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Highlands and Islands Greens politician to retire

By Scott Maclennan

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John Finnie.
John Finnie.

One of the longest serving and most passionate of all Highland politicians has announced that he will retire at the end of his current term.

Highlands and Islands Greens MSP John Finnie said he will leave parliament at the next election in order to “let others bring their energy and ideas to what is a demanding job”.

The Scottish Greens have already started the process of selecting a candidate for the election in 2021.

Mr Finnie was first elected to represent the Highlands and Islands in 2011 and subsequently re-elected in 2016.

Originally from the tiny hamlet of Clunes, he first joined the SNP aged 16 years old while still a pupil at Lochaber High School. He joined Lothian and Borders Police before returning to the Highlands with Northern Constabulary.

From there, Mr Finnie entered politics becoming a Highland councillor in 2007 and four years later was elected to the Scottish Parliament as a regional MSP.

He resigned from the SNP in 2012 over its support for an independent Scotland remaining in Nato but remained in parliament as an independent until he joined the Greens in 2014.

Throughout his career he was a dedicated campaigner.

Most recently he introduced a Private Member's Bill that is seeking equal protection from assault for children by prohibiting their physical punishment by parents and others in charge of them.

Mr Finnie (62) said: “It is an honour to serve the Highlands and Islands in the Scottish Parliament and I intend continuing to work hard until my last day in office.

“I’ve been involved in representative politics since being elected a Highland councillor in 2007 and enjoyed helping people, but I feel the time is right to step aside and let others bring their energy and ideas to what is a demanding job.

“Throughout my time in parliament, I’ve put my home region of the Highlands and Islands and my constituents at the forefront of my work.

“Driven by my interest in social and environmental justice, I have been pleased to secure a number of concessions and legislative changes to improve the lives of people in the region.

“At this time, I’m focused on working with others to secure the passage of my Member’s Bill giving children equal protection from assault and hope to see it become law in the near future.

“The climate emergency our planet is facing means that, more than ever, Green policies are required. I know there are others who can ensure they are promoted, and delivered, for my home, the Highlands and Islands of Scotland.

“Meanwhile, I look forward to having more time to spend with my family.”

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