 1999.
A popular parliamentarian in Moray, she was particularly supportive of the grass-roots campaign to save RAF Lossiemouth from closure.
She also actively campaigned at Holyrood against the establishment of a windfarm at Brown Muir near Rothes, meeting with campaigners and carrying their opposition of the plan to the Scottish Parliament. Most recently she lodged a motion at the Scottish Parliament congratulating Morayvia in their success in bringing a former SAR Sea King back to the region.
Equally, however, she was supportive of some unpopular plans – most notably when Moray Council’s Tory/Independent administration decided to close seven of its 15 Library branches, a plan that was subsequently moderated against threatened legal action by campaigners.
Announcing her decision to stand down she said: “It was a great honour to be one of the 1999 intake 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.”
Amongst those names that are likely to be touted as a possible replacement at Holyrood is Moray councillor Douglas Ross, who increased the Tory vote at the recent UK General Election.