A RISING star in the SNP has announced he is to quit the Scottish Parliament at next year’s elections.
Marco Biagi, MSP for Edinburgh Central, said he would not seek re-election next May because he wants to pursue an academic career.
Mr Biagi, 32, worked as a researcher for the SNP at the Scottish Parliament before winning the Central seat from Labour in the Nationalists’ 2011 landslide. He was tipped for a bright future. And when Nicola Sturgeon became First Minister last year she appointed him as Minister for Local Government and Community Empowerment.
Announcing his decision to stand down at a meeting of the Edinburgh Central SNP branch, he said he was committed to serving his constituents and the Scottish Government to “the last day, hour and minute of my term”.
He said: “Nothing has given me greater honour than being elected by the people of this constituency to represent them, and also latterly being chosen by the First Minister to serve in her first government.
“Being in Holyrood has given me a chance to push the case of worthy causes, my constituency, and principles I’ve held all my life.
“It will be my honour to serve the people of Edinburgh Central and the Scottish Government up to the last day, hour and minute of my term.
“Success in politics is about team work and as an MSP and a minister I have worked with some truly exceptional colleagues. I will move on confident in the knowledge that Edinburgh Central SNP will be spoiled for choice in finding a new candidate.”
Mr Biagi said he was pleased to have played a part in bringing the Green Investment Bank to Edinburgh, as well as campaigning for increased cycling facilities, action against party flats and more affordable housing in the city centre.
As a Minister he is taking the Community Empowerment Bill through parliament and co-chaired the Commission on Local Tax Reform.
But he said: “Having spent the first ten years of my working life in politics I am keen to return to my earlier ambitions for an academic career.”
Mr Biagi studied international relations at St Andrews and embarked on a doctorate at Oxford, planning to become a lecturer, but then returned to Scotland.
He also has a masters in political communication from Glasgow University.
Now he said he hoped to resume his academic interests.
He made clear there were no political or other disagreements behind his decision to quit.
“I’ve never been happier with how the party is going,” he said. “It’s an amazing time. I could not be more proud of what the Government is doing.”
He said he would still be involved in politics and continue campaigning and did not rule out a return to elected office at some point in the future.