McConnell quits Holyrood to ‘Lord it Up’ in London

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Labour’s former First Minister Jack McConnell has announced that he intends to stand down as an MSP next year in order to concentrate on The House of Lords.

The announcement by the Labour MSP for Motherwell and Wishaw brings to four the total number of senior Labour MSPs who have decided to abandon Holyrood in favour of London.


Labour’s former First Minister Jack McConnell has announced that he intends to stand down as an MSP next year in order to concentrate on The House of Lords.

The announcement by the Labour MSP for Motherwell and Wishaw brings to four the total number of senior Labour MSPs who have decided to abandon Holyrood in favour of London.

Mr McConnell joins Margaret Curran and Cathie Jamieson, who are both currently dividing their time between Holyrood and Westminster, in deciding not to stand for re-election for Holyrood in 2011.  Colleague George Foulkes, who is also a member of the unelected House of Lords, recently announced that he too would be standing down from Holyrood in order to focus on Westminster’s second chamber.

Mr McConnell was handed the membership of the exclusive club, where members can claim tens of thousands of pounds in tax free expenses, by outgoing PM Gordon Brown and joins a number of other Scottish Labour poiticians who were similarly rewarded.

The Labour MSP though faced criticism after he declared that he intended to stay on as a Holyrood MSP and divide his time between London and Edinburgh.  The decision to stand down will be seen by many as a ‘U’ turn.

McConnell had originally been expected to take up a role as the UK’s High Commissioner in Malawi, however the role never materialised as Labour came under increasing pressure from the SNP and the party avoided a by-election with the former First Minister remaining a Holyrood backbencher.  The Motherwell and Wishaw MSP was instead appointed the Prime Minister’s special representative for peace-building.

Mr McConnell said:
“I will promote the vision of a modern multi-national and multi-cultural United Kingdom, and speak up for devolution and diversity in the House of Lords.”

“I do not see this as end of part one, more as the start of part two.”