Banff and Buchan MSP to stand down in 2021
After twenty years of service as an MSP Stewart Stevenson has announced he won’t be seeking re-election at the 2021 Scottish Parliament election.
Mr Stevenson was first elected to the Banff and Buchan Constituency in 2001 which was later re-boundaried to Banffshire and Buchan Coast.
He served in the Scottish Government as Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Climate Change and Minister for Environment and Climate Change taking through Scotland’s world-leading Climate Change Act in 2009.
The north-east MSP has made over 820 parliamentary speeches, will have attended over 1000 Parliamentary Committee meetings before retirement and held almost 1200 advice surgeries for constituents.
During his time as an MSP he campaigned for a new prison in Peterhead, protecting local jobs; championed the rebuilding of Chalmers Hospital and lobbied for significant investments to be made in Fraserburgh and Peterhead harbours.
Commenting on his announcement Mr Stevenson said: “After joining the SNP in 1961 and being elected in 2001 it has been my honour and privilege to serve the people of Banffshire and Buchan Coast as their MSP for the last twenty years.
"I am incredibly proud over that time to have been a part of many positive changes, both large and small.
“I will miss working with, and for, so many people in the Constituency, but for the year next I shall continue to work hard to represent the people of the north-east and I hope to say a personal thank you to the many people who have been part of my life over the years in both the Constituency and at Holyrood.
“My leaving Parliament does not mean that I shall be leaving politics.
"Until Scotland can make its own decisions as a normal independent country, co-operating with friendly neighbours for moral causes, I shall continue to lend my efforts wherever and whenever I can.”
In a letter to his constituency party members he explained:
By the end of this Parliamentary Session in 2021, I will be in my twentieth year of service for my constituents and will pass my 75th birthday in that year.
No one is indispensable and I know that there is a breadth of talent in the SNP ready to fight for the people of Banffshire and Buchan Coast constituency.
I will therefore not be putting my name forward to contest the Parliamentary elections in 2021.
After joining the Party in 1961 I spent 40 years working for Scotland’s cause as a volunteer and have participated in over forty Parliamentary Elections and by-elections as well as in more local contests than I can count.
But the highlight of my involvement in politics has been my approaching 20 years in Parliament and especially my five years as a Government Minister.
My leaving Parliament does not mean that I shall be leaving politics.
Until Scotland can make its own decisions as a normal independent country, co-operating with friendly neighbours for moral causes, I shall continue to lend my efforts wherever and whenever I can.
I came into the SNP as a volunteer and expect to depart it, and eventually life itself, as one.
In Banff and Buchan Constituency, which became re-boundaried to become Banffshire and Buchan Coast in 2011, I am happy to have been part of many positive changes, large and small.
The community rallied around to keep the £15 plus million that prison jobs contribute annually in Peterhead.
The partners of the prison staff fought in an exemplary fashion and I was happy to play my part.
We saw the Chalmers Hospital rebuilt in Banff and significant investments made in Fraserburgh and Peterhead harbours.
And 50 per cent more people have signed up with NHS dentists in the area.
I have always felt it important to engage with my constituents and have held 1181 surgeries.
My diary has been filled with about twenty-five thousand various entries related to my work as an MSP.
And in Parliament, I have made over 820 speeches so far, and expect to have attended over 1000 Parliamentary Committee meetings before I retire.
As a Minister and MSP, I was responsible for five Parliamentary Acts and for 132 pieces of other legislation.
My taking our world-leading Climate Change Act through Parliament in 2009 I regard as the most important.
I have represented the Scottish Government, and on a number of occasions, the UK Government, in many countries and have met climate activists from across the globe.
I am now down to working between 50 and 60 hours a week.
Others are waiting for a little more of my time.
People in the constituency, with a bare handful of exceptions, have been polite and friendly even when they have disagreed with me, or I with them.
Politicians must be tested by challenge.
And develop reasoned responses that serve a common good.
For the year next I shall continue to work hard to represent the people of Banffshire and Buchan Coast in what can only be described as particularly challenging times.
My annual summer tour of my mobile surgery will enable me to meet many rural constituents again in 2020.
I also plan to visit as many of my constituents as I can who live at the very edge of our large constituency over the summer - significantly stepping up my engagement with the people and issues which confront us.
And to my successor as SNP candidate in 2021 - whoever they may be - you will have my full support.
Thanks to you all for your encouragement and engagement, I have enjoyed working with you.