“It's with a heavy heart and a great deal of sadness that I have decided not to seek the Labour nomination for Renfrewshire South. It has been an honour and a privilege to have been a Renfrewshire MSP since 1999, first in Paisley South and then, following boundary changes in 2011, in Renfrewshire South. I didn't join the Labour Party 43 years ago because I wanted elected office. I joined because the Labour Party represented for me the vehicle to achieve a fairer society and a more just world. By next year, I will have been an elected member for 32 years and I believe the time is right to make way for someone with more energy than I can muster.
“I took time over the summer to reflect following Labour's devastating defeat in Scotland in the General Election. That campaign and the Referendum campaign the year before made me realise I could not continue at the pace at which I was going. I have had to accept that I would not be able to work locally to the high standards that I have set myself and the standards which my constituents and local party deserve and expect.
“I hope I have been able to make an effective contribution to public life as a councillor, Council Leader and in the Scottish Parliament, both as a Minister and a Committee Convenor.
“The passion for justice and equality which drew me into politics in the first place still burn fiercely in me and I will continue to be a vocal campaigner. The Scottish Labour Party and the UK Labour Party have a mountain to climb. Kezia Dugdale and Jeremy Corbyn have a window of opportunity to reconnect with those traditional Labour voters who feel we have let them down and they will have my full support. We need to reassert Labour as a party which wants to win seats, not for the sake of it or for someone's career, but because ordinary working people need a political party that will fight for a country based on fairness, justice, opportunity and solidarity.”