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Last Updated: Tuesday, 23 January 2007, 10:16 GMT
Dennis Canavan: Constituency letter
On Tuesday, 23 January, one of Scotland's longest serving parliamentarians announced that he would not stand for re-election as an MSP.

Here is the open letter independent politician Dennis Canavan wrote to his Falkirk West constituents about why he was leaving Holyrood.


Dear Constituents,

After a great deal of reflection, I have now come to a decision not to stand this year as a candidate for re-election to the Scottish Parliament.

This year I shall be 65 and I have had the honour of being a representative of the people for a third of a century.

During that period, I have been fortunate in enjoying good health, but sadly that has not been the case for some of my children.

In 1989, when I lost my son Paul, at the age of 16, I thought that was the worst thing that could ever happen to anyone. But recently my family has been hit by more devastating events.

As you may be aware, Paul's brother, Dennis, died last month and my oldest son, Mark, is on the other side of the world suffering from motor neurone disease, for which there is no known cure.

If you believe in the power of prayer, please use it and let use all hope that scientific research will find an answer soon.

Such family circumstances fill me with regret that, because of my job, I did not spend enough time with my children at an earlier stage in their lives and I feel that I should now compensate in some way.

My youngest son, Adam, who will be starting school this year, is a healthy, happy child and I sometimes wonder what I would do without him.

I am blessed with a loving daughter and five wonderful grandchildren. Over the last few months I have learned a lot about the value and real priorities of life and today Adam and I are leaving for Australia for two weeks to spend some time with Mark and his family.

I would like to thank all my constituents, particularly those who have faithfully supported me over the years.

It has been my privilege to serve you and, on my return from Australia, I shall continue doing so to the best of my ability until the dissolution of parliament.


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04 Jan 04 |  Scotland

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