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By Marc McLean, local democracy reporter
Front
Full steam ahead for MP

THE clock is ticking on Alister Jack’s tenure as a Dumfries and Galloway MP and Scottish Secretary – but he insisted that it’s “full steam ahead” until he steps down.

It was announced several months ago that the Conservative MP will not seek re-election next year, choosing to walk away from the House of Commons.

But, as Scotland’s main figurehead at Westminster, Mr Jack says that he has still has plenty of work to do on projects such as creating more freeports to boost the economy, as well as much-needed improvements to the A75 road.

Asked about his decision to step down and looking towards the Westminster exit door, Mr Jack said: “I’m certainly not counting the days. I’m enjoying the job and I’m still enjoying representing Dumfries and Galloway.

“It’s a great honour and a privilege to do that.

“It’s also a great honour to be Secretary of State for Scotland and, with the goodwill of the Prime Minister, my desire is to carry on doing that job.

“So, I’m not feeling that I’m on the home straight just yet.”

A general election is due to be called next year, and it is believed that PM Rishi Sunak is aiming for this to take place in November.

Mr Jack confirmed that he would not be making a swift move to the House of Lords, saying: “There was the story in the papers about me being offered a peerage, which would require a by-election, and I was very clear I wasn’t doing that.”

Mr Jack was first elected to the House of Commons in 2017, then took up his government role in July 2019, succeeding David Mundell as Scottish Secretary.

And while it was only announced in March this year that he would not be seeking re-election for another term, the decision was made years ago.

MP Jack said: “I said in 2019, at the general election, to my family and my staff in the constituency office that I would do one more term.

“And that was it. I mean, I turned 60 this month. I have other things I want to do with my life.

“I have already done five years in government, four of those years in the cabinet, and I’ve had an extraordinary time in parliament.

“I’ve been through Brexit and covid, the Ukraine War, her Majesty’s death, the Coronation, and four Prime Ministers.

“So, I’ve seen huge change and it’s been an extraordinary time to be involved, but I just think that next year come the general election, it’ll be time to hand the baton to someone else. Until then, it’ll be full steam ahead with work.”

Dumfries and West, Front

17th May

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