JOHN Lamont won’t be entering the race for the leadership of the Scottish Conservatives, the Borders MSP confirmed this week.
Despite being widely tipped to stand after previous leader Annabel Goldie stood down following her party’s poor Scottish election performance in May, Mr Lamont, 35, has said he will not put himself forward.
The Ettrick, Roxburgh and Berwickshire MSP said: “Ever since Annabel Goldie announced she would be stepping down, I have been overwhelmed by party colleagues and local people urging me to put my name forward for the leadership of my party in the forthcoming contest.
“I was very pleased to have been re-elected with such a large margin at the recent election in May, increasing my majority to more than 5,000.
“However, after a great deal of thought, I have decided that I will not be putting my name forward for the role. Since my election as an MSP in 2007, I have made clear that my first priority is to stand up for my constituents in the Borders and to represent them as effectively as I can.”
Mr Lamont said the challenges the Borders face are “greater than ever before”.
He added: “We need a full-time MSP to stand up for local people. With any ministerial or party leadership role, it undoubtedly takes time away from the work in the constituency and I wasn’t prepared to make that sacrifice.
“My constituency will always come first.”
A former lawyer now based in Coldstream, Mr Lamont is the Scottish Tories’ justice spokesman.
However, he made controversial comments in June when he stated that segregating children in Catholic and non-denominational schools in the west of Scotland contributed to sectarian-related behaviour involving football.