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Alex Neil has been the constituency MSP for Airdrie and Shotts since 2011

Former SNP minister Alex Neil is the latest senior party figure to announce he will stand down as an MSP at next year’s Holyrood election.

The 69-year-old has been an MSP for 21 years and is a former cabinet secretary for social justice.

He has been the constituency MSP for Airdrie and Shotts since 2011.

His announcement comes a day after Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham confirmed she would not stand for re-election next year.

Michael Russell, who represents Argyll and Bute, and Stewart Stevenson, the MSP for Banffshire and Buchan Coast, have previously said they will also leave parliament at the election.

Announcing his retirement on social media, Mr Neil said he was “tempted” to stand again but wanted to spend more time with his family.

New hospital site

He said: “The people in this constituency are great, despite the many challenges we face. I was tempted to stand again as I love my constituency.

“After much soul searching, I have decided that to commit to another five years as an MSP would mean not having the time to pursue all the other things in life I want to do.

“I have another eight months to serve out my term. My priorities during that time will be to help tackle the fall-out from the Coronavirus pandemic in my constituency and to ensure that the new Monklands Hospital will be located in one of the two shortlisted sites in Airdrie and not at Gartcosh.

“More generally, I will continue to work full-time for my constituents up until I cease being their MSP at the end of March 2021.”

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