Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Ewan Gurr: ‘Time for a new chapter after 10 years in politics’

Post Thumbnail

I first met Gail Ross shortly after her election in 2016 when Paul Laverty – the screenwriter for Ken Loach’s I, Daniel Blake – and I attended a private screening for MSPs at Holyrood.

During her time in Parliament, she has supported a number of causes dear to my heart, even – admirably – when it has placed her at odds with her own party.

Last year, for instance, she pledged to break the party whip on the universal provision of sanitary items before an SNP U-turn.

Having joined the SNP in 1997, Gail was elected to Highland Council in a by-election in 2011.

She was re-elected in 2012 before standing in 2016 as the MSP for Caithness, Sutherland and Ross, a constituency covering a third of Scotland’s landmass and larger than the whole of Wales.

Such is the level of rurality that her constituency office is more than two hours from her home in Wick and travelling between meetings can take her more than five hours to arrive, excluding the return journey.

When I asked Gail why she is leaving Holyrood after only five years, she said: “I have missed many sports days, parents’ evenings and bedtime stories, and when the time was approaching for me to make a decision concerning whether to stand for reselection I asked my son Max, who is 10 years old, what he thought.

“He asked me, if I were not to stand again, would that mean I would be able to spend more time at home?

“When I said ‘Yes’ he replied: ‘Then I don’t want you to do it.’”

Gail stated that Parliament only becomes more family-friendly the closer you live to it but believes change is needed.

She said: “I wrote to the standards committee and asked if they planned to make use of video conferencing and remote voting, and Jenny Marra and I worked together on proxy voting.

 width=
Jenny Marra MSP.

“They indicated they were not considering it because of security reasons.

“Then we have a health crisis and, lo and behold, it becomes standard practice.”

I asked Gail if she has any regrets.

She said: “I wish I had the courage of my convictions to support increasing the minimum age at which a child can become a criminal to 14 years of age rather than remaining at 12.”

She added: “I was persuaded by government colleagues that not enough work had been done but the European Court of Human Rights highlighted other European nations which had made the change and I felt it was right.

“I went with my head rather than my heart and regret doing so.”


Read more from Ewan Gurr here

Gail believes the forthcoming session will be the most important yet and offers the chance to establish a mandate for independence.

She concluded by saying: “I will miss it but I have given 10 years to elected politics and it’s time for a new chapter for me.”

Our loss is Max’s gain.

Already a subscriber? Sign in

[[title]]

[[text]]

This article originally appeared on the Evening Telegraph website. For more information, read about our new combined website.