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Friday, 10 August, 2001, 11:19 GMT 12:19 UK
Outgoing Tory attacks colleagues
Nick Johnson swearing in
Nick Johnson (right) is sworn in as an MSP in 1999
Tory Nick Johnston has resigned from the Scottish Parliament with a parting shot at some of his "callous" party colleagues.

The Mid Scotland and Fife has cited ill health as the reason for his departure.

However, his resignation statement went on to accuse some of his Conservative colleagues of using his illness to "advance their own careers".


He has rarely been a team player and despite being elected as a Conservative member was often uncomfortable voting for common sense policies

Raymond Robertson, party chairman
He said: "I have been touched by the kindness shown to me by colleagues from all parties during my absence and have not been too surprised by the callous use of my illness by some in my own party to advance their own careers."

Scottish Tory chairman, Raymond Robertson, wished Mr Johnston a speedy recovery but then said he had failed to adapt to life as a parliamentarian and was not a team player.

Mr Johnston's resignation came a month after a tabloid newspaper alleged that he had been working at a car dealership while signed off sick from the Scottish Parliament.

Raymond Robertson
Raymond Robertson: Barbed farewell message
The outgoing MSP, who has been on sick leave since February after a bout of pneumonia, wrote to the parliament's Presiding Officer, Sir David Steel, to tender his resignation.

During his time in the parliament, Mr Johnston campaigned for high street shops to review their policies on stocking soft-porn magazines.

And in January this year, he hit out at the "cat fighting" in the Scottish Parliament.

He pleaded that politicians should be more honest and less cynical.

Mr Johnston believed MSPs from all parties were too intent on scoring political points.

In a letter to The Times newspaper he said he had become disillusioned with the idea that Holyrood could help ordinary people.

'Very uncomfortable'

And he compared his experience of entering the Scottish Parliament after a career in business to that of Alice in Wonderland.

Mr Robertson said: "We wish Nick a full and speedy recovery from his illness and hope that he is allowed to take time to return to full health.

"Unfortunately Nick never took to the life of a member of our new Scottish Parliament and as a result has never felt very comfortable in the political arena where sometimes tough decisions have to be taken.

Johnson in parliament
The MSP became disillusioned with politics
"In that respect he has rarely been a team player and despite being elected as a Conservative member was often uncomfortable voting for common sense Conservative policies."

Party leader, David McLetchie, told Mr Johnston he was grateful to him for his "hard work and service".

Under the rules of the Scottish Parliament, when a list MSP resigns he or she is replaced by the next person on the party list for that area.

That means Murdo Fraser, a former Young Conservative chairman who is currently working as lawyer in Edinburgh, will be the new representative.

In July, Mr Johnston was pictured allegedly going to work at a Mercedes car dealership on the outskirts of Edinburgh.

A Sunday newspaper report said he had put in three eight-hour days at the showrooms.

Earlier this week Mr Johnston, 53, came under pressure to resign.

MSPs earn more than 41,000 per year. This represents a full time salary unlike the system at Westminster where MPs are allowed other interests.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
Brian Taylor reports
"Nick Johnson is better over tensions in the Tory group"
See also:

10 Aug 01 | UK Politics
Tory party 'must fight for survival'
26 Jul 01 | UK Politics
Duncan Smith admits underdog status
15 Jul 01 | Scotland
Tory drive for new faces
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