Ettrick, Roxburgh and Berwickshire MSP John Lamont has announced that he will not be standing for the leadership of the Scottish Conservative Party.
Amidst continued speculation in the national press over potential candidates for the role, Mr Lamont said: “Ever since Annabel Goldie announced she would be stepping down, I have been overwhelmed by party colleagues and local people urging me to put my name forward for the leadership of my party in the forthcoming contest.
“I was very pleased to have been re-elected with such a large majority at the recent election in May, increasing my majority to more than 5000.
“However, after a great deal of thought, I have decided that I will not be putting my name forward for the role. Since my election as an MSP in 2007, I have made clear that my first priority is to stand up for my constituents in the Borders and to represent them as effectively as I can.
“The challenges facing our area are greater than ever before, whether it is protecting local health services and vital public transport routes or securing jobs and investment for the region. We need a full time MSP to stand up for local people.”
John Lamont added “With any Ministerial or party leadership role, it undoubtedly takes time away from the work in the constituency and I wasn’t prepared to make that sacrifice.
“My constituency will always come first.”
In 2007 Mr Lamont won the Roxburgh and Berwickshire seat from Liberal Democrat MSP Euan Robson, who had held the seat for eight years,with a 9.4 per cent swing to the Conservatives. In the Scottish Parliament elections in May this year Mr Lamont increased his 10,556 votes to 12,933.
He also stood for the Borders seat at last year’s Wesminster Parliament seat but was beaten by long-standing MP Michael Moore who is now Secretary of State for Scotland.