Sir Malcolm Bruce, speaking exclusively to the local newspaper in his Gordon constituency, has announced that he will be stepping down as MP for he seat he has represented for 30 years at the next General Election.
He told the Press and Journal:
I’d rather go when I’m fit, active, effective and, I hope, still enjoying it.
I think I’m going to feel quite liberated but I want people to know that I’m not retiring right now, I’m just announcing that I’m not going to stand at the next election. I’ll be as busy as ever until then.
The Scottish Party will be sad to lose one of its liberal giants. We covered his 30th anniversary dinner earlier this Summer where he talked about some of the key moments of his time as MP. He didn’t choose the glamorous occasions when he’s met the rich and famous, but about helping people in a really rough Winter, and advocating on behalf of a constituent held on drugs offences in Thailand.
Whether it’s been on international development, help for deaf people (his current Private Members Bill on improving communications for deaf people has its ssecond reading on 25 October), or as Treasury spokesman when he came up with the idea of a penny on income tax for education, Malcolm’s record of achievement over 30 years is impressive. There’s no denying that he’ll be a huge loss to the Liberal Democrats in the House of Commons.
Speaking on his decision to stand down, he said:
It will be strange not being a candidate for the first time in over 40 years but I believe it is right to stand down when I am still enjoying what I do and have energy for other things. I have spent ten years away from home in my time as an MP and, having a young family, I hope I can give them more time and attention.
I joined the Liberal Party as a student because I did not believe that other parties championed Liberal values which represent the greatest political philosophy Britain,and especially Scotland, have given to the world.
I am pleased to have played a part in delivering a Scottish Parliament. When I joined the party we had six MPs and a small national vote. It pleases me to have been part of a process that has seen the party grow to a truly national movement and a party of Government delivering policies I helped develop.
This Parliament has been tough. Being in Government doesn’t always make you popular. But we are a serious party. We have accepted responsibility to try and turn the economy round. We have cut taxes and boosted pensions. We have delivered more powers to Scotland.
I believe people can see the difficult decisions we have taken are beginning to have a positive effect and I am confident that the party can do well at the next election. I look forward to working with my successor as Liberal Democrat candidate and ensuring that we return a hard working Liberal Democrat MP for the benefit of the people of Gordon.
Willie Rennie paid tribute to his work as an MP and his encouragement and support of others:
Sir Malcolm has represented his constituents in Gordon and the Scottish Liberal Democrats with distinction over the past 30 years. He has made a substantial contribution to Scottish and British politics over this period, not least as chair of the international development select committee.
As a young Liberal Democrat I had the pleasure of working with Malcolm while he was leader of our party in Scotland. Despite being hugely busy he always found time to sit and talk, offer advice and tell us about his own experiences in the House of Commons. This was a pattern repeated after I became an MP, when he took the time to answer my questions.
Malcolm has been a stalwart of our party over the past 30 years. He has worked tirelessly for his constituents since first elected I am certain he will continue to do so until his last day in office.
* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings