No Holyrood return for ex-MP Harris
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.”