An island by-election as Tavish Scott steps down for job at Scottish Rugby

Former Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Tavish Scott has announced that he is leaving the Scottish Parliament to take up a job as head of External Affairs with Scottish Rugby.  He’s one of a handful of MSPs remaining who were first elected in 1999. Anyone want to have a go at naming the rest?

Tavish led the Scottish Party from 2008-2011 and had three ministerial posts in the Labour/Liberal Democrat coalitions. In 2001, he resigned as a Minister for Parliament after refusing to support the Executive in a vote on fishing because of the impact on his constituents.

He came back into Government in 2003 and served as Deputy Minister for Finance, entering the Cabinet as Minister for Transport after Jim Wallace’s resignation as Deputy First Minister in 2005.

Tavish said:

Representing the people of Shetland has been my life for 20 years. It has been an enormous privilege and honour to have been Shetland’s MSP since the Scottish Parliament opened in 1999.

I want to thank people the length and breadth of the islands for their support over the years. The bread and butter of representing people is helping solve problems and making their case to government, organisations and businesses. I have always enjoyed the challenge of serving Shetland and it is the part of the job that I will, without doubt, miss the most.

There have been many highlights, wonderful moments and intense political drama that I would not have missed for anything. I leave the Liberal Democrats at an exciting time in the party’s development. There have been excellent recent results in the recent European elections, improved poll ratings and there is genuine optimism about the future for the party.

So on this, the 20th anniversary week of the re-establishment of the Scottish Parliament, it is the right time for me to change direction.

I am absolutely delighted to be joining Scottish Rugby at this incredibly exciting time for the sport in Scotland and across the world.  To have the opportunity to work for Scottish Rugby is a huge challenge and one that I cannot wait to begin. I will miss the cut and thrust of politics and the people I have met and represented for 20 years, but there can be no better new beginning than working for Scottish Rugby.

Willie Rennie paid tribute to his decades of service:

Tavish Scott has been a loyal servant of the Liberal Democrats and the people of Shetland as a parliamentarian, minister and leader.

From the day the Scottish Parliament was re-established he has put the people of his constituency first and campaigned fiercely on their behalf.

As a huge sports fan, this is an enormous opportunity for him. I will miss having him beside me in parliament but wish him all the best in his new role.

You know when you organise your holidays in August because you think there won’t be any elections? Well it looks like this by-election will be taking place at the end of August/beginning of September.

It’s another opportunity for Lib Dems to visit an amazingly beautiful part of the country. Paul Walter is currently in Brecon and Radnorshire. I wonder if we can persuade him to go north….

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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2 Comments

  • David Evans 27th Jun '19 - 2:42pm

    Good luck Tavish in your new role.

  • Yep. All the best Tavish and thanks for everything. You’ve been part of the backbone of the Scottish party, not just for the 20 years as MSP but also before that, as Scottish party press officer and assistant to Jim Wallace and then as Shetland councillor and LD group leader there prior to being elected MSP. That’s a lot of years of great service and you deserve this excellent chance now to do something else.
    And Caron the other 4 MSPs who still hold the constituencies they won in 1999 (without a break) are Ken McIntosh, Roseanna Cunningham, Jackie Baillie and John Swinney. 🙂

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