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My last week as your MP

I announced last year that I would not be seeking re-election and the Prime Minister’s sudden decision to dissolve Parliament means the time has now come. I will cease to be an MP when Parliament is dissolved on Thursday 30 May 2024.

My constituency team will continue to take forward any ongoing casework and if necessary, and with the consent of the constituent, will arrange for cases to be handed over to the new MP for the area. After parliament has been dissolved my team will not be allowed to take on any new casework unless it is urgent.

It has been a privilege beyond description to have served the constituency I first moved to as a young man in 1983. During my 23 years as a Councillor and over 9 years as your MP I’ve been lucky enough to meet and to work with a huge number of truly wonderful and inspirational people. Top of the list must come my constituency office team, Kate, Emily, John and Kim who have put up with me during my entire time as an MP as well as Nicola who joined us more recently, not to mention all the others who have come in on shorter term contracts at various times.

Less obvious to the general public but still vitally important have been the staff of the SNP Group at Westminster who work so tirelessly to support the work of all our SNP MPs.

Thanks also to the many hundreds of people who have given so generously of their time to campaign for me in the 13 elections I’ve contested and to everyone who has ever trusted me with their vote. From day 1 my first duty has always been to represent my constituents to the best of my ability and I’m truly sorry for the times I haven’t delivered on this.

My belief in Independence is even stronger than it was on that day in April 1987 when I phoned a local member called Tricia Marwick and asked to join the SNP. How I wish I had kept that original membership card with her signature on it!

I’m more convinced than ever that the day the Independence movement puts all our disagreements to one side and works together for what we believe in will be the day Independence will become both inevitable and imminent. In fact it’s already clear that the strategy of Labour and the Tories in this election will be to try and divide the Independence vote as much as possible because they realise that a united Yes movement is something they won’t be able to stop.

I can’t finish without saying thank you to Fiona who has been with me through all the highs and lows of this amazing journey. We were first elected to the old Kirkcaldy District Council on the same night in 1992 although I’m never allowed to forget she was declared as a Councillor half an hour before me. She retired in 2022 after 30 years service as a Councillor and 37 years as an NHS doctor but her greatest achievement has been putting up with me for what will, God willing, become 40 years of marriage in early July. I hope she’s looking forward to seeing more of me as much as I’m looking forward to having more time to spend with her.

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