Jamie Stone, Scottish Liberal Democrat MSP for Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross, has announced that he will step down from the Scottish Parliament at the next Scottish election.
Mr Stone is stepping down 25 years of public service to pursue new avenues.
Jamie is the second Highland Liberal Democrats MSP to announce he is standing down.
John Farquar-Munro MSP is also standing down and Alan MacRae has been selected to replace John and fight the seat at next years election.
Following his announcement, Jamie Stone said:
"After serving in the Scottish Parliament for almost 12 years, and as a local councillor for 13 years before that, I have decided it is time to pursue new avenues. I will leave my Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross seat with an increased majority at my last election and wish my successor the best of luck as they represent an area that I have come to love very deeply.
"I have found my years of public service hugely rewarding and have made friendships that I am certain will last for many years to come. However there are some new challenges that I would like to tackle while I am in my mid fifties and fit and well.
"My support for my party remains undiminished and I will continue to be closely involved in it. Equally the commitment to the Far North remains and in future years I would very much hope to be able to help the area in every way I can. I do not rule out political work at some stage in the future, but for now I want to take the opportunity to do something completely different.
"In standing down next May, one thing remains, and I treasure it – to have been the first Member for nearly 300 years to represent the Far North in the Scottish Parliament has been the honour of my life."
Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Tavish Scott MSP paid tribute to Jamie:
"Jamie Stone is a great friend and Parliamentary colleague. We shared a passion for Scotland's Parliament since representing our respective local authorities on the Scottish Constitutional Convention in the 1990's. Then we both hoped to be part of the start of Scotland's new Parliament. Since that fist day after election in 1999 many a moment has been enlivened by a Jamie Stone story or sharp political observation, often at the expense of his own side!
"Jamie's work ensured that Parliament was no creature of the central belt and truly reflected all of Scotland. From Wick's maternity services to the Berridale Braes and the A9, Jamie has put the people of the Far North first. I will miss his cheerfulness, candour and dedication to his constituents and wish him and Flora best wishes for their future endeavours."
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