SNP MSP Maureen Watt has announced she will not be seeking re-election at next year’s Holyrood elections.
The Aberdeen South and North Kincardine MSP is the latest SNP politician to announce she is standing down from Holyrood.
The 69-year-old, who informed her constituency association of her decision last night, said as she will be nearly 75 by the end of the next term, the “time is right for another woman” to take on the role.
Ms Watt, who is the daughter of former SNP MP Hamish Watt and mother of former SNP MP Stuart Donaldson, said: “I love my job. Since spring 2006 it has been a huge privilege and a joy to represent the people in north-east Scotland and subsequently those in the constituency of Aberdeen South and North Kincardine.
“However, after months of deliberation and 15 years as MSP I have decided not to seek re-election next year.”
Name: Maureen Watt
School: Keith Grammar School (1962-1968)
Family: Married to husband Bruce. Has a daughter, Kirsty, and a son, Stuart. Daughter of former SNP MP Hamish Watt, who represented Banffshire from 1974 to 1979.
University: Studied Politics at Strathclyde University (1968-1972). Went on to gain a Postgraduate Certificate in Education from Birmingham University (1973-1974).
Career history: Social studies teacher at a comprehensive school in Reading, Berkshire from 1977-1991. Personal assistant for the personnel manager at oil and gas services firm KCA Deutag.
Parliamentary career: Stood as a candidate in the 2003 Scottish Parliament election but was not elected. Sworn in as an MSP on April 19, 2006, after Richard Lochhead resigned his seat to contest the Moray by-election. Was appointed as the Minister for Schools and Skills, following the SNP’s victory at the 2007 Scottish Parliament election. Re-elected in 2011 and later appointed Minister of Public Health in November 2014. Was moved to the post of Minister for Mental Health in May 2016, which she held until June 2018.
The SNP politician, who became the first MSP to swear their oath of allegiance in Doric when first elected to the Scottish Parliament in 2006, said in a previous role as Minister for Schools and Skills, she was able to “embed the use of Gaelic, Scots and Doric in Curriculum for Excellence, ensuring the culture and history carried in our native languages is passed on to future generations”.
She added: “As Minister for Public Health, among other achievements, I set up Food Standards Scotland with its headquarters in Aberdeen and launched the Out of Hospital Cardiac Arrest strategy which has seen half a million Scots trained in CPR, thus saving many more lives.
“Lastly, as the first ever dedicated Minister for Mental Health, I introduced a 10-year mental health plan securing parity of esteem between physical and mental health.
“For me, the most rewarding part of holding elected office has always been helping constituents and assisting the communities I serve to make their surroundings better places to live and work.”
Ms Watt said: “I joined the SNP in 1974, when persuading the people of Scotland of the merits of independence for our country was hard graft.
“The prospect of elected office, never mind an SNP government in a devolved Scotland, was a distant dream. Through responsible governance and bold leadership, we are now on the brink of independence.
“Although I will continue to campaign with all my vigour, it will be for others in an elected capacity to take us there.
Through responsible governance and bold leadership, we are now on the brink of independence.”
Maureen Watt, SNP MSP
“I am also hugely grateful to my husband, Bruce, and children, Stuart and Kirsty, for the unstinting support. I will continue in these last few months to work as hard as ever in the constituency and parliament.
“I will miss my job and colleagues.”