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Jack McConnell to quit parliament

Former first minister Jack McConnell has announced he will leave the Scottish Parliament at the next election.

The Motherwell and Wishaw MSP - now known as Lord McConnell of Glenscorrodale - said the decision marks the beginning of "part two" as he looks forward to "new challenges".

The ex-Labour leader is the longest-serving first minister since devolution in 1999 and helped bring about the smoking ban during his term in office.

In a statement, he said: "I will be forever grateful to the many people locally and nationally who have helped me in the causes I have promoted and the decisions I have made.

"Together we have made Scotland, and the constituency, better than they were on my election in 1999.

"I have been an elected representative for most of the last 30 years and it is time to move on.

"I have been involved in national Scottish politics, including the creation of the Scottish Parliament and serving in Government, for most of those 30 years, and it is time for others to take Scotland forward now."

Mr McConnell, an MSP since 1999, led the Labour-Liberal Democrat Scottish Executive from 2001 to 2007. Previous ministerial duties included finance, education, Europe and external affairs.

He was instrumental in forging links between Scotland and Malawi, in Africa, and became the Prime Minister's special representative for peace-building in 2008.

In his website statement, he described his hopes for devolution and his efforts to improve areas of health and the economy. He is looking forward to "new challenges" such as post-conflict reconstruction and the partnership with Malawi.

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