Tory MSP Gavin Brown to quit at next election

Gavin Brown. Picture: Ian Georgeson

Gavin Brown. Picture: Ian Georgeson

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LOTHIANS Tory MSP Gavin Brown has announced he is to quit the Scottish Parliament at next year’s election.

After eight years at Holyrood, the party’s finance spokesman said he wanted “a fresh challenge”.

He said it had been a privilege to represent the Lothians and promised to carry on doing so till “the last second” of his term of office.

But he said he had decided not to seek re-election next May and to give up his finance role immediately.

He said: “I’ve thought long and hard about it. By next year I’ll have done nine years and you have to ask yourself ‘Do you want to do this forever or try some other things?’ Talking it through with other people, I decided now was the time to do it.”

Mr Brown was first elected as an MSP on the Lothian list in 2007 and re-elected at the last elections in 2011.

He served as economy and tourism spokesman for four years and then finance spokesman for the past four years.

It meant he found himself at the heart of many of the major developments, including the financial crash in 2008 and later the cross-party proposals for more powers for Holyrood, not to mention the debate about Scotland’s future finances at the time of the independence referendum and then the Smith proposals for further devolution which followed.

He also took the lead in the Scottish Conservatives’ response to the annual Budgets both from the Scottish and UK governments.

“Finance has been front and centre quite a lot of the time,” he said. “It has been exciting, but also involved quite a lot of late nights.”

He said he had not decided what he would do once he had stepped down. “I’m clear in my mind I want to do something different. I was a lawyer when I started out, I ran a business for a bit, so I’m going to think carefully.”

He is the fourth MSP from the area to announce his departure at next year’s election. Labour’s Malcolm Chisholm is standing down in Edinburgh Northern & Leith; SNP MSPs Marco Biagi (Edinburgh Central) and Kenny MacAskill (Edinburgh Eastern) are also going.

Mr Brown said: “Being elected to represent the people of Lothian was an enormous privilege. It has been an honour. I will continue to do everything I can for my constituents until the very last second in office. I would like to thank all my constituents, colleagues and staff for their support over the years.”

He said he was quitting as finance spokesman with immediate effect because it was a pivotal role which should be held by someone who intended to stand at the next election.