Tributes as former Scottish Conservative leader announces she will stand down

25 Jun 2015

Former Scottish Conservative leader Annabel Goldie has announced she is to stand down as an MSP in 2016.

Following her elevation to her peerage two years ago, Baroness Goldie will devote her time to her duties in the House of Lords.

It will bring to a close a 17-year period at the Scottish Parliament during which time she served as leader of the Scottish Conservatives between 2005 and 2011.

Prime Minister David Cameron today leads the tributes to Baroness Goldie, describing her as a “tower of strength” to the party in Scotland.

Baroness Goldie said:

“It has been an immense privilege to have been an MSP during these first formative years of the Scottish Parliament.

“Since 1999 there have been significant developments translating the spirit of devolution into substantive Scottish achievements.

“It has afforded me both satisfaction and pleasure to serve my constituents and to serve the parliament and I will look back with great happiness at my time as an MSP.

“I am grateful to friends and colleagues from all parties for their support. Sometimes we found common ground, sometimes we disagreed but never I hope with rancour nor disrespect.

“Politics is a rough trade but we have built a strong parliament in Scotland of which we can all be rightly proud.

“Leading my party was an enormous honour and, under Ruth Davidson, I now believe the Scottish Conservative party is in fine fettle and stands a great chance of making real progress in the years ahead.

“I look forward to continuing to work as part of that effort in the House of Lords in the years to come.”

Prime Minister David Cameron said:

“Annabel is one of those rare breeds in Scottish politics, somebody known by her first name alone.

“When she was Scottish Conservative leader, I valued her sage advice.

“She has been a towering strength to our party in Scotland, a doughty debater in the TV studios and Scottish Parliament and has one of the sharpest wits around.

“I wish her a long and happy retirement after 17 years unstinting service at Holyrood – but look forward to seeing her on the red benches of the Lords for years to come.”

Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson said:

“Annabel has served the Scottish Conservatives for more than two decades as vice chairman and chairman of the party, as an MSP, deputy leader and as leader.

“She has been an inspiration to a whole generation of Scottish Conservatives, and she has been a tremendous mentor, support and friend to me.

“In Holyrood, she has fostered both affection and respect from all members – regardless of their political affiliation – and her retirement from the Scottish Parliament will leave an Annabel-sized hole which won’t ever quite be filled. She is unique.

“Despite stepping down as an MSP, Annabel will continue to serve through her role in the House of Lords.

“She is an unstoppable force.”

Notes to editors:
Annabel Goldie was born in Glasgow and was educated at Kilmacolm Primary School and Greenock Academy, she went on to study law at the University of Strathclyde, graduating in 1971 with a Bachelor of Laws.
From 1978 to 2006 she was a solicitor and partner with Glasgow law firm Donaldson, Alexander, Russell & Haddow.
She was elected as a West of Scotland MSP in 1999 and has held that position ever since.
She was leader of the Scottish Conservatives between 2005 to 2011.
A staunch defendant of the Union she played a lead role in the 2014 Scottish referendum, sitting on the advisory board to the Smith Commission and serving as the party’s constitutional spokeswoman.
She is also an Elder for the Church of Scotland and sits on the West of Scotland Advisory Board of the Salvation Army.