8th April 2020
Established 1872. Online since 1996.

‘I’m out’ – Tavish Scott announces he is quitting politics

Long-standing isles MSP Tavish Scott is standing down from his role and quitting politics.

The Liberal Democrat member, who has represented Shetland at Holyrood since the opening of the Scottish parliament in 1999, is taking up a new role as head of external affairs with Scottish Rugby.

He is standing after winning a decisive victory for the Liberal Democrats in the 2016 Scottish parliament elections, securing 7,440 votes and a fifth consecutive term at Holyrood.

Mr Scott was first elected to Shetland Islands Council in 1994 and served as a councillor for Lerwick Harbour and Bressay until 1999.

He was elected as Shetland’s first MSP in 1999, and re-elected in 2003, 2007, 2011 and, lastly, in 2016.

He will formally resign as MSP in July before taking up his new position in August.

Mr Scott said: “Representing the people of Shetland has been my life for 20 years. It has been an enormous privilege and honour to have been Shetland’s MSP since the Scottish Parliament opened in 1999.

“I want to thank people the length and breadth of the islands for their support over the years. The bread and butter of representing people is helping solve problems and making their case to government, organisations and businesses. I have always enjoyed the challenge of serving Shetland and it is the part of the job that I will, without doubt, miss the most.

“There have been many highlights, wonderful moments and intense political drama that I would not have missed for anything. I leave the Liberal Democrats at an exciting time in the party’s development. There have been excellent recent results in the recent European elections, improved poll ratings and there is genuine optimism about the future for the party.

“So on this, the 20th anniversary week of the re-establishment of the Scottish Parliament, it is the right time for me to change direction.

“I am absolutely delighted to be joining Scottish Rugby at this incredibly exciting time for the sport in Scotland and across the world. To have the opportunity to work for Scottish Rugby is a huge challenge and one that I cannot wait to begin. I will miss the cut and thrust of politics and the people I have met and represented for 20 years, but there can be no better new beginning than working for Scottish Rugby.”

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie said: “Tavish Scott has been a loyal servant of the Liberal Democrats and the people of Shetland as a parliamentarian, minister and leader.

“From the day the Scottish Parliament was re-established he has put the people of his constituency first and campaigned fiercely on their behalf.

“As a huge sports fan, this is an enormous opportunity for him. I will miss having him beside me in parliament but wish him all the best in his new role.”

About Ryan Taylor

Ryan Taylor has worked as a reporter since 1995, and has been at The Shetland Times since 2007, covering a wide variety of news topics. Before then he reported for other newspapers in the Highlands, where he was raised, and in Fife, where he began his career with DC Thomson. He also has experience in broadcast journalism with Grampian Television. He has lived in Shetland since 2002, where he harbours an unhealthy interest in old cars and motorbikes.

View other stories by »


  1. James J Paton

    Bye Tavish. And your legacy after 20 years is, er, um…

  2. John M Scott

    Now that the SNP led government has created an £11 billion deficit, and the oil money is starting to run out, perhaps it is a good time to go.


Your Comment

Please note, it is the policy of The Shetland Times to publish comments and letters from named individuals only. Both forename and surname are required.

Comments are moderated. Contributors must observe normal standards of decency and tolerance for the opinions of others.

The views expressed are those of contributors and not of The Shetland Times.

The Shetland Times reserves the right to decline or remove any contribution without notice or stating reason.

Comments are limited to 200 words but please email longer articles or letters to editorial@shetlandtimes.co.uk for consideration and include a daytime telephone number and your address. If emailing information in confidence please put "Not for publication" in both the subject line and at the top of the main message.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.