Popular MSP Margaret Burgess has decided to retire from front-line politics at next year’s Scottish Parliament Election.
Mrs Burgess, MSP for Cunninghame South – Irvine, Kilwinning and Stevenston – broke the news to SNP members at a party meeting last night (June 1).
In addition to representing her local constituents since being elected to the Scottish Parliament in 2011, Margaret is also the Scottish Government Minister for Housing and Welfare.
The SNP veteran explained her decision, “To represent the people of Irvine, Kilwinning and Stevenston, and to serve as a Minister in the Scottish Government, continues to be the honour and privilege of my life.
“However, although it has been a difficult decision - and I have thought long and hard about it - I have concluded that, having worked for 50 years, the end of this parliamentary term in May 2016 will be the right time to retire.”
In the early 1990s Mrs Burgess was leader of the SNP Group on North Ayrshire Council, and she noted, “I have been a member of the SNP for nearly 50 years and I am delighted with the recent successes of the party, both in Central Ayrshire and North Ayrshire & Arran. The surge in local membership of the party shows the SNP is in good heart.”
Margaret told the3towns.today that she was grateful for the opportunity to “work alongside some really exceptional colleagues” during her time in the Scottish Parliament, and she is proud to have been part of an SNP Government that “mitigated the effects of Westminster’s Bedroom Tax; set up the Scottish Welfare Fund with its Crisis Grants and Community Care Grants; and introduced the Council Tax Reduction scheme and Help To Buy.”
Mrs Burgess also spoke of how the SNP Government had provided additional funding for A&E services in NHS Ayrshire & Arran, and had delivered extra money to support local job creation.
Of the decision to announce her retirement, Margaret said, “It is important that party activists know my position and can now move forward to select a new SNP candidate for 2016.
“I am sure they will choose an effective, capable and enthusiastic contender to be the next MSP for Cunninghame South.
“I can certainly pledge my full support for whoever is selected, and I look forward to joining the new candidate on the campaign trail.”
Mrs Burgess emphasised she will continue to serve the people of Irvine, Kilwinning and Stevenston until she stands-down at the Scottish Parliament Election next year.
The SNP are firm favourites to retain the Cunninghame South seat in May 2016. In addition to Margaret Burgess representing the constituency in the Scottish Parliament since 2011, the party swept to success last month in the broadly-equivalent seat of Central Ayrshire at the UK Election, with Philippa Whitford securing a massive majority of 13,589 over Labour’s Brian Donohoe who had been the area’s MP since 1992.