No Holy­rood re­turn for ex-MP Har­ris

Rutherglen Reformer - - Election Reaction - Kenny Smith

De­feated Glas­gow South MP Tom Har­ris has re­vealed that he will not be stand­ing for the Scot­tish Par­lia­ment next year.

Tom, who was first elected to Par­lia­ment in 2001 for the old Glas­gow Cath­cart seat with a ma­jor­ity of 10,816, had held Glas­gow South since it was cre­ated in 2005, but was beaten into sec­ond place last week by the SNP’s Ste­wart McDon­ald.

The King’s Park res­i­dent, who served as Par­lia­men­tary Un­der-Sec­re­tary of State for Trans­port in Tony Blair’s Gov­ern­ment, was mag­nan­i­mous in de­feat.

He said:“I send my gen­uine con­grat­u­la­tions to Ste­wart McDon­ald who fought a very good cam­paign, with­out any per­sonal an­i­mos­ity or per­sonal at­tacks.

“I loved be­ing an MP, and I hope Ste­wart en­joys it as much as I did, and I am sure he will be a dili­gent ser­vant to the con­stituency.

“Rep­re­sent­ing Glas­gow Cath­cart, and then Glas­gow South, at West­min­ster has been the great­est priv­i­lege of my po­lit­i­cal life.

“It sounds like a cliché, yet it’s true that be­ing an MP is an in­cred­i­ble hon­our.

“In the last 14 years I’ve been given op­por­tu­ni­ties that few oth­ers get, not only to meet amaz­ing peo­ple in the con­stituency and be­yond, but also to help them. I sus­pect I will never again ex­pe­ri­ence any­thing quite as ful­fill­ing as be­ing able to in­ter­vene on be­half of a con­stituent and to suc­ceed in chang­ing their life for the bet­ter.”

The Re­former asked Tom if he would con­sider run­ning for the Scot­tish Par­lia­ment next year, but he em­phat­i­cally re­sponded: “Def­i­nitely not. I can rule that out right now - I will not be run­ning for elected of­fice again.”

Tom had no idea why the Labour vote col­lapsed across Scot­land.

He said:“I’ve no an­swers - I just lost a 12,000 ma­jor­ity so I’m not the best per­son to pon­tif­i­cate on how to win elec­tions.

“I am heart-bro­ken for my party at both UK and Scot­tish level. I can of­fer no par­tic­u­larly valu­able in­sights as to the way for­ward for ei­ther of them – I will leave that to oth­ers.

“I don’t know where Scot­tish Labout goes from heres - that are oth­ers who will be able to of­fer in­sights.

“Let me just say one thing by way of an at­tempt at po­lit­i­cal anal­y­sis: it’s - prob­a­bly cor­rectly - as­sumed that Scot­tish Labour has paid the price for its sup­port for the No cam­paign in last year’s ref­er­en­dum.

“If that is in­deed the case, then I have to con­clude that it was a price that had to be paid. I and many Scot­tish Labour col­leagues lost our jobs, and that’s to be re­gret­ted. But if we had lost the ref­er­en­dum, we would have lost our coun­try, and that would have been far, far worse.”

Hav­ing spent the ma­jor­ity of his work­ing week in Lon­don, the plus side for Tom is that he will get the chance to spent more time with his wife Carolyn and his young sons.

He con­cluded:“The fam­ily will like hav­ing me around a bit more, I’m sure.

“Now, I’ll just be wind­ing down the of­fice, but I’m still rel­a­tively shell­shocked. I’m rel­a­tively op­ti­mistic about the fu­ture on my own part, though.

“I’m just dev­as­tated for my coun­try, hav­ing an­other five years of Tory Gov­ern­ment.”

Bow­ing out

Tom Har­ris

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