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Last Updated: Monday, 9 May 2005, 14:17 GMT 15:17 UK
In Quotes: Jim Wallace resigns
Here are the comments surrounding the news of Jim Wallace's decision to stand down as leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats and as a member of the Scottish Parliament.

JIM WALLACE

I've had a pretty exciting time. But I always think it's probably better that you go when people are saying 'why are you going?' than 'when is he going?'

MSP NICOL STEPHEN (LIB DEM - MINISTER FOR TRANSPORT)

Jim Wallace has been an outstanding leader. He is standing down at the peak of his success. Perhaps his greatest achievement has been his impact on shaping the new Scottish Parliament. He provided steady leadership to the whole of Scotland, more than once during its early turbulent years, which rightly won him great respect from all the parties and from individuals across the country.

MSP MIKE RUMBLES (LIB DEM - WEST ABERDEEN AND KINCARDINESHIRE)

I can see why Jim has decided this would be an appropriate time to go as it will give someone else time to make a impact before the next Holyrood polls. The most important thing right now for MSPs is to get together at our weekly group meeting in Edinburgh and discuss the way forward. I have had thoughts about standing but I'm not saying anything to anyone. I think it would be quite wrong to do anything like that at all until I've talked to colleagues face-to-face.

FIRST MINISTER JACK McCONNELL

Jim Wallace was one of the architects of devolution through the Constitutional Convention. He has made a very significant contribution to Scotland. He has been a very good friend and a reliable colleague. I wish him and his family all the best for the future.

SCOTTISH LIB DEM PRESIDENT MALCOLM BRUCE

Jim has been an extremely good leader, he's united the party and taken it forward. So I think it's good for Jim and good for the party.

SCOTTISH CONSERVATIVE LEADER DAVID McLETCHIE

Jim Wallace has made a significant contribution to Scottish politics since 1983. It has been no mean feat to simultaneously lead a party of government and a party of opposition over the last six years and he deserves credit for pulling it off.

SCOTTISH LIB DEM PARTY SPOKESMAN

The party executive will have to decide on what timetable to set to elect a new leader but we would envisage an election in the next couple of months.

MSP EUAN ROBSON (LIB DEM - DEPUTY MINISTER FOR EDUCATION AND YOUNG PEOPLE

We have to see who the candidates are but Nicol Stephen has a strong case. He's been a member of the cabinet and very able minister for transport. I hope there will be a contest. There are a number of issues that should be discussed.

MSP DONALD GORRIE (LIB DEM - CENTRAL SCOTLAND REGION

I think it's a pity. He's done well for us in most ways. I think the issue of the future of the coalition may come up among the membership. I think most of the MSPs think that on balance the coalition is beneficial to the country and we deliver quite good things for Scotland, but I think a lot of the membership would prefer us to be separate from everyone else.

MSP IAIN SMITH (LIB DEM - NORTH EAST FIFE

It's a surprise to all of us but he's been the leader for 13 years. He led us to a settled period in the party, two coalitions and I wish him well. I think what tactics we use after 2007 will inevitably be part of the election campaign I don't think there's anyone talking about leaving earlier than that. Whoever the candidates are, that will be an issue.

MSP ROBERT BROWN (LIB DEM - CITY OF GLASGOW REGION

I'm very sorry because Jim's presided with great distinction. He's been the first Liberal minister in peacetime since 1932 and the achievements under him have been substantial and they wouldn't have happened without the Lib Dems in government. But he's done 13 years as party leader and I can understand why he should want to take a rest. He's done it with impeccable timing.

MSP GEORGE LYON (LIB DEM - ARGYLL AND BUTE

It took me a bit by surprise when he phoned me last night. But on reflection I think he's taking the right decision. He's stepping down on his own terms.

MSP MARGARET SMITH (LIB DEM - EDINBURGH WEST

We've got a strong pool of MSPs and colleagues in the wider party would be looking for guidance about who can lead the party in the country and the MSPs. I'd be encouraging Nicol to stand. The other question mark is whether Mike Rumbles wants to force a contest but I think Nicol has the experience of being in ministerial office, and briefly as an MP, and good links with the party.

MSP JAMIE STONE (LIB DEM - CAITHNESS, SUTHERLAND AND EASTER ROSS

The decision to go into coalition is a majority vote but I need to be reassured that the leader has the charisma to take a united team forward. I'm sure Nicol would be a very good candidate and I'd consider him very strongly indeed.

MSP MIKE PRINGLE (LIB DEM - EDINBURGH SOUTH

He's made the decision to go out on a high. The other thing that I'm sure he must have thought is that you need to give someone else a chance to get their feet under the desk. I'll miss Jim he's been a good leader.


SEE ALSO
Viewer's guide to election night
04 May 05 |  Election 2005



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