Former Scottish Government minister Bruce Crawford has announced he is quitting Holyrood at next year’s elections.
Mr Crawford, 65, who has been an MSP since the Scottish Parliament began in 1999, said he was stepping down to spend more time with his family, including his three “wonderful” grandchildren.
By the time he leaves, he will have spent 33 years as an elected politician, having served as a councillor – and council leader – in Perth and Kinross before entering Holyrood.
First Minister and SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon was among those who paid tribute to Mr Crawford, saying it was hard to imagine the Scottish Parliament without him.
She tweeted: “His counsel and friendship to me have been invaluable over many years.
“He has been an outstanding minister, committee chair and constituency champion. He’ll be much missed.”
Mr Crawford said it had been an “honour and a privilege” to serve as the MSP for Stirling, as well as in the Scottish Cabinet, where he was responsible for parliamentary business and Government strategy.
He was promoted to that role in 2011 after four years as parliamentary business minister – a key position in the minority SNP administration that was in place between 2007 and 2011.
He is currently convener of the Scottish Parliament’s Finance and Constitution Committee, a role which has involved him scrutinising legislation linked to Brexit and also the bill that could pave the way for a second independence referendum.
Mr Crawford said: “While I am still enjoying being an MSP, my wife has already retired and we have three wonderful young grandchildren for whom we want to create much more space in our lives.
“It has been an honour and privilege to serve as the MSP for the Stirling constituency as well as to have the opportunity to be a Cabinet secretary, a committee convener, the SNP business convener and a council leader all over the last 33 politically-packed years.”
Mr Crawford added: “At Holyrood, being part of the first-ever SNP Government and helping to ensure stability for a minority Government was challenging but very rewarding.
“Latterly, I have also enjoyed being the convener of the Finance and Constitution Committee and the SNP group convener.
“I will miss working with, and for, so many people in the Stirling constituency.
“I will, of course, continue as an MSP for more than another year and during that time I hope to say a personal thank you to the many people who have been part of my life over the years in both the constituency and at Holyrood.”