Mhairi Black to step down as SNP MP at next election and takes swipe at 'toxic' Westminster

4 July 2023, 14:24 | Updated: 4 July 2023, 14:39

The SNP's deputy Westminster leader Mhairi Black is standing down at the next election
The SNP's deputy Westminster leader Mhairi Black is standing down at the next election. Picture: Global

By Asher McShane

The SNP's deputy Westminster leader Mhairi Black has said she will step down at the next general election.

Speaking to The News Agents podcast, the Paisley and Renfrewshire South MP said Westminster is "one of the most unhealthy workplaces that you could ever be in. It's a toxic environment".

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Explaining her decision to quit, she said: "Honestly, because I'm tired, is a big part of it. And the thing that makes me tired is Westminster.

"I think it is one of the most unhealthy workplaces that you could ever be in. It's a toxic environment. Just the entire design of the place and how it functions is just the opposite of everything that I find comfortable."

"It's definitely a poisonous place. Whether that's because of what folk can get away with in it or the number of personal motivations and folk having ulterior motives for things, and it's just not a nice place to be in."

Asked if that means she cannot trust her colleagues, she said: "No, of course, I work very closely with colleagues. But I suppose I'm talking more about how it's difficult to know if somebody is, certainly from other parties, is talking to you, because there's a genuine relationship there, or whether they're looking for opportunities, so you can never really switch off when you're in Westminster.

"And also, given the unsociable hours that Westminster works as well, it feels like you're spending a lot of your life there. And in the run up to the next election, I've realized, that will be almost 10 years that I'll have been elected. So, a third of my life I've spent in Westminster, which gives me the ick."

Former first minister Nicola Sturgeon said she was "gutted" by the decision of Ms Black to step down, but hoped she would stand for a seat at Holyrood in the future.

Speaking on Twitter after the announcement, Ms Sturgeon said: "Both gutted by and entirely understanding of this. "Her reasons resonate.

"But what a loss of a unique talent, not just to @theSNP but to politics generally.

"I only hope it's temporary. The world needs more Mhairi Blacks in politics, not fewer.

"I hope we will see her in @ScotParl in future."

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